Optus Can't Always Guarantee 50Mbps On 5G

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Earlier today Optus became the first Australian telco to announce pricing on a 5G home broadband plan.

At $70 per month it provides users with unlimited data, as well as a 50Mbps Satisfaction Guarantee.

While Optus is confident that customers will generally get 50Mpbs down, it isn't guaranteeing that as the minimum speed.

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If you take a look at the Optus website, you'll see that the 'guarantee' that that is being referred to here is actually a free opt-out.

"If at any time you are not satisfied that you are getting download speeds of at least 50Mbps, simply get in touch and we will let you cancel your contract without cancellation fees when you return your 5G device to us."

Fortunately this clarification isn't buried in the fine print, but one could argue that the term "50Mbps Satisfaction Guarantee" could be taken by customers as a confirmation of that being the minimum down speed.

Dennis Wong, Managing Director of Networks for Optus, explained that this guarantee has been included for unforeseen circumstances such as a device issues and structural interference.

"Let's say that something happens where somebody builds a new building between a house and the tower and the speed goes down... or interference coming from nearby equipment - those are things that aren't really within our control."

Mr Wong also reiterated that the needs of the customer have been taken into account and that if they can't hit a minimum of 50Mbps down, it won't be due to capacity.

"From our planning perspective and for our coverage area, we know our capacity and how many customers we can put on it and we know how much they use."

Optus CEO Allen Lew looked at this potential issue from the perspective of consumer rights.

"We want to make sure that if we don't meet [50Mbps] customers can opt out, which is their right to do. We want consumers to realise that like with any new technology, if there's apprehension you can get out."

He also maintained that the Optus 5G network will live up to its speed expectations, including in rural areas once they receive 5G capabilities.

"The key thing is that we are base lining it at 50Mpbs and we don't expect people to opt out because of that."

The CEO went on to emphasise how the increased efficiency of 5G will assist with expanded coverage and reliability in congested areas.

"We certainly know that the biggest pain point that people have is 7 - 11pm in their homes and when they are out at a sports stadium or a concert. 5G is the solution. We are yet to prove it but our engineers believe it can be done."

We're looking forward to seeing how it performs out in the wild in a few months time.

The author travelled to Canberra as a guest of Optus.

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