There’s not just plenty to pick from in buying a phone, but also where you make your calls and consume data, as 5G telcos grow.
Back when 5G first launched in 2019, the options to jump on that high-speed technology were pretty slim. First it was Telstra, then Optus and Vodafone gradually came to the party.
A few years in, 5G is clearly more commonplace in phone choices, last year trickling down to the $500 mark, and this year even managing to drop below that.
When it comes to jumping into a 5G network, though, the choices aren’t quite as varied as the 4G options you have.
You see, 4G is everywhere. Everyone has 4G. While there are technically three networks to choose from — Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone — there are plenty of Mobile Virtual Network Operators who leverage these networks as their own, and often offer a different pricing setup for customers who want something else.
Most are 4G, and if you have a 5G phone, will only find 4G speeds on them. Optus MVNOs cover Coles, Circles.Life, and Dodo, to name a few, Kogan and TPG count themselves as part of Vodafone’s network. And Telstra also offers some, with the likes of Aldi, Woolworths, Mate, and Boost.
The latter of these has been around for over 20 years, and this month is signalling a change is coming, adding 5G to its network, and making it the first Telstra virtual operator to get the support.
That’s great news for folks expecting one of the rival operators built on cost to jump into 5G, except that the cost isn’t quite competitive just yet.
As of the time of writing, there is only one 5G plan on Boost, and it costs $70 per month for 100GB on prepaid. In comparison, Telstra offers two 5G options, either on prepaid or postpaid.
On Telstra prepaid, there’s a $60 plan for 65GB monthly with 5G access. On postpaid, 5G access starts from $65 per month with the data amount at 80GB monthly. Much like how plans have been locked in unlimited plans for years, once you hit the 80GB, you won’t be charged data overage, but the speed will be capped to an ADSL-like 1.5Mbps.
Further compounding Boost’s 5G prepaid option is that after three recharges, it technically behaves exactly like Telstra’s prepaid 5G plan, reverting to a 65GB from the fourth. Basically it’s the same, but there’s a little more data for the first few charges.
It’s enough to tell us that Boost is trialling the whole 5G thing right now, and that there may be more plan options on the way. How long that is, we can’t say, but it does mean more competitive 5G shouldn’t be too much of a dream for more Australians.