Optus 5G Home Internet: Is it worth trying?

Is the 5G home modem from Optus a worthy NBN alternative?
Optus 5G Home

The NBN (National Broadband Network) has connected a lot of Australians over the last few years but after all this time, there are still a few dark voids where it doesn’t reach and not everyone eligible is happy with the results. That’s why the idea of 5G home broadband has been such a tempting proposition for many Australians. The Australian 5G upgrade is still in its early stages but Optus is already offering a fully-fledged 5G home broadband option that comes at a surprisingly reasonable price.

Is it a case of too good to be true or can the Optus 5G Home Internet plan replace your NBN connection?

Optus 5G network

The first and most important question you need to ask is whether the Optus 5G network offers sufficient coverage at your home address. The Optus 5G network isn’t quite as comprehensive as Telstra’s yet but there are pockets of coverage across most metropolitan areas. Check your address in the Optus 5G coverage map to see if your house or apartment can access the next-gen Optus network.

Ultimately, whether it’s worth it or not comes down to whether you have ample coverage in your area. Even if you do, speeds are likely to fluctuate. 5G home internet is essentially a mobile broadband connection that doesn’t leave your house, so it’s at the mercy of the same stability, reception and interference impediments as your mobile phone’s internet connection.

With that said, Optus does offer a speed-satisfaction guarantee that promises 50 Mbps. If you’re not hitting that regularly, Optus will cancel your plan at no extra charge (so long as you return the $330 modem).

The Nokia 5G Fastmile modem that Optus sends out also has some helpful features that hold your hand throughout the setup, going as far as to point you towards an ideal placement for optimal 5G coverage in your home.

If you’ve got sufficient Optus 5G coverage at your address, it’s time to weigh up the plans and costs of 5G home broadband against your NBN options.

Optus 5G Home Internet plans and pricing

There are two core Optus 5G Home Internet plans: $75 per month for unlimited downloads and maximum speeds of 100 Mbps or $90 per month for unlimited downloads and no speed cap. Both plans are available on a 24-month contract (with no start-up fees) or a month-to-month basis (with a $200 start-up fee). All options come with your first month free, the Nokia 5G Modem and subscriptions to Optus Sport and OS Fitness.

Optus 5G Home Internet vs 4G Home Internet

It’s a step up from the Optus 4G Home Internet plans, which cost $59 and $69 per month for 200GB and 500GB, both in terms of speeds and unlimited downloads.

Optus 5G Home Internet vs NBN

The 100 Mbps Optus 5G Internet Everyday plan is comparable in price to the $75 Internet Everyday plan, which gives you unlimited downloads and NBN Standard speeds (50 Mbps typical evening speeds). The Optus 5G Internet Entertainer plan is closer in price to its $85 Optus Internet Everyday NBN Fast plan (100 Mbps typical evening speeds).

Based on price and features alone, the Optus 5G Home Internet plans are much better value, but a fixed-line NBN connection also offers more stability than 5G home broadband, for the time being.

Optus 5G speeds

Once again your experience with Optus 5G speeds will vary depending on your location. Our friends at WhistleOut have been running regular speed tests on the Optus 5G network across various Sydney locations and have found that Optus 5G download speeds averaged 484 Mbps at the areas tested in June 2021. Though their tests yielded a wide range of results, ranging from 196 Mbps in one area and 668 Mbps in another. It’s a bit of a mixed bag.

It’s a similar story with 5G upload speeds, which tested as low as 17 Mbps in one area and as high as 118 Mbps in another. Overall, Optus 5G upload speeds averaged 62 Mbps.

Latency on Optus 5G was less erratic but there were still significant differences in the areas tested, with the highest latency clocking 17ms in two areas and the lowest at 12ms in one area.

Optus itself reports typical evening speeds of 77 Mbps on the 5G Internet Everyday plan and 225 Mbps on the 5G Internet Entertainer plan.

Still, WhistleOut’s download speed results show that you might manage much faster (or slower) speeds depending on your location.

Thankfully, the Optus 5G Home Internet plan come with a speed satisfaction guarantee, which allows you to exit your contract at no additional cost if you’re not completely happy with the speeds you’re getting on 5G.

Optus 5G modem

If you do decide to take Optus 5G Home Internet for a whirl, they’ll supply you with the clever Nokia 5G Fastmile modem at no extra cost (unless you cancel early and fail to return the modem).

Using the My Optus app, the Nokia 5G modem can help you find the ideal place in your home or apartment by locating the closest 5G tower and finding the spot in your house with the clearest line of sight. Even when the 5G connection wavers, the Optus 5G modem will switch back to 4G/LTE so you stay connected.

Unlike a pocket WiFi device, the Nokia Fastmile 5G modem is designed to be used in the home and has to be connected to a power outlet. It’s more like a traditional modem-router in that sense. It even has multiple LAN ports for a hardwired connection.

Is it worth trying?

It’s worth trying out Optus 5G Home Internet if you either can’t get NBN or you’re not happy with the service you’re getting. The speed satisfaction guarantee makes it a low-risk commitment and the pricing is fair or at least on par with what you would pay for Optus NBN. With that said, Optus NBN isn’t exactly the cheapest option available and if you’re not happy with your NBN service, you might have better luck with a more affordable provider.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular NBN Standard plans available on the market right now if you’re considering switching.