Australian 5G networks are popping up, but not everyone has access just yet. This isn’t unique to Australia; several countries have 5G, but coverage is still a fraction of that provided by 4G.
If you’re not familiar, 5G is the next upgrade to mobile networks following 4G. It’s many times faster than 4G and opens up lots of new opportunities like smart cities and farms, and untethered AR and VR experiences.
Whether you’re waiting for 5G in Australia or elsewhere, you can stay current with how this new tech is unfolding around the world with daily updates: 5G: The Latest News & Updates.
5G in Australia
There are three big names to watch: Optus, Telstra, and Vodafone. The service that’s available to you depends on where you live, whether the carrier has 5G-compatible phones yet, and if you want mobile service or just 5G internet at home.
One provider is Optus, the country’s second-biggest telecom company. In November 2019, they began offering both a mobile 5G solution and fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G. From the launch date, there were over 290 5G sites in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, NSW, Victoria, and Queensland.
Optus turned on their Standalone 5G network for limited trial in late 2021.
You can order 5G Home Broadband with a 50 Mbps Satisfaction Guarantee. One of the plans maxes out at 100 Mbps, but the other one doesn’t, and is said to offer average download speeds of over 200 Mbps.
See their 5G phones page for an updated listing of their compatible smartphones. Their coverage map details where you can get 5G (mobile and home service). A benchmarking report shows average download speeds over 350 Mbps.
Before 2019, Telstra already had over 200 5G-enabled mobile sites, including not only every single major city in Australia but also some less popular locations. Of the thousands of sites now in operation, over 3,000 suburbs and over 200 cities and towns have coverage, which amounts to over 75% of the population, including Queensland, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, Tasmania, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Launceston, and Toowoomba. The goal is to reach 95% of the population by mid-2025.
See all of their 5G smartphone options. There are multiple plans you can choose from that work with one of those devices, from a 40 GB plan to one that supports 180 GB.
The first Telstra 5G customer was FKG Group in Toowoomba through the use of the HTC 5G Hub.
The company launched a 5G home service in late 2020. In early 2021, they doubled the included monthly data limit from 500 GB to 1 TB. In November 2021, 5G Home & Business Internet launched, with download speeds of up to 600 Mbps.
In 2019, Vodafone partnered with Nokia to provide Vodafone Hutchison Australia customers with 5G; services started in 2020. The first areas 5G rolled out to included Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, the Gold Coast, Newcastle, Central Coast, and Geelong.
Australian MVNO Networks
If you get service from a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), you might have to wait even longer for 5G because those operators buy their access from other telecom companies, a process which might not meet up with the parent company’s 5G timetable.
For example, Woolworths Mobile, Boost Mobile, Belong, and ALDImobile are on the Telstra network; Hello Mobile, KISA Phone, and Kogan Mobile with Vodafone; and amaysim, iPrimus, and Exetel use the Optus mobile network.