Best 5G internet plans in Australia: Telstra, Optus, TPG and more compared

5 broadband
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Now that Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have all established their 5G networks in Australia, this (potentially) superfast, next-gen mobile connectivity is theoretically capable of replacing home broadband in some households.

The main caveat to this is that you'll need to have 5G home broadband coverage in your area. This coverage still isn't on the same level as 5G mobile coverage, so while you may have strong signal and fast downloads on your phone, that doesn't mean you'll get the same service for your home. 

If you can get it though, and you have a strong signal, it means you'll able to stream shows and movies at higher resolutions (in time for the rise of 8K), as well as perform downloads and uploads in much shorter windows of time. 

Best 5G home broadband plans in Australia May 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Best cheap 5G home internet plan

Spintel | 5G home internet | No lock-in contract | AU$53p/m

Spintel | 5G home internet | No lock-in contract | AU$53p/m (for 3 months, AU$63p/m ongoing)

Spintel's 5G home broadband is attractive for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's firmly in 'affordable' camp and secondly, Spintel broadband generally receives positive reviews from users. 

There are a few numbers to crunch however, which you need to be aware of. Firstly, you get a reduced cost for the first 3 months of the service (some other providers will offer the first month for free instead). There is also a AU$4p/m fee required for the Nokia FastSmile 5G modem (included in the figures above and below), along with an initial AU$25 upfront payment for postage. 

While that may sound like a lot, in reality we think it still represents good value, especially considering Spintel does quote the full 50Mbps typical evening speeds on its entry-level 5G broadband plan. 100Mbps (87Mbps evening speed) and uncapped (240Mbps evening speed) plans are also available at an extra cost. 

Total minimum cost: AU$74 | Total cost for first year: AU$703 | Ongoing yearly cost: AU$756 

Best premium 5G home internet plan

Optus5G home internetUnlimited dataNo lock-in contractAU$79p/m

Optus | 5G home internet | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$79p/m (first 6 months, AU$99 ongoing, plus month free)

Optus has an attractive deal on its top of the range Plus Entertainer Superfast 5G home broadband plan for EOFY live right now. With this plan, you get uncapped download speeds – other plans can cap them at up to 100Mbps – and a standard Netflix subscription included in the monthly price. Optus quotes 210Mbps typical evening speeds, and says you should get 50Mbps as a minimum as part of its satisfaction guarantee. 

Our only main gripe with Optus' internet plans is that you're charged on a monthly basis for the modem, unless you remain connected for 36 months, in which case it's free. If you cancel before 36 months is up, you'll be charged AU$13 for each unused month. 

Total minimum cost: AU$468 (incl. modem after one month) | Total cost for first year: AU$969 | Ongoing yearly cost: AU$1,188

5G Home Broadband FAQ

What is 5G home internet?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone technology. The first generation was analogue mobiles, followed by digital, then 3G and 4G made mobile data better and faster. 5G amps up the speed, but it’s also about boosting capacity and reliability to handle the many millions of different devices that want to get online, including the devices we don’t have yet: augmented reality glasses, smart self-driving cars, time-travelling killer robots from the future... you get the idea.

Will 5G replace the NBN?

While 5G won’t be replacing the NBN as a whole (or other fixed line internet services) as a whole – at least not any time soon – it has reached the point where it can be a viable alternative to an NBN connection for some people. 5G home internet has two main advantages over fixed-line NBN (convenience and cost) but also comes with some caveats. Most NBN plans have unlimited data, for example, whereas some providers are capping their 5G home internet plans, and 5G internet is more prone to interference from external factors, including weather conditions and network load during peak periods.

But we wouldn’t be surprised if 5G (or perhaps more realistically, 6G or 7G) eventually became the de facto connection for both your mobile phone and home internet. While we’re some way off that eventuality, there are still plenty of situations where having a 5G home connection makes more sense than going with the NBN.

Which companies have 5G home internet plans?

The three major telcos of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have switched on their 5G networks, and each of them now offers 5G home internet. That doesn’t mean anybody can sign up to 5G internet though, as you can only connect in areas where 5G service is available.

5G coverage continues to rollout, and while Telstra is comfortably in the lead, Optus and Vodafone are making progress on this front too, as their infrastructure continues to catch up with Telstra’s head-start. Aside from the major players, mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) which resell access to the top telcos have also entered the 5G space, including iiNet, Internode and TPG (which all use the Vodafone network) and Spintel (which uses Optus).

Before signing up to a 5G home internet plan, it’s essential to use the provider's address checker and/or check each carrier’s 5G coverage map to see if your area and its surrounds are currently served by 5G signal. We’ve linked to each telco’s 5G coverage maps below:

Telstra 5G coverage
Optus 5G coverage
Vodafone 5G coverage

When will 5G home internet be available?

5G home internet is here, with Telstra, Optus and TPG all now offering a 5G home internet option, along with a select few MVNOs. The major caveat, though, is that it’s only available in select areas.

As for availability, 5G coverage is available in all capital cities in Australia, though Darwin is only served by Vodafone’s 5G network at present. A number of regional centres across the country also have access to 5G coverage.

The initial rollout of 5G has been based on higher frequency bands, that deliver lots of capacity over short distances, which isn’t much use in rural areas where there are fewer people spread over much larger areas.

How fast is 5G? Is it faster than regular broadband?

5G can be quite a lot faster than many broadband connections, though you should take any headline figures with a grain of salt. Quoted 5G speeds are theoretical, as you’ll know if you’ve ever struggled to do anything on a one-bar 4G connection. According to the small Australian telco Mate, which uses parts of the Telstra network, 4G is capable of download speeds up to 180Mbps. In reality, though, you’re more likely to achieve around 20Mbps. 

For 5G, speeds are expected to be between 100Mbps and 1Gbps, according to WhistleOut. On Telstra’s 5G home internet sign up page, the telco reports download speeds between 50Mbps and 600Mbps. However, you should only expect to reach top speeds under ideal conditions, and that qualifier is important because mobile data speeds are affected by signal strength, interference and congestion.

But it’s not just about straight line speed. Latency matters too. Latency is the gap between asking for something and getting it: a song, perhaps, or throwing a grenade at someone in a game. The longer the lag the worse the performance. On 4G, latency hovers somewhere between 50 to 100 milliseconds; on 5G that can drop into single digits.

We have a dedicated guide on how to do an NBN speed test, which you can also use to test your 4G or 5G speed.

Best 5G mobile broadband plans

Looking for something more portable to take out into the big wide world? Well, there’s always the option of mobile 5G broadband. If you’ve already got a phone that’s capable of 5G, it’s generally more cost-effective to get a 5G-capable plan and tether to your mobile device, but if not there are still some options for you.

Best cheap mobile broadband plan

OptusMobile broadband20GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$20p/m

Optus | Mobile broadband | 20GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$20p/m

Optus has just the single mobile broadband plan, offering 20GB of data in return for AU$20 per month. With it, you get full access to the Optus 5G network, and if you happen to exceed your 20GB limit, rather than charging you extra before the month is up, Optus will instead slow your speed to 1.5Mbps. Being an Optus customer also means you get access to its SubHub subscription feature, allowing you to bundle subscriptions together and save money in the process. If you already have a mobile broadband modem, simply insert the SIM card and you're away. If you do need one, however, Optus has. Netgear Nighthawk M6 modem available to pay for on a 12, 24 or 36 month, interest-free basis. Prices start at AU$17.76p/m on a 36 month contract. 

Total minimum cost: AU$25 (excluding modem) | Total cost for first year: AU$300

Best big-data mobile broadband plan

TangerineMobile broadband100GB dataNo lock-in contractAU$29.90p/m

Tangerine | Mobile broadband | 100GB data | No lock-in contract | AU$29.90p/m (for 6 months, then AU$34.90p/m)

If you’re more data-hungry, consider this 5G-capable mobile broadband plan from Tangerine. It gives you 100GB a month to burn through for just AU$34.90 each billing (after an initial AU$5p/m discount for the first 6 months). 

Tangerine uses parts of Telstra’s 5G and 4G networks, though it says download speeds are capped at 100Mbps for both – that still makes it as fast as some of the best NBN 100 plans. You can find Tangerine mobile broadband plans with 200GB and 400GB of data, and these cap speeds at 250Mbps, but you do need to pay a lot more each month.

If you don't already own a mobile broadband router, then Tangerine is happy to sell you one for the rather steep cost of AU$399. 

Total minimum cost: AU$29.90 | Total cost for first year: AU$388.80

Jasmine Gearie
Ecommerce Editor

Jasmine Gearie is an Ecommerce Editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.

With contributions from