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Vodafone is switching on 5G for MVNOs, with four of its wholesale partners offering customers a free trial of next-generation connectivity on select plans. 5G will be available free of charge to eligible customers until October 26, unless further extended.
TPG and iINet's mobile plans include in the free trial are as follows:
The 50% discount on these plans for the first six months is also valid with the free trial.
Customers on Kogan Mobile's Large and Extra Large 365-day expiry plans will get 5G connectivity, both on the regular and Flex variants. Kogan's Extra Large 12-month SIM-only plan is also eligible.
Lastly, every Lebara recharge valued at least $29.90 is part of the 5G trial, including long-expiry options.
Existing customers on these plans will all get access to the 5G free trial, provided they have an active recharge or service. There's no need to opt-in, but a 5G handset is required, as is being in a 5G coverage area.
The TPG Telecom / Vodafone 5G footprint is available in over 1,000 suburbs across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, the Gold Coast, the Central Coast, Wollongong, and the Sunshine Coast.
TPG Telecom has yet to confirm what will happen at the end of the free trial period, but said it will get in touch with customers ahead of October 26.
None of these MVNOs currently have a 5G offering, so there's very little clarity as to what will happen after. 5G has thus far been a premium proposition in Australia, with smaller providers unable to undercut their parent networks in a meaningful way. This is quite different to 4G-only plans, where MVNOs can offer much better deals.
As such, it's possible that 5G could be restricted to a smaller amount of plans when the free trial is up, or alternatively, providers could charge an extra monthly fee to enable the feature. Of course, TPG Telecom could always be the brand to change this.
Telstra and Boost are currently also running a 5G free trial on prepaid plans, which lasts until September 26.
TPG Telecom is the last network provider to switch on 5G for MVNOs, with Telstra doing so over the last two months, and Optus being the first mover in the space back in 2020. So far Boost, ALDI Mobile, and Woolworths Mobile offer 5G plans on the Telstra network, while SpinTel, Aussie Broadband, and Southern Phone have 5G options on the Optus network.