With the next generation of mobile data connectivity already beginning to spread across Australia, it’s time we start to look at how to get the most out of 5G.
You can check out our detailed look into what 5G actually is, but the short and sweet of it is that it’s an improvement on 4G connectivity that allows for significantly faster (up to 1GBps) download and upload speeds while using a mobile internet connection.
While still in its infancy, there’s already a few 5G handsets and contract plans available to compare, so we’ve done the legwork and checked them all out thoroughly – rounding them up in one neat place.
Best 5G handsets
In Australia, there’s currently only three 5G-ready handsets available to customers, and only two of them can be purchased outright, so that doesn’t leave us with too much in the way of choice just yet.
Regardless, here are the best 5G phones you can buy right now in Australia.
1) Oppo Reno 5G
2) Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
3) LG V50 ThinQ
5G on iPhone
Not one to rush things in terms of the forefront of phone tech, Apple has chosen a more cautious approach to adding 5G to its popular iPhone range.
At the moment, there’s no Apple iPhone capable of supporting 5G, and there’s no official word on when we’ll see one either, although rumours have recently pointed to either 2020 or 2021.
The handsets that are already out and supporting 5G all boast the same chipset – Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. Apple was engaged in a long-running legal battle with Qualcomm, but in order to maintain its 5G targets, settled the dispute.
However, since then, there have been rumours that Apple will buy up Intel’s smartphone modem division in order to bring the development of 5G tech in-house, adding to the growing list of iPhone components that the Cupertino giant aim to produce themselves.
5G devices from Samsung
On the other hand, Samsung has already released its first 5G-capable handset – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
Not only that, but the South Korean tech giant is expected to announce the next iteration of its Note series on August 8, rumoured to contain two 5G-capable handsets – the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
Telstra 5G plans
Right now, Telstra has a pretty clear advantage in the world of 5G plans – it’s the only network that actually offers the next-gen connectivity. In fact, right now, you can’t sign up to a new Telstra plan without getting some form of 5G connectivity.
Currently, Telstra is offering four different plans – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. The Small and Medium plans offer 15GB and 60GB of data respectively and both come with access to the 5G network on a trial basis (which means you’ll need to start paying for it if you want to use it after June 30, 2020).
The Large and Extra Large plans offer 100GB and 150GB of data respectively and include full 5G network access, even after June 30, 2020.
Telstra 5G coverage
As Telstra’s 5G trial period is live, coverage of the future-ready network continues to grow. At present, there are only 10 cities and regions that have 5G network coverage – Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Gold Coast, Toowoomba.
It’s worth noting that, while these cities do have some degree of 5G coverage, it doesn’t account for the entire region. For an up-to-date map of where you can and can’t get coverage, check out Telstra’s dedicated page.
In our own testing, we found that download speeds on the fringes of these 5G coverage zones were actually considerably worse off when compared to the 4G signal attained just outside of the zones.
As you may have noticed by now, Optus currently doesn’t have an active 5G network. However, it doesn’t mean the telco is completely out of the game.
Optus claims it is “beginning its 5G rollout right now” on its official 5G page, but unfortunately this doesn’t include any concrete timeframes or roadmaps for when it will be available to consumers.
Instead, the most solid information Optus is currently providing is that it’s so far built 100 sites and has “made a commitment to build 1,200 by March 2020”.
We expect the rollout will follow a similar pattern to Telstra’s current coverage, with a select few areas receiving the new network in small patches and slowly expanding it over the following months.