Comparing Vodafone and Telstra’s November 2021 Fixed Wireless Solutions

comparing vodafone and telstra

5G home Internet plans from Telstra and Vodafone launched in the same month

This November, Telstra launched its first 5G home Internet plan for select customers. Vodafone also launched two 5G home Internet plan of their own this month, setting the stage for an even more competitive market. 

With both Telstra and Vodafone launching their 5G home Internet plans on the same month, Australians just got a lot more options to choose from. So which of these latest entries offers the most bang for your buck? How well do they stack up to an NBN plan? Who are 5G home Internet plans actually made for?

In this post, we’ll give you the details on both of these telcos’ 5G fixed wireless solutions so you can compare and decide which plan (if any) fits your needs, or whether the NBN is a better option. Read on to find out.

5G home Internet side by side: Vodafone vs Telstra 

Let’s jump right in to a side-by-side comparison of Vodafone’s and Telstra’s November 2021 5G fixed wireless solutions so you can have a framework to work with:

 Vodafone 100Mbps 5G Home Internet planVodafone Max 5G Home Internet planTelstra 5G Home Internet plan
Price and type of plan$75 per month ($70 for existing phone plan customers);
Month-to-month plan with no lock-in contract.
$85 per month ($80 for existing phone plan customers);
Month-to-month plan with no lock-in contract.
$85 per month
Month-to-month plan with no lock-in contract.
DataUnlimitedUnlimited1TB
Download speedUp to 100MbpsNo caps, Max 5G speedsNo cap, max 5G speeds. 378Mbps average download speeds; 50-600Mbps peak hours.
Modem costFree 5G modem if you stay connected for 36 months. If you cancel before then, you have to return the modem within 30 days or pay $17 per month for the remaining months.Free 5G modem if you stay connected for 36 months. If you cancel before then, you have to return the modem within 30 days or pay $17 per month for the remaining months.Free 5G modem if you stay connected for 24 months. If you cancel before then, you have to return the modem within 21 days or pay $29 per month for the remaining months.
ExtrasNoneNone3 months free BINGE Standard (new BINGE subscribers only);
2 months device protect;
Telstra Plus rewards (members only).

How do Vodafone and Telstra 5G home Internet plans compare to NBN plans?

NBN plans are fixed line Internet plans, all of which include unlimited data. They are capped with speed tiers – the higher the speed tier, the higher the cost. While current 5G home Internet lineups from the major telcos include one or two plans, you’ll find multiple NBN plans from each telco.

For instance, Vodafone offers five NBN plans, while Telstra offers three. Their offers are also month-to-month with no lock-in contract, just like 5G home Internet plans. Because both NBN and 5G home Internet plans are for the home or office, they’re your go-to options if you’re looking for fixed solutions. So how do they compare?

Vodafone vs NBN:

Vodafone’s 100Mbps 5G plan is best compared to their NBN Home Fast plan, which also has a max download speed of 100Mbps. Both plans are unlimited, but Vodafone’s 5G home Internet plan costs $75 per month, while the NBN Home Fast plan costs $90. 

Vodafone’s Max 5G Home Internet plan doesn’t have any speed caps, so it’s difficult to compare it to any NBN plan because they all have speed caps. But because Vodafone doesn’t make any claims of how fast their 5G speeds can get, we’ll compare this plan to their NBN Home Superfast and Home Ultrafast plans, which have 250Mbps and 500Mbps download speeds and cost $130 and $150, respectively.

Telstra vs NBN:

Telstra’s 5G Home Internet plan costs $85 and includes 1TB of data and doesn’t have any download speed cap at all. Telstra claims their 5G home Internet plan can get you anywhere from 50Mbps to 600Mbps evening speeds (peak hours). We’ll assume that means that the 5G plan has minimum speeds of 50Mbps, and use that as the comparison point. That would line up with Telstra’s Standard Plus NBN plan with unlimited data (compared to the 5G plan’s 1TB), which offers 50Mbps evening speeds but costs $95 – more than the 5G plan. 

And perhaps the higher tier NBN plan would compare as well, because Telstra’s 5G home Internet plan’s download speeds can go as high as 600Mbps. That higher tier plan is Telstra’s Premium Speed NBN plan which clocks 100Mbps evening speeds and costs $110 – again, more expensive.

Who are Vodafone’s and Telstra’s 5G Home Internet plans for?

Before considering any 5G home Internet plan, you have to check the coverage to be sure your area has access to the telco’s 5G network. The 5G roll out isn’t complete yet, so there are many areas that still don’t have access.

Telstra claims that their 5G network covers 75 percent of the Australian population. NBN plans, on the other hand, have a wider reach because they’ve gone much farther with coverage. But if you’re within Telstra’s coverage area, then their 5G Home Internet plan might be worth considering.

However, Telstra has only made the 5G Home Internet plan available to a select few for now, so you might not have access even if there is coverage in your area. Until this plan is made available to everyone, you might be better off with an NBN plan.

Vodafone’s 5G roll out is also ongoing, so you might not have coverage in your area. However, the telco recently announced that their 5G network now covers 85 per cent of the population across 10 major cities. Note that coverage in “10 major cities” doesn’t mean the entire country, so this is clearly less than what the NBN has to offer right now. So, again, if there’s Vodafone 5G coverage in your area, then their 5G home Internet plans might be worth a look. If not, then NBN plans are a much better bet.

But one of the best things about 5G home Internet plans is that they don’t require any expert installation. They come with plug-and-play modems that connect to the Internet right out of the box without waiting for a technician. This also means that you can move house a lot easier than you would with an NBN plan. So if you’re not a tech savvy customer, or you don’t want to be bothered with delays of waiting for a tech to install your home Internet setup, then a 5G home Internet plan is for you. 

Bottom Line

It’s hard to see either of these two 5G fixed wireless solutions being useful for large swathes of people. A fixed NBN connection is almost certainly more reliable than either of the mobile network alternatives offered here. In truth, it’s probably only niche users who will want a 5G home Internet product right now: those who stay in different locations for long periods of time – perhaps salespeople, renters who move often, students, and others who meet this thin specification. 

Over time, however, as coverage of 5G improves and prices for 5G mobile data fall, products like these could take a chunk out of the NBN’s connections. Mobile plans like these are far more profitable for the telcos involved than the NBN equivalent – a fact which is likely to see the big brands push them hard. 

At this early stage, the most likely interpretation of these suspiciously close launches by Telstra and Vodafone – all coming in the same month, within days – is that they are testing the market to trial the concept and find a reasonable price point consumers will accept.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.