Vodafone’s 5G Network Explained

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Despite the late start – at least compared to fellow ‘big three’ telcos Telstra and Optus – Vodafone’s 5G mobile network rollout is underway, with coverage available now in selected suburbs.

And while Vodafone still has work to do to catch up to its competitors, the telco’s selection of 5G-capable smartphones, low plan prices, and promise to customers to never charge extra for 5G access, will make it a choice worth considering when you’re looking to try out the next-generation mobile technology in 2021.

If you’re a current Vodafone user looking to test out 5G, or you’re weighing up a move to a Vodafone mobile plan, we’ve got all the info on the telco’s 5G network – including where to get it, how to access it, and what you’ll pay for a 5G phone plan.

In this guide we’ll cover:

Where is Vodafone 5G available?

Vodafone’s 5G network first went live in March of 2020, offering limited coverage exclusively in and around the Sydney suburb of Parramatta. As of late 2020, Vodafone is in the process of rolling out coverage across major Australian cities, with around 1,800 sites planned so far.

Vodafone has said it aims to provide 5G coverage to 85% of Australians in the country’s six most populated cities by the end of 2021 – so that’s a majority of residents of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

Cities and regions where Vodafone 5G sites are scheduled to go live in the next 12 months are:

  • Adelaide
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Central Coast
  • Geelong
  • Gold Coast
  • Melbourne
  • Newcastle
  • Perth
  • Sydney

Below, you’ll find general maps of anticipated 5G coverage areas in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. To check current coverage in your area, head to Vodafone’s website.

Vodafone 5G coverage in Sydney

Vodafone 5G coverage Sydney
Image: Vodafone

Vodafone 5G coverage in Melbourne

Vodafone 5G coverage in Melbourne
Image: Vodafone

Vodafone 5G coverage in Brisbane

Vodafone 5G coverage in Brisbane
Image: Vodafone

Which phones can access Vodafone’s 5G network?

Vodafone now stocks a sizeable range of 5G-ready smartphones, which are available to pick up on a 12, 24, or 36-month handset payment plan. Major 5G phones available on Vodafone plans include:

Below is more information on two of the most popular 5G devices available on Vodafone plans, the Apple iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S20.

Apple iPhone 12 series

Apple’s first-ever 5G iPhone hit stores last October, and is available to buy on Vodafone plans. Vodafone stocks the full iPhone 12 range, including the standard 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max and the smaller 12 Mini.

You can use all four phones on Vodafone’s 3G, 4G and 5G networks (where available), although you may need to make sure 5G mobile is activated in your device’s settings. Vodafone’s handset payment options mean your device costs are separate to your Vodafone mobile plan, but you can pair your iPhone with any of the telco’s new Infinite Data SIM-only mobile plans.

Below is a selection of 24-month Vodafone plans for the 64GB iPhone 12 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost from lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Samsung Galaxy S20 series

While the 2021 Samsung Galaxy S21 series is set to launch early this year, Vodafone still stocks multiple models and storage sizes of the Galaxy S20 range. You can pick up the S20, S20+ or S20 Ultra in 5G-capable versions on Vodafone’s 12, 24, or 36-month payment options, then combine your device with a Vodafone Infinite Data mobile plan.

Again, all 5G-capable phones in the S20 and Galaxy Note 20 ranges will also work with Vodafone 4G and 3G networks, so you’ll still be able to use data in areas without 5G coverage. If you’re planning to use 5G where available, make sure you’ve switched on 5G mobile in your device’s Settings app.

Below is a selection of published 24-month Vodafone plans for the 128GB Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of advertised standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products with links to referral partners.

How much do Vodafone 5G phone plans cost?

The good news for Vodafone customers is that – so far – the company has no plans to charge extra for 5G access. Back in March of 2020, Vodafone CEO’s Iñaki Berroeta confirmed that customers with 5G devices would get access to the Vodafone 5G network ‘at no extra charge’ and so far the telco has kept its word by offering included 5G coverage on all postpaid plans.

If you’re looking for a 5G phone plan, Vodafone’s SIM-only postpaid options start at just $40 per month for unlimited standard national talk and text, 10GB of maximum speed data and unlimited ‘Infinite Data’ capped at speeds of just 2Mbps. Plans go up to $120 monthly for 150GB of full speed data and unlimited Infinite Data speed-capped to 25Mbps, although Vodafone does frequently offer loyalty discounts and price cuts for those purchasing new devices.

5G access is available on all five of Vodafone’s postpaid mobile plans, but you’ll need to be using a 5G-ready phone (and be in a 5G-covered area) to try out the new network. In comparison, while Telstra’s 5G coverage is far more extensive, not all mobile or mobile broadband customers can access it; Telstra limits 5G service to mobile users on Medium, Large and Extra Large plans, and Large and Extra Large mobile broadband options.

5G phone plans compared

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month plans for the 64GB iPhone 12 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month plans for the 128GB Samsung Galaxy S21 5G on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

The following table shows a selection of published 24-month plans for the Google Pixel 5 on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

How fast is Vodafone 5G?

While we know that 5G mobile has the potential to be ten or more times faster than existing 4G, Vodafone remains cagey about the exact speeds customers can expect on 5G-capable smartphones. Previous public 5G demonstrations by Vodafone and Nokia achieved speeds of about 1.5Gbps, but official average speeds under real-world conditions haven’t been disclosed.

With Optus reporting average 5G speeds of about 200Mbps and up, and Telstra 5G delivering a similarly fast performance on 5G devices, Vodafone customers can expect the telco’s new network to eventually outstrip its current 4G service. But as it’s still early days for Vodafone 5G, you may need to wait until later in 2021 to see lightning-fast speeds on your own 5G-compatible devices.

What about Vodafone 5G internet?

While Vodafone currently offers 4G-only mobile broadband plans, the telco hasn’t announced if and when it will offer 5G mobile or home internet. It’s likely 5G mobile broadband will be available to Vodafone users at some point, although it will need to send more 5G sites live in order to deliver strong indoor coverage.

Customers will need to wait to sign up for Vodafone 5G mobile broadband, but you can currently get 5G internet from both Telstra and Optus. Telstra offers 5G access on two of its postpaid mobile broadband plans, while Optus has launched two new unlimited data 5G home wireless broadband plans for eligible customers.

Optus’ 5G internet plans begin at $75 per month for unlimited data with a speed cap of 100Mbps, and $90 monthly for unrestricted speeds (and an average busy hour download speed of 239Mbps). If you go with Telstra, you can access 5G from $50 per month for 60GB of full-speed 5G data, plus unlimited data capped at speeds of 1.5Mbps.

SpinTel has also recently launched 5G home wireless options, which provide coverage on Optus’ 5G network. Plans begin at $70 per month on a two-year contract and include unlimited data with no speed restrictions.

You’ll need a compatible 5G device to access all of the above plans, but Telstra, Optus and SpinTel each provide 5G modems or WiFi hotspots to eligible customers. A selection of 5G mobile broadband and home wireless broadband plans are below.

5G Home Wireless Plans

The following table shows selected published 5G home internet plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Spintel 5G Home Wireless Contract

  • Average speed of 147Mbps
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Nokia 5G modem included

min. cost $1,460 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Everyday

  • Speed capped at 100Mbps
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $75 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Internet Entertainer

  • No speed cap
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $90 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Spintel 5G Home Wireless No Contract

  • Average speed of 147Mbps
  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Nokia 5G modem included

min. cost $110 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

5G Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published 5G mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

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