Optus Announces 5G Smartphone

Optus’ pegs Galaxy Note 10+ 5G as first 5G mobile device.

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is Optus’ first 5G smartphone. Source.

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G will be Optus’ first 5G smartphone

Optus have announced they will carry the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 series. This is important news as far as the telco’s 5G moves are concerned — Optus opted out of the entry version of the Note 10, opting instead for the Note 10+ and Note 10+ 5G.

Until now, Optus have been unclear on some of its 5G moves. The telco opened the year with great news about 5G when it unveiled its fixed home 5G broadband that tested the technology in some Australian suburbs. A couple of months later, Optus unveiled a list of 50 suburbs where it planned to build its next 5G sites. In addition, based on their limited 5G trial with the expression-of-interest campaign, the telco announced that their 5G speeds are averaging 100mbps so far.

Despite these welcome announcements, Optus have been mum as to their 5G services for actual mobile devices. The telco have not launched any 5G smartphone, leaving Telstra to take the lead in that regard.

With the latest announcement of the Note 10+ 5G, however, Optus are on their way to leveling the playing field against Telstra in Australia’s race to 5G.

The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G release date hints at an Optus 5G rollout in the next month or so 

Samsung is chugging along smoothly in manufacturers’ 5G race. The company’s Galaxy Note 10+ 5G isn’t the first 5G device it has unveiled. Earlier, the Galaxy S10 5G became the first 5G device in Australia when Telstra inked a deal with Samsung to become its exclusive carrier in the country for now. Telstra offered its customers upgrades from the S10 Plus to the S10 5G, which it recently released.

Now, with the Note 10+ 5G, Optus can officially enter into the mobile 5G market. Here are the details of Optus’ plan for the upcoming Note 10+ 5G:

  • Offered on the 24 month My Plan Plus plan.
  • Costs between $115 and $165 per month.
  • This monthly cost includes My Plan Plus + a monthly handset cost.
  • Minimum total cost is between $2,760 and $3,950.
  • Plans include between 4GB and 200GB monthly data.

While Optus still haven’t stated a specific date for its 5G launch, we know the Note 10+ 5G can be preordered now and that deliveries start on 20th September. This means we can expect Optus to launch their mobile 5G network along with the phone or not too far from that date.

Telstra are ahead with mobile 5G, but Optus 5G moves may be more ambitious 

While Optus opened the year with some exciting news about their fixed home 5G plans, the telco’s mobile 5G details were lacking. Telstra were relatively quiet back then, but have since taken some concrete steps that put them way ahead of Optus in the mobile 5G race.

So far, Telstra have over 200 5G sites turned on with mobile 5G coverage areas in 10 cities, while Optus only have its expression-of-interest campaign testing its fixed broadband 5G service in a handful of suburbs. Also, Telstra already have four 5G devices available — this includes three 5G smartphones (the Galaxy S10 5G, the OPPO Reno 5G, ad the LG V50 ThinQ) and one HTC 5G hub — meaning its mobile 5G service is already live.

However, although Optus are still playing catch-up to Telstra’s mobile 5G, the telco’s plans may be more ambitious. While Telstra have launched several 5G devices and have sites in 10 cities so far, they only plan to roll out 5G across an additional 25 cities in the nect 12 month.

Optus, on the other hand, are targeting a full 5G roll out by March 2020. The telco also already have concrete numbers as far as their average 5G speeds are concerned. Also, Optus have an actual standalone 5G plan on the books: $70 for unlimited data. Despite these points being borne out of the telco’s fixed broadband service, they give us details about Optus’ 5G services in general, including its awaited mobile 5G plans. Optus’ 5G sites.

Optus’ upcoming 5G sites in 50 suburbs in addition to initial sites. Source.

Final words — Where are Vodafone and TPG?

While Optus and Telstra have been active in the 5G news, TPG and Vodafone are nowhere to be found. Both telcos have been caught up in a merger dance for a number of months, and have failed to take any concrete 5G steps worth mentioning. Considering the 5G progress made so far by Australia’s leading telcos Telstra and Optus, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Vodafone and TPG can catch up anytime soon, whether or not they are allowed to join forces with their coveted merger.

In the meantime, however, Telstra and Optus will likely be consumers’ only 5G options in Australia for a while. As of now, though, Telstra stand alone in this regard as far as mobile 5G is concerned, and the telco have already served their customers with several 5G smartphone options.

In fact, while Optus have announced the Note 10+ 5G as their first 5G smartphone, Telstra also have the Note 10+ 5G as an option for their customers. Also, Telstra customers will be upgraded to the 5G version for the price of the non-5G-capable Note 10+ between 8 August and 23 September, so long as they stay connected on a 24- or 36-month plan.

Telstra is clearly ahead in the wireless 5G race so far, but Optus is certainly not slouching. Optus have plans of their own and have tested their 5G capabilities with their fixed home broadband. Optus is also on track for a full 5G roll out by March of next year, and the release of their Note 10+ 5G smartphone is just around the corner. This two-telco race may mean less 5G options for the consumer for a while, as Vodafone and TPG remain on the sidelines. And as Optus CEO Allen Lew has stated, customers won’t feel the full benefits of 5G until the technology is fully available everywhere. However, duopoly or not, 5G is well on its way to that full rollout in Australia, thanks to Telstra and Optus.

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.