The big Aussie telcos have gone back and forth about who has the better 5G network, but Telstra can now definitively claim the widest coverage.
In a statement released today, Telstra announced that its 5G network now reaches more than 50% of Australians, and that number continues to grow.
Telstra has aggressive plans in the works for 2021 and as coverage continues to roll out it aims to reach 75% of Aussie’s by the end of June this year. So, as 5G handsets become more common, Telstra should be well placed to handle the increased traffic.
Telstra says it has already used more than 750,000 5G devices on its network – such as the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S20 – although that doesn’t necessarily mean each of those handsets is tied to a 5G subscription.
In fact, Telstra is the only provider of the big three that requires you to pay a premium to access its 5G network. While 5G coverage is included in all Optus and Vodafone mobile plans, it is only available on Medium and above plans with Telstra, that start at AU $ 65 per month.
The state of 5G in Australia
Telstra predicts that when 5G is fully operational across the country, download speeds could be 10 times faster than what is currently available. According to Telstra, this allows 5G users to download a movie in HD in about a second.
The company switched on its first 5G towers in Australia in 2018. With the exception of Darwin, Telstra’s 5G coverage is available today in all major cities and regional centers in every state.
The Optus 5G network is, however, arguably not far behind Telstra; it is also still being rolled out at high speed, reaching most of the major cities in addition to Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
For comparison, Vodafone has relatively limited 5G coverage at this stage, but the telco says it plans to cover 85% of the population in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra by the end of 2021.