There are now two 5G providers in Australia, as Optus joins Telstra in some of the world’s fastest speeds.
We expected quite a bit of mobile technology this year, and after seeing over 60 phones, Australia has also seen the launch of 5G. Touted as the next generation of mobile connectivity, 5G’s beginnings started with the country’s biggest telecommunications network, but is now beginning to make its way out to more customers.
Simply put, if you’re not a Telstra subscriber, there’s one more way to get 5G access this week, though you’ll need a 5G capable device and to be a subscriber of a different telco: Optus.
This week, Optus has switched on 5G connectivity for its customers, providing another choice for the high-speed technology, leaving Vodafone as the only major provider without a 5G network.
The launch of Optus for 5G isn’t just for mobile phones, however, with home broadband taking advantage of the 5G network in Australia, though its numbers are limited. Presently, just over 200 customers are using the Optus 5G home broadband technology, something that came through the Optus 5G trials, though it is now available for up to 138,000 homes in selected areas. In the home, Optus is talking up a minimum speed of 50Mbps, with that applying to its “satisfaction guarantee”.
“Whilst it’s early days, our initial 5G service has been wowing customers who are experiencing a current average speed at peak time of 164Mbps, with the top speed achieved over 5G of 400Mbps at this point in time,” said Allen Lew, Chief Executive Officer of Optus.
While the 5G home broadband technology is interesting, mobile customers on Optus can now get onto a 5G connection, though as is the case on Telstra, results may vary. 5G connections may not be quite as widely available as 4G, as indicated by the Optus 5G coverage map, and indoor coverage isn’t accounted for either.
There’s also the question of handsets, and currently Optus is only supporting three 5G phones: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, 5G variation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and the Oppo Reno 5G. However Optus 5G should support any 5G phone that is unlocked, which means the LG V50 5G should also be supported, should you have one.
However the introduction of 5G also acts as a bit of a segue for Optus’ sports streaming, which will launch 4K Ultra HD live football from June next year, providing selected games from the Euro 2020 tournament, 2020/2021 Premier League, and 2020/2021 Champions League, as well. Essentially, Optus’ 5G network will carry sport made to take advantage of that high-speed connection, something digital TV can’t really account for.
Optus has also said that other networks that offer 4K Ultra HD content should work on 5G, too, including titles from Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, and others.
Helping push this along, Optus expects to have 1200 5G sites active by March 2020, up from the over 290 in use across the country today.