The rollout of 5G in Australia
The fifth generation of wireless technology — also known as 5G — is finally here. In Australia, 5G networks are springing up in numerous locations, but most Aussies won’t have access to the service right away.
Launching 5G networks across the country isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. It requires optimization for the technology from both the networks providing the service and the individuals set to utilize it. This delay isn’t particular to the Australia alone; several countries will launch 5G services this year but coverage will be minute in comparison to widespread 4G services.
5G networks are expected to come with numerous advantages to consumers and businesses alike. With perks such as faster internet speeds, low to zero latency, increased bandwidth and coverage, 5G is expected to dwarf the benefits that 4G networks had to offer.
5G in Australia: How much will it cost?
Australia’s ‘Big Three’ telcos — Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone/TPG — are one to watch for the widespread availability of 5G services across the country. So far, Vodafone and TPG, both occupied with attempts to merge, are not even close to to even entering the 5G race.
On the other hand, while 5G is operational on Telstra and Optus, access to the service is largely dependent on various factors such as where you live and the mobile device you use. Here’s a quick glimpse on each telcos plans for rollout, availability, and cost of the service; Here’s a quick glimpse on each telcos plans for rollout, availability, and cost of the service;
Even before their limited rollout of 5G in 2019, Telstra had made the technology available in over 200 locations. These locations include every major city within the nation as well as numerous, less popular locations.5G services on the Telstra network are available in:
- Toowoomba; and
- Melbourne, amongst others.
These locations have mobile 5G base stations that grant access to 5G-capable mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the HTC 5G hub.The telco has made provisions for both phone, broadband and sim-only plans. Currently, there are four devices one can obtain from the network in order to utilize 5G services.
Telstra’s HTC 5G Hub now available on line; in stores on Tuesday. Source
There are four sim-only plans on the network, advertised as Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. These plans range from $50 to $100 per month and include 15GB to 150GB monthly data.
It’s important to note that by the 1st of July 2020, individuals on Sim Only 5G plans would need to pay an additional $15 in order to retain access to the service.
Optus doesn’t have any mobile 5G solutions as of yet. The telco is introducing 5G on its network via the broadband service fixed wireless access (FWA) for now. In fact, Optus gave Australian consumers their first taste of 5G with its expressions-of-interest campaign announced in January of this year, albeit only on a fixed home broadband 5G connection. Optus FWA costs of $70 per month and is only available in select cities. These cities include;
- Brisbane; and
Optus’ upcoming 5G sites in 50 suburbs in addition to initial sites. Source: WhatphoneThe telco has stated that it plans to roll out over 1,000 5G hotspots by March 2020 in states and territories including Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. More recently, Optus announced the Samsung Note 10 5G as its first 5G mobile device. The Note 10 5G will launch next month, hinting at the telco’s mobile 5G service being rolled out around the same time.
Vodafone has remained unimpressive and bleak concerning its plans for both 5G within Australia. For a ‘major’ telco, this is quite disappointing.The only plans which have been offered concerning the telcos arrangements for 5G are that the service will be available in 2020. This is highly doubtful.
What about 5G for MVNOs?
Mobile Virtual Network Operators’ (MVNOs) customers may have to wait much longer before they are able to utilize 5G services. Why? Because these MVNOs resell the networks of the larger telcos. So until the larger telcos actually complete their full 5G rollouts, MVNOs will have nothing to resell.
While Telstra and Optus are making huge 5G strides, Vodafone sits on the sidelines. Perhaps this is the most disappointing 5G-related news in Australia so far. However, Telstra and Optus are great options for those eager to experience the anticipated high speeds of 5G. Telstra has mobile 5G networks and phones available right now in select areas, and Optus has fixed home 5G broadband in some areas. This means 5G is here, albeit in a limited fashion. With 2020 right around the corner, Australians will be fully connected in no time.