Telstra Says 5G Is Not a Replacement for NBN

Telstra Says 5G Is Not a Replacement for NBN
Image: Telstra

Telstra earlier this month officially launched its 5G Home & Business Internet service, which at the time it said was “ridiculously fast internet”. The telco’s 5G Home Internet promises to allow most of you to stream a 4K movie, jump into a video call for work and download a new Xbox game at the same time. But today, it told us 5G isn’t an NBN replacement.

Telstra on Tuesday held an investor day where it told those tuning in (or picking up the stream later) that its home 5G kit was not a suitable replacement for NBN.

The telco’s group executive for networks and IT Nikos Katinakis was running through Telstra’s 5G footprint, reaffirming Telstra currently covers over 75 per cent of Australians and it aims to have 95 per cent of Aussies covered by 2025.

But he also said 5G was not a replacement for NBN, rather it’s for customers where NBN isn’t appropriate and 5G broadband is.

“So let me answer a question that I know you have,” he began. “Is 5G fixed wireless a replacement for NBN? The answer to that is no.

“The average consumption of a fixed customer is now in the 300 GB range a month, mostly between 8 and 10 pm. The average wireless customer is in the 15-18GB per month range. And it is spread almost across a 14-hour window with two peaks 9-9 am and 4-6 pm.

“Putting 25 times more demand onto the network is just not feasible at this point, but it is definitely feasible to offer a fixed wireless access service to the subset of our customers that just don’t get a good enough fixed broadband service.”

The Investor Day presentation went for a little over three hours, but during the Q&A, CEO Andy Penn jumped in with a few remarks about 5G and NBN.

“We’ve made it very clear: we’re targeting 5G fixed wireless solutions where it is the appropriate technology for our customers,” Penn said.

“5G offers some great experiences, not suitable necessarily in every situation, but there are certain customers, for whatever reason, they … may be using a copper lead in on fibre to the node, or they may be in 4G fixed wireless on an NBN service where a 5G fixed wireless solution could actually offer them a better experience for a similar price.”

While Telstra’s 5G Home & Business Internet service might cost less than its NBN 50 plan at $85 a month for 1TB, the telco is erring against it being a flat-out replacement.