Vivo, Telstra get 5G down to $299 on prepaid

There may well be a new lowest price for 5G in Australia, as the high-speed tech comes to prepaid phones in a new model, though getting access needs one specific plan.

It’s been a few years, but the cost of 5G is really coming down. Last year in 2021, phone makers managed to get that down under $500 in the mid-range, and this year, it’s leaping another barrier: just under $300 in the budget world of phones.

Yes, 5G is entering the world of budget mobiles in Australia, as Vivo offers up a model made to be inexpensive while still offering features. You won’t be getting a dumb phone with 5G access it seems, as Vivo is basically bringing a big screen and 5G with the new model.

And that new model is the $299 Vivo Y55 5G, a 6.58 inch phone sporting a surprising Full HD+ 2408×1080 screen, surprising because budget phones typically go with HD only screens and not the Full HD model. There’s no AMOLED here, only an LCD screen, but at least the resolution is decent, and so are many of the other features.

For instance, Vivo is including Bluetooth, WiFi, and 5G in Y55 5G — handy, it’s in the name — plus Near-Field Communication, also known as NFC, the technology Google uses for Google Pay.

There’s also a 5000mAh battery, and a 50 megapixel camera on the back accompanied by two 2 megapixel cameras, likely for the soft backgrounds in portrait photos and macros, while an 8 megapixel camera sits up front.

Vivo is also playing with the hardware on the inside, running with a Mediatek Dimensity 700 chip, similar to what’s in the Oppo A94 5G (that was the 800), with 128GB storage and 4GB RAM, plus a feature that can switch 1GB of storage into an extra gigabyte of RAM automatically, something Vivo says happens automatically.

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The Vivo Y55 5G will be a prepaid model for Telstra, fetching $299 but locked to Telstra only, accompanied by a model that skips the 5G and full HD screen, but offers something fairly similar.

At $100 less on Telstra prepaid, the $199 Vivo Y21s (above) appears quite close, offering a 6.51 inch HD+ screen (that’s more what we expect), NFC for Google Pay, a 5000mAh battery, plus a 50 megapixel camera at the back, 128GB storage, and that 4GB plus 1GB memory trick from the Y55. There’s also no 5G on the Y21s, a pretty

Both are prepaid models only for Telstra and Vivo, though it’s worth noting only one Telstra prepaid plan can actually get 5G in Australia: the $60 one.

That means if you end up grabbing the Y55 5G expecting 5G on every Telstra plan, you will be mistaken, with Telstra leaving that high-speed capability on its $60 28 day plan alone.

Both are heading to stores this week, though, so if you’re game to spend less money than what you typically find in the mid-range or budget areas, and don’t mind being locked to prepaid on Telstra, you’ll find these there.

Vivo Y55 5G
Leigh :) Stark

One of Australia's well regarded technology journalists working out of Sydney, Leigh Stark has been writing about technology for over 15 years, covering phones, computers, cameras, headphones, speakers, and more. Stylising his middle initial with an emoticon, he aims to present tech in a way that makes it easy for everyone. While he founded Pickr in 2016, Stark's work can be seen in other publications including The Australian Financial Review, Popular Science, and many more. His award-winning podcast "The Wrap" is syndicated on Southern Cross Austereo's LiSTNR network weekly, while he can be heard on radio via ABC Brisbane and ABC Canberra, and seen on TV's Nine. Check out Leigh Stark's most recent media appearances.

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