Telstra Charges For 5G. Is It Worth It With Current Coverage Levels?

Telstra Charges For 5G

Telstra 5G coverage at 50 percent

Telstra continues to hold on to the lead in Australia’s 5G race. The telco recently announced that its 5G network coverage is now at 50 percent of the population.

But there are a couple of drawbacks. First, most of Telstra’s 5G coverage is in urban areas, so Aussies in rural areas will find it difficult to get 5G coverage for now. Second, Telstra is the only telco currently charging for 5G in Australia.

In this post, we’ll dig into Telstra 5G to help you decide if its worth it, and look into the alternatives.

Telstra 5G coverage

Telstra 5G coverage now 50 percent of the population.

Telstra mobile 5G plans compared to Optus and Vodafone

Here’s a look at the current 5G plans in Australia.

  • Telstra:
    Telstra offer five month-to-month SIM Only plans, but only three of those plans offer 5G access. This essentially means you would have to pay for 5G by upgrading if you are currently on the Small plan. The cheapest Telstra postpaid plan with month-to-month access is the Medium plan, which costs $65. On the other hand, Telstra now offer 5G access on all prepaid plans, including Long Life plans, when you recharge your plan by 1 February. You’ll find cheaper options here (as low as $10) if prepaid is what you’re looking for.
  • Optus:
    Unlike Telstra, Optus offer 5G access free of charge on all of their month-to-month plans. This means you can get 5G access for as low as $39 on a postpaid plan. However, Optus prepaid plans don’t have 5G access yet.
  • TPG Telecom (Vodafone):
    Vodafone also don’t charge for 5G access – all Vodafone postpaid plans come with 5G access it you have a 5G device. But like Optus, prepaid Vodafone plans don’t include 5G access.

Telstra mobile 5G coverage, compared to Optus and Vodafone

  • Telstra:
    With Telstra’s latest 5G announcement of 50 percent coverage, the telco now has the widest coverage in the country. If you live in an urban area, you’ll probably have access to Telstra 5G, as the telco now has 5G coverage in all major cities and regional centers except for Darwin. The telco also plans on have 75 percent 5G coverage by the end of June.
  • Optus:
    Optus are quite close to Telstra in the 5G race. The telco has coverage in most major Australian cities except Sydney and Northern Territory.
  • TPG Telecom (Vodafone):
    Vodafone have the worst 5G coverage so far. However, the telco has targeted 85% coverage in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra by the end of 2021.

Is Telstra 5G worth it?

Telstra don’t only have the widest 5G coverage in Australia, but it also has the fastest 5G average speeds, according to OpenSignal.

However, none of this means anything if you don’t live in an urban area. Although Telstra claim their 5G network has 50% coverage right now, there’s a chance you might fall into the other half of the population that can’t get Telstra 5G right now.

Even if you’re located in an area where Telstra have great 5G coverage, you’ll have to consider the fact that Telstra is the only telco that charges extra for 5G access on their postpaid plans. So if all you want is their Small plan, you would have to upgrade to a higher plan just to access 5G.

So is Telstra 5G worth it? That’s entirely up to you, based on your needs and wants.

Final words – Are there alternatives?

Before deciding on 5G, you might want to check out the alternatives. Aussie Broadband are rolling out fibre to finally give Australia some world class communications infrastructure. The provider has already laid its first fibre connection in Melbourne. Fibre Internet will provide some worthy competition for 5G, and leave the issues surrounding the NBN behind.

In the near future, satellite networks might be a viable alternative as well. SpaceX have already requested licensing for Starlink, their satellite mobile network company that has been launching satellites into orbit for a while now.

While these alternatives haven’t rolled out completely, they will eventually give 5G some worthy competition. In the meantime, all Telstra 5G has over other telcos is their wide coverage. However, charging extra for 5G could lead to customers considering Optus instead, which is not far behind as far as coverage is concerned, but offers 5G at no extra costs.

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.