Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Using a phone at a computer

Optus switches on 5G for more carriers

All three of Australia’s big telcos have 5G, but the smaller virtual operators don’t have that. But if they use Optus, they might shortly.

With more 5G phones set to be available in Australia and more likely take up of the 5G network thanks to Apple now officially signing on to the world of 5G, you might be wondering whether your provider will support the technology.

It’s an understandable question, particularly if you pay someone other than Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone for access to a mobile connection these days. While those are the big three Australian telcos, Australia has a positively huge selection of carriers thanks to what’s called a “MVNO”, or “Mobile Virtual Network Operator”.

An industry term that you don’t really have to remember, MVNOs are what folks in telecommunications call smaller service providers who don’t have their own mobile network, but instead use the network of one of the larger big three.

For instance Boost Mobile and Aldi Mobile are both MVNOs using Telstra’s network, Kogan Mobile and Lebara Mobile leverage the Vodafone network, while Amaysim, Vaya, and SpinTel are MVNOs using the Optus network. Most of these run on 4G, as 5G has previously been limited to the major carriers — Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus — but that appears to be changing.

This week, Optus has signalled that it is allowing its virtual operators to share the Optus 5G connection, providing it to select partners amidst what is still the beginning of the Optus 5G roll-out.

“We’re excited to bring Optus’ 5G network to our wholesale partners from today,” said Ben White, Managing Director for Wholesale, Satellite and Strategy at Optus.

“With superfast speeds, 5G delivers a fantastic experience that opens a whole new world of opportunity for our wholesale partners,” he said.

The addition means MVNOs who use Optus can start looking into and setting up a 5G connection if it’s what their customers want, and given that a whole bunch of new users are likely to dive into 5G now that Apple has signed on, it may well now be what customers want.

In the beginning, SpinTel has been the first partner to join up, though it has first appeared not so much on a mobile level, but rather on a broadband level, essentially providing high-speed broadband using the 5G network alongside the Optus 5G Home Broadband that was launched last year.

However it is just the beginning, and with Optus building more 5G sites across the country, it’s likely we’ll see more support for 5G in the very near future, and not just from Optus, but other carriers using its network, too.

Read next