Is the speed claim correct?
No, nada, zip, zilch!
Telcos are espousing blazingly fast network 5G speeds. Fact: until at least late 2021 – if not many years later – 5G will not be much faster than existing 4GX speeds.
The hype quotes theoretical 5G download speeds of up to 20Gbps (with 8 Carrier Aggregation). You will never reach even 25% of that!
Telstra glossed over the fact that in its latest trails it achieved speeds of up to 3Gbps, but the dirty little secret was that it was using mmWave, not the slower sub-6GHz 5G that Australian customers will actually get.
It’s also worth remembering that these maximum speeds will be a lot lower once the signal is divided up among all of the customers in any given area.
Don’t believe the 5G hype.
What locations can you get it?
First, 4G uses lower sub 3GHz frequencies that do penetrate buildings, and the three major networks offer up to 98.5% coverage of the population (that is not the geographic area which is way less).
5G uses higher frequencies that transmit over much shorter line-of-sight distances. They cannot go through buildings and things like roadside signs, glass, etc. can block them. Telcos need to put their own small cell on nearly every power pole around the country. Coverage is very limited.
Extremely limited services will start from mid-year.
Telstra has 200 x 5G sub-6GHz ‘sites’ in [very few] parts of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast. It is going where the money is – CBD and is it very coy about future rollouts.
Optus says it will have 1200 x 5G ‘suburban’ sites by mid-2020. A list is here. We understand Optus will focus on 5G Home broadband with a $70/50Mbps/unlimited data per month plan that may be good for renters and those that cannot get NBN.
What do you need to get it?
A 5G phone or 5G modem. At this stage (soon)
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G optional dual screen (exclusive to Telstra from $1999)
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Telstra no extra cost upgrade within 21 days if you leased an S10+ or buy outright – price under $2000)
- Motorola 5G mod for its Z series handsets
- OPPO 5G Rush with a 10X optical zoom (details TBA)
- Huawei (Australian model details not finalised)
- Alcatel 7 (a model/price for the masses)
- Apple – ‘no’ and it is not likely until late 2020 when the tech is sorted out!
- HTC, Huawei, Netgear modems
Sure, 5G will move mobile data faster but at what cost? Australian telcos have said that 5G data will not cost more than 4G does.
But the bottom line is that 4G prices are hugely artificially inflated here – about twice what they should be, let alone paying $10 per GB if you go over the plan limit. Fact: Aussie Telcos have kept 4G prices up specifically for the introduction of 5G and the ACCC should do something!
Estimates are that 5G users will need at least 100GB a month as it uses more data compared to 5-10GB for 4G. Ultimately 5G is about
That consumer research
A recent US study says more than 70% of users had never heard of 5G, and almost none said that 5G was a key factor in a new smartphone purchase (presumably this year).