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5G in Australia is cheaper than ever: Is it worth signing up to?

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Demand for 5G is ramping up as download speeds climb, prices fall and more handsets are launched to support the next-generation phone network.

There's been a lot of movement in the 5G space lately – its speed and adoption are quickly outstripping 3G and 4G technologies.

Does that mean 5G plans now make sense? Here's what Finder's analysis shows.

There were close to 2 million 5G mobile services in use in Australia at the end of December 2020, according to technology analyst firm Telsyte's Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2021.

That's nearly a five-fold increase from six months prior. It's largely due to better availability of 5G handsets such as the iPhone 12 series, Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G.

It's a big enough number to make you question your current mobile phone and plan. Especially since the study predicts more than 60% of smartphones sold this year will support 5G and smaller providers (also known as MVNOs) will help drive uptake by offering 5G mobile plans.

So, how can I get a 5G mobile plan in Australia for cheaper?

The big three telco giants – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – have the lion's share of the 5G market.

However, the cheapest plans we've seen are from smaller providers using Optus's network. Optus wholesales its 5G network to other providers, a step Telstra and Vodafone haven't yet taken.

SpinTel was quick to jump on the opportunity last year. As of 6 May, Aussie Broadband too has joined the ranks to disrupt the 5G space with deals that won't cost you a proverbial arm and a leg.

The cheapest entry-point plan comes from Aussie Broadband, with 10GB for $39 a month. But for an extra dollar a month, you can get double the data from SpinTel (20GB for $40).

Both these options will cost you less than Optus's cheapest 5G plan ($45 a month). However, Aussie Broadband comes with only half the data.

To even the playing field, SpinTel, Aussie Broadband and Optus all offer 80GB plans, so we'll have a look at how these stack up below.

DataPrice per month$ per GB
SpinTel80GB$40 ($50 after the first 6 months)$0.50/GB ($0.63/GB after 6 months)
Aussie Broadband80GB$69$0.86/GB
Optus80GB$55$0.69/GB

As you can see from the table, SpinTel ends up offering better value than Optus even after its six-month discount runs out.

Keep in mind that we've focused on the 80GB plan here since it's the only data amount that all three providers offer. Aussie Broadband, SpinTel and Optus have other 5G mobile plans up for grabs, as do Telstra and Vodafone.

Finder's own Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows that one in five customers with either of the big three telcos don't believe they're getting their money's worth.

"Smaller companies have generally been price leaders for mobile plans in Australia, and we're seeing the same pattern with 5G," said Finder's mobile expert and editor at large Angus Kidman.

Fun fact: 5G speeds in Australia are now double the global average. Optus 5G has now surpassed Telstra in the first few months of 2021 with median download speeds of about 310Mbps. Telstra's 5G was a close second at 295Mbps.

What if I don't want to spend big on a 5G-capable phone?

We hear you. You can skip the likes of iPhone, Google Pixel and Samsung for cheaper 5G-capable devices that have recently launched to the market.

The OPPO A54 5G costs a sweet $399 and may easily qualify as Australia's cheapest 5G smartphone right now.

Following in its stride is realme 7 5G for $469 on the company's website. Its usual RRP is $499.

How much will a 5G phone and plan in Australia cost me?

Optus is the only Oppo plan provider. You'd pay $78.24 a month over 12 months for the Oppo A54 and Optus's 20GB plan. This adds up to $938.88 over the year for the phone and plan.

Otherwise, you can choose to buy the Oppo phone outright for $399 and pair it with SpinTel's 20GB SIM only plan (which is $5 a month cheaper than Optus). This route will cost you $879 over a year and save you just under $60.

How do I know if I have 5G in my area?

The 5G rollout in Australia is steadily gaining momentum. Visit the three big telcos' websites and look up or enter your address to see if you have 5G access.

Keen on 5G after reading the above? There's more to come

5G mobile plans aren't the only ones making waves. Your broadband connection is about to get a whole lot faster with Telstra and TPG.

What's Telstra up to?

As we reported last year, Telstra first launched its 5G Home Internet to select customers. It's potentially a cheaper and faster alternative to the NBN.

With its 5G network on track to reach 75% of Aussies by the end of June, Telstra is going to expand its Home Internet service with double the data limit.

You'll be able to get a whopping 1,000GB for $85.

For now it's an invitation-only service but the provider suggests to watch the space as this will inevitably change.

TPG isn't holding back either

TPG will be launching its own 5G fixed wireless product to offer its customers faster speeds and a more "successful NBN" according to CEO Iñaki Berroeta.

It will enable more Aussies living in regional or rural areas to access 5G if they're getting the coverage.

Compare 5G mobile plans below

1 - 6 of 33
Name Product Data Price Apply Price
amaysim 32GB Plan
PrepaidNo lock-in contract
amaysim 32GB Plan
Prepaid
Finder Award
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Optus 5G/4G network
32GB
$30
per 28 day recharge
Go to site
View details
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
32GB
Data
$30
per 28 days expiry
Belong 40GB
PostpaidNo lock-in contract
60GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 40GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
Belong 40GB
Postpaid
60GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 40GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
Finder Award
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Wholesale Telstra 5G/4G network
60GB
No excess data charges
$35
per month
Go to site
View details
  • 60GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 40GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
60 GB
Data
$35
per month
Vodafone Large SIM-only Plan
PostpaidNo lock-in contract
$60/mth when you stay connected with the plan, instead of $65/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 14.12.23
Vodafone Large SIM-only Plan
Postpaid
$60/mth when you stay connected with the plan, instead of $65/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 14.12.23
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Vodafone 5G/4G network
300GB
No excess data charges
$60
per month
Go to site
View details
  • $60/mth when you stay connected with the plan, instead of $65/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 14.12.23
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
300GB
Data
$60
per month
Belong 100GB
PostpaidNo lock-in contract
120GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 100GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
Belong 100GB
Postpaid
120GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 100GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
Finder Award
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Wholesale Telstra 5G/4G network
120GB
No excess data charges
$45
per month
Go to site
View details
  • 120GB/mth for the first 12 months, then 100GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 18.1.24
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
120 GB
Data
$45
per month
Tangerine 32GB 5G SIM
PostpaidNo lock-in contract
64GB/mth for the first 3 months, then 32GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 31.1.24
Tangerine 32GB 5G SIM
Postpaid
64GB/mth for the first 3 months, then 32GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 31.1.24
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Wholesale Telstra 5G network
64GB
$33
per month
Go to site
View details
  • 64GB/mth for the first 3 months, then 32GB/mth. Eligibility criteria, T&Cs apply. Ends 31.1.24
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
64 GB
Data
$33
per month
Belong 25GB
PostpaidNo lock-in contract
Belong 25GB
Postpaid
  • Unlimited national calls & texts
  • Wholesale Telstra 5G/4G network
25GB
No excess data charges
$29
per month
Go to site
View details
  • Unlimited standard national calls & texts
25GB
Data
$29
per month
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Whether you're looking for a 5G plan or just a regular SIM only plan, you can compare over 300 deals in one place with our Mobile Plan Finder™.

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