After years of anticipation, Telstra customers can finally connect to the new 5G network from Tuesday, May 28.
Telstra's 5G coverage is currently limited to selected areas in some metropolitan areas around Australia.
The first 5G compatible mobile phone will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and the first 5G router will be the HTC 5G Hub. Both launched on May 28, exclusively to Telstra.
Telstra have claimed their 5G network has been live and active for months but no consumer devices have been available until now.
5G speeds will cost more for many Telstra customers
Once Telstra's 5G network is more widespread in mid-2020, most customers face paying an extra $15 per month for full 5G speeds if they're not on Telstra's top tier plans.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the extra charge won't be introduced until the 5G network has finished a 12-month "trial period", starting in late June.
"Customers on our top two plans will have 5G connectivity included in their plan at no extra charge, and customers on our other plans will have the option of adding 5G connectivity for $15 a month," his statement said.
Telstra's current top-tier plans are $119 & $199 a month, not including phone repayments. However, Telstra's plans may change in late June, when a scheduled plan refresh is expected.
Customers on a plan including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G will not be charged any extra for the life of their contract.
5G network coverage tiny compared to existing 4G & 3G networks
Despite the hype, 5G network coverage pales compared to existing 4G and 3G mobile data networks.
Telstra's 5G network map reveals two key limitations, (1) the map shows the areas they expect the Telstra 5G network to cover by June 30, and, (2) the coverage map indicates outdoors coverage only.
Expected Telstra 5G network in Sydney
Current 5G maps don't reflect the actual size of the network. Instead, the coverage maps show the areas Telstra hopes to cover by the end of June.
Telstra advises, "our current actual 5G footprint is smaller and sits within these anticipated coverage areas".
See whether your area will be covered by Telstra's 5G network here.
What you'll need to connect to Telstra's 5G
The pre-requisites for using Telstra's 5G network are:
- 5G Coverage
- A 5G capable device
- An eligible Telstra plan (any Telstra plan with a data allowance)
Most customers will likely meet the first two requirements in the next 1-3 years when their area receives coverage and the 5G mobile devices become widespread.
There is less clarity surrounding the eligible plan requirement. We expect to know more details when Telstra reveals new plans towards the end of June.