Optus just recorded 2.5Gbps download speed on its mobile 5G network using a Samsung Galaxy S20 device. This makes Optus 5G the fastest in the country so far, and the telco plans on rolling out this ultra-fast 5G throughout Australia, starting with 150 sites in Sydney and Melbourne by the end of November.
This is a big deal. Up till now, we’ve been subjected to subpar 5G speeds. Although they’re by no means slow, they’ve hardly lived up to the pre-launch hype, when we were promised speeds of up to 100 times that of 4G. In fact, on the contrary, there have been cases where 4G speeds were faster than 5G, so this latest development is welcome news.
But not everyone with an Optus 5G plan will be able to achieve these speeds just yet. It will depend on your location and device, but Optus plans to make access easier for you in the coming months.
Optus ultra-fast 5G vs mmWave 5G
Optus was able to achieve the ultra-fast 2.5Gbps download speed with the help of Ericcson on the Samsung device using mid-band spectrum and 5G carrier aggregation. Mid-band spectrum typically ranges between 3.5GHz and 6GHz, which is where other Australian telcos’ 5G networks currently are.
In other words, Optus’ ultra-fast 5G hasn’t even taken advantage of higher spectrum to achieve these latest record speeds. The technology is already available on current bands, and Optus plans to roll it out in the coming months.
Next year, the ACMA will allocate 26GHz spectrum to the major telcos. This spectrum, commonly referred to as mmWave, is where the real 5G speeds are. Both Optus and Telstra are currently trialing the spectrum, and the upcoming auction will limit telcos to 1GHz to maintain competition and avoid a monopoly.
Optus fixed home wireless 5G will also get a speed boost
Mobile 5G plans aren’t the only Optus plans getting a boost. The telco has announced that it will unlock 100Mhz of 3500Mhz mid-band spectrum for their fixed home wireless 5G network.
Currently, Optus fixed home wireless 5G plan averages around 214Mbps. With the upcoming unlock, Optus expects up to a 60% speed boost for its fixed home wireless 5G customers.
Optus vs Telstra on mobile 5G speeds
Prior to this latest test, Telstra held the crown on mobile 5G speeds. According to an Opensignal test back in May, the average download speed on the Telstra 5G network was 232Mbps, compared to Optus’ 170Mbps.
Opensignal’s tests saw Telstra 5G average 231.8Mbps, compared to Optus’ 170Mbps. src
Right now, Telstra still leads in average speeds, but perhaps not for long. If Optus’ ultra-fast 5G rolls out as scheduled, their recent record speed test will become a reality for many Australians, dwarfing Telstra 5G.
Optus ultra-fast 5G upcoming coverage
Sydney and Melbourne will get the first taste of their new ultra-fast 5G when the telco launches 150 sites there by the end of November. To get a taste of these record speeds, you’ll need to get your hands on a 5G mobile device as well as a 5G SIM from the telco.
As for other coverage areas, Optus ultra-fast 5G will eventually get rolled out in the coming months. Optus says it has turned on 920 5G sites in Australia so far, accessible to 650,000 homes. To check if your area has 5G coverage, use their network coverage map.
Final words – MVNO customers should be excited as well
5G has largely been about the big telcos in Australia so far. But Optus recently announced that its mobile 5G network is now available to MVNOs. SpinTel is the first MVNO with mobile 5G plans reselling the Optus 5G network, but there will be more MVNOs signing up soon.
This is great news for consumers who prefer to shop for smaller telcos. These MVNOs typically provide more targeted phone plans that are more affordable, which will make 5G more accessible to Australians.
And with Optus latest ultra-fast 5G roll out plans, Australians in locations where the ultra-fast network coverage is available will be able to experience those speeds on MVNOs like SpinTel and others that eventually begin reselling Optus 5G Network.