Australian mobile networks have a pretty good reputation on the world stage, but just how good is our 5G?
Opensignal recently published a report covering 5G in Asia Pacific markets, comparing Australian next-generation network performance to that in New Zealand, South Korean, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
For the most part, Australia performed well, but lagged behind other countries in Opensignal’s testing. We didn’t come first in Opensignal’s metrics, or even second.
South Korea is the clear winner when it comes to speed, reporting average 5G download speeds of 438Mbps, peak download speeds of 865.9Mbps and upload speeds of 36.1Mbps. Australia reported average 5G download speeds of 224.7Mbps, putting it behind Taiwan and New Zealand. Our peak download speeds were much better, however, putting us in third place with a result of 597.8Mbps. On the other hand, our 5G networks didn’t fare well when it came to upload speeds. With an average speed of just 15.7Mbps, we placed eighth.
South Korea also fared best when it came to 5G availability and 5G reach. 5G availability is Opensignal’s metric for tracking what percentage of a time a device is connected to 5G rather than older networks, while 5G reach measures how many locations a user visits have 5G.
In South Korea, those with 5G devices were connected to 5G roughly 30 per cent of the time on average, and able to get connectivity in approximately two-thirds of the locations they visited. Australia placed sixth in both categories, with 12 per cent 5G availability and connectivity in around one-third of locations visited. Opensignal notes that these results are “credible”, given the challenges of deploying mobile networks in a country as large as Australia. These scores also put us ahead of New Zealand, which got a 5G availability score of 3.7 per cent and a 5G reach score of 1.5 (meaning 5G is only available in about 15 per cent of locations). And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s truly important?
If you haven’t tried 5G yet (and have a compatible device) or are looking for a new plan, here are the cheapest 5G mobile plans from each local provider offering 5G:
Alternatively, here are the cheapest 5G home internet plans available in Australia. These all have their speeds capped to 100Mbps.
And if you want faster speeds, these 5G home internet plans are all uncapped and should be able to comfortably hit over 200Mbps.
For the most part, testing 5G home internet is a risk-free affair. Most providers are offering your first month free, so you don’t need to cancel your NBN while you’re testing it out. If you decide 5G home internet isn’t for you, you can simply cancel your plan without paying a cent, provided you return your modem to your telco.
Optus is the one exception. If you pick up an Optus 5G home internet plan and you change your mind, you’ll get stung by a costly exit fee. If you cancel your Optus plan within your first 36 months, you’ll pay a modem fee equivalent to $16 for each month left in your three-year term. That’s a maximum of $576.
The one exception to Optus’ rule is if you can’t get speeds of at least 50Mbps. If that’s the case and Optus can’t help you improve them, you can return your modem without forking out any cash.
Opensignal’s 5G testing data comes from a collection period spanning November 1 last year to January 29. Opensignal collects data using software installed within its own apps as well as those of its partners.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. We’ve updated this article since it was first published and it now reflects up to date information.