5G Home Broadband explained
When you think of 5G in Australia, you’re likely pondering the potential speed benefits for smartphones. And while the requirement for 5G speeds is a 5G-compatible handset, a 5G-compatible plan and being in range of one of three 5G networks – Telstra 5G, Optus 5G or Vodafone 5G – there is also the option for 5G Home Broadband, as long as you’re in the right area.
What is 5G Home Broadband?
5G Home Broadband is kind of like NBN Fixed Wireless in that the broadband internet signal for your home is received wirelessly via a compatible modem-router. But while Fixed Wireless comes from NBN towers in supported areas, 5G Home Broadband is delivered via a 5G mobile network. In this respect, it’s like the 4G backup modems that are purchasable from certain NBN providers, except the speed potential is better and cellular connectivity is its primary function rather than a fallback.
What is 5G coverage like?
Below is a 5G coverage map for Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. You can select and deselect the telco network you’re most interested in, as well as switch between 5G, 4G and 3G mobile signals. Activate the map and zoom in on the areas you’re most interested in to see coverage.
How fast is 5G Home Broadband?
The common theme across providers is that you can expect a minimum speed of 50Mbps on 5G Home Broadband, but speeds can stretch up to 225Mbps for Optus, 239Mbps for Spintel and up to 300Mbps for Telstra. These self-reported upper-limit speeds apply to the typical nightly internet busy period between 7pm and 11pm. Speeds are impacted by the distance of serviced homes from the nearest 5G tower and usual home networking factors, like modem-router placement as well as potential interference and device WiFi speeds.
For comparison, there’s a daily updating list of NBN plans below that have self-reported typical evening download speeds of at least 225Mbps.
Which providers sell 5G Home Broadband plans?
At the time of writing, only two of the 5G networks in Australia and three providers were offering 5G Home Broadband services. Telstra and Optus both offer 5G Home Broadband services, though Telstra’s 5G Home Broadband is effectively invite only (but you can check the eligibility of your address on the Telstra website), with Spintel offering 5G Home Broadband via the Optus 5G network.
Telstra 5G Home Broadband
While Telstra 5G Home Broadband has the potential to be the fastest in terms of self-reported typical evening download speeds, it’s also available on an invite-only basis, even if your area has Telstra 5G coverage. If you do get an invite, you can sign up to the single Telstra 5G Home Internet plan, which costs $0 for the first month then $85 thereafter for 500GB of monthly data. Speeds are slowed if you go over the monthly allocation.
This plan comes with an easy-to-setup 5G Home Modem that just needs power and is best placed in an area of your home that has the strongest 5G signal. The 5G Home Modem has WiFi 6 support, which means 5G-compatible devices should enjoy fast wireless speeds. You can cancel at any time without any fees, as long as you return the 5G Home Modem within 60 days of cancelling and it’s in good working order.
For comparison, below is a daily updating list of NBN plans above 100Mbps download speeds.
Optus 5G Home Broadband
Optus has a similar 5G Home Broadband offering to Telstra, albeit one that’s available to homes within the Optus 5G network footprint. It has the same straightforward installation and one month of free internet, albeit with two plan options in either month-to-month or 24-month-contract versions. Both Optus 5G Home Broadband plans have a 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee, wherein you can cancel a contract without exit fees, as long as you return the 5G modem-router within 30 days of cancellation.
The Optus 5G Internet Everyday plan has a $0 start-up fee (normally $200) and costs $75 per month, which includes unlimited data and max speeds of 100Mbps. The Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan costs $90 a month with no limit on download speeds, although that equates to 225Mbps typical evening download speeds. This plan also comes with Fetch Mighty, while both plans include Optus Sport + OS Fitness as well as a Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway modem-router (which has 4G backup).
For comparison, below is a daily updating list of NBN 50 plans with unlimited data.
Spintel 5G Home Broadband
Like Telstra, Spintel has the one 5G Home Broadband plan, albeit services are offered over the Optus 5G network and the price changes depending on whether you go with a contract or opt for month-to-month. The Spintel 5G Internet plan costs $70 a month on a 12-month contract or $90 a month for a month-to-month contract, with both versions of the 5G Home Broadband plan offering unlimited data. There’s also a $20 upfront fee to cover postage of the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway rental.
Spintel also offers 5G mobile plans, and you can see a daily updating list of the most popular 5G mobile plans below.
5G Home Broadband modems
There are two 5G Home Broadband modems offered by the three providers: Telstra includes the 5G Home Broadband modem-router, while Optus and Spintel send out the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway. Both devices are designed to be easy to setup (i.e. without the need for a technician) and all they really need is power and great positioning relative to the strongest 5G signal in your home. These devices are modem-routers, which means they do the dual networking job of receiving the internet signal then sharing it with devices on your local home network.
5G Home Internet vs NBN
While 5G mobile internet is not intended as a replacement for NBN services, 5G Home Broadband is a viable consideration. For those in metro areas, 5G Home Broadband may not be as comparably reliable as fixed-line NBN technologies, which tend to provide more consistent speeds and latency than wireless broadband technologies like 5G Home Broadband.
That said, in terms of speeds, only FTTP and select HFC homes can tap into plans beyond NBN 100, which has download speeds of up to 100Mbps, whereas 5G Home Broadband plans can reach speeds of two or three times that during the busy evening period.
Still, you need to be in an area that’s serviced by Optus 5G or Telstra 5G and you want strong enough signal strength to hit those download speeds beyond 100Mbps. It’s also worth noting that 5G Home Broadband plans also don’t offer home phone line services, static IP addresses, nor do they offer back-to-base medical alarms or systems.
For comparison, below is a daily updating list of the most popular NBN 100 plans.