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When can you get 5G in Australia?

Everything you need to know about when you can access the high-speed perks of 5G mobile in Australia.

Nathan Lawrence
Aug 19, 2021
Icon Time To Read3 min read

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The very short answer is you can get 5G right now. The longer answer is there are some key considerations that will impact whether you can get 5G. For instance, it may be available where you work but not at home. Similarly, you may already have access to a 5G network but not know it because of the phone you have or because of your current plan.

Longer story short, you need the combination of a 5G-compatible handset operating on a 5G plan in an area with 5G signal from one of the three networks before you can tap into the speedy next-gen-now perks of 5G mobile data.

What is 5G?
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5G is the fifth generation of wireless communication tech that’s used in mobile data networks in Australia. Ultimately, that’s a fancy way of saying faster downloads, faster uploads and lower latency, which is three lots of great news. 5G has the potential to offer speeds faster than the NBN and, because it’s mobile, it opens the door for growing tech trends like game streaming, autonomous cars and smart city functionality. For the average user, it means faster video buffering, speedier backing up of pictures and, generally, a more responsive online experience.

5G coverage map Australia

Whether you want to see a 5G coverage map for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or anywhere else in Australia for that matter, you’ve come to the right place. Use the map below to see if 5G is available where you live, where you work, or anywhere in Australia, really. The dropdown box lets you select between Telstra, Optus and Vodafone 5G networks, plus you can select or deselect 4G and 3G network availability, too.

Which 5G network is the biggest in Australia?
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Telstra has the largest 5G network in Australia and it’s on track to have the largest 5G network in Australia (an accolade it currently enjoys with its 4G network). Optus had the second largest 5G network in Australia and will likely retain the second largest 5G network once the rollout is complete. That leaves Vodafone with the smallest 5G network. Again, that’s likely to stay the same once Vodafone finishes the rollout of its network. 5G rollout progress update (as of August 2021):

Telstra 5G coverage Australia

Telstra is at 75% coverage of the Australian population, which is around 19 million Aussies, but the network is growing so expect that number to go up. To access the Telstra 5G network, you’ll need to be in an area that has Telstra 5G coverage using a 5G handset and signed up to a Telstra 5G plan.

Below is a list of the handful of Telstra 5G plans.

Optus 5G coverage Australia

While it’s not helpful that Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have chosen to talk about their respective 5G networks with different metrics, the Optus 5G network currently has a noticeably smaller footprint than Telstra’s 5G network. Using a wee bit of creative maths, the 400,000-ish households that are in the Optus 5G network footprint equates to over 1 million Aussies if you use the 2.53 average household size for Australia (thanks, OECD!).

Optus 5G coverage may not be as ubiquitous as the Telstra 5G network, but there are more, cheaper ways to access it. Outside of a range of Optus 5G plans, Spintel is currently the only MVNO in Australia to sell 5G plans outside of the three network holders. Below is a list of plans on the Optus 5G network.

Vodafone 5G coverage Australia

It may be trickier to nail down exactly how large Optus and Telstra’s 5G networks will end up being, but Vodafone offers an outline for how large its network will be, even if that size isn’t on par with Telstra and Optus. The Vodafone network is rolling out across 1,600 planned sites with the goal of covering 85% of the population of Australia’s most populous cities: namely, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. The rollout is scheduled to be done by the end of 2021.

If you are in an area that’s covered by the Vodafone 5G network, you can sign up to any SIM Only or Prepaid plan to take advantage of 5G speeds. Below is a list of Vodafone SIM Only plans, all of which come with 5G support.

And below is a list of Vodafone Prepaid plans that have 5G network access.

5G handsets in Australia

Because 5G has been around for a couple of years now, there are a range of Android and iOS handsets to choose from that are 5G compatible. Just be aware that if your phone isn’t a 5G handset, you won’t be able to access 5G connectivity even if you’re in an area with 5G coverage on a corresponding 5G plan.

Below is a list of some recent 5G handsets we’ve reviewed:

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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