Vodafone is finally live in the 5G race, although it won't actually start selling 5G devices until tomorrow, and you've got to be in a specific part of Sydney – for now – to take advantage of it. If you travel frequently, it's possible your first taste of Vodafone 5G might be in another country. Either way, Vodafone has no plans to start charging extra for 5G.
The nation's third mobile network provider Vodafone is finally live with 5G services in Australia, albeit in a rather limited way.
In a media release, Vodafone notes that it's switched on 5G services in Parramatta in Sydney, although it's certainly not going to be stopping there. Vodafone says that it'll progressively roll out more than 650 mobile 5G sites across "parts" of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Canberra. Sorry, Darwin and Hobart. No Vodafone 5G for you in the first batch!
Mind you, the launch comes before Vodafone is itself selling any actual 5G devices, with the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G range set to become available from tomorrow.
You'd have to be on an outright purchased 5G handset and on Vodafone AND in or around Parramatta today to actually take first mover advantage of it. If that's you, you'll probably have Vodafone's 5G network all to yourself, at least for a little while.
Vodafone was last to market with 4G services back in 2013 and it'll be last to market with 5G in Australia too, but here the company is touting some unique points of difference.
Firstly, as it's long maintained, it has no intentions of charging customers extra for 5G access. That's in stark difference to Telstra, who will charge customers more for 5G unless they're on top-tier plans — and maybe even more once it gets mmWave 5G up and running — while Optus has remained quite cagey around issues of additional 5G pricing.
“When 5G arrives to our customers with 5G devices, they will get 5G network access at no extra charge” Vodafone CEO Iñaki Berroeta said in a statement.
Vodafone – even as it prepares to merge with TPG, now cleared after the ACCC declined to appeal today – is also planning to take advantage of its position as part of the global Vodafone group to add 5G access to its exceptional $5/day roaming deal.
Vodafone's 5G roaming isn't quite live yet, but its initial plans call for 5G roaming to be available in the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and Ireland first, with other locations available over time – and presumably when the Vodafone businesses in those countries go online with their own 5G networks. As always with roaming, it pays to check exactly where you're coverered — and where you're not — when you roam.