New battleground for fast internet

A big caveat is that the performance of 5G home internet depends greatly on the coverage you get inside your house, Hanlon says.

“5G wireless signals work best when you’re close to a mobile tower. They can be impeded by obstacles, such as brick walls,” Hanlon says. “Even if your telco has marked your home to be eligible for 5G wireless, you still need to set it up and see if it works for you”.

Comparing 5G to NBN can be a bit like weighing up apples and oranges because the speeds are measured differently.

NBN plans must advertise “typical evening speeds” but wireless is different.

Telstra advertises 5G speeds of 50-600Mbps with an average of 378Mbps, Optus advertises an “average of 210Mbps during peak periods”, and Vodafone just advertises “max 5G speeds” and says it is “capable of delivering download speeds over 400Mbps”.

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Hanlon says not only is it difficult to compare speeds between the different 5G data providers, it is hard to compare speeds between neighbours on the same network.

“Ultimately, customers need to get a 5G modem at home to see for themselves – at least until the technology matures,” he says.

To get around that problem, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are all offering the first month free and no lock-in contract, so households can cancel within a month at no cost.

Vodafone is also offering 5G broadband through its sub-brands TPG, iiNet, Westnet and Internode.

In reality, if we all switched to 5G tomorrow the network would not cope.

NBNCo. says its network rates high among nations around the world in Netflix’s ISP Speed Index and carries more than 90 per cent of the nation’s data.

Mobile networks just are not “optimised for the capacity demands of a large proportion of Australian homes and business,” it says.

So, there will be a mix of technologies for now.

However, households – especially the ones who can’t get reliable NBN where they live – now have more choice.

Basic internet plans

Basic NBN … … 12-25Mbps … … $50-$80/month
4G Wireless … … Up to 20Mbps … … $55-$70/month
Standard NBN … … 50Mbps … … $55-$95/month
Fast NBN … … 100Mbps … … $70-$110/month
SuperFast NBN … … 250Mbps … … $90-$140/month
5G Wireless … … 50-600Mbps … … $80-$100/month

  • Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.

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