5G in Australia: the best phones and networks ranked

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With the next generation of mobile data connectivity already beginning to spread across Australia, it's time we start to look at how to get the most out of 5G.

You can check out our detailed look into what 5G actually is, but the short and sweet of it is that it's an improvement on 4G connectivity that allows for significantly faster (up to 1GBps) download and upload speeds while using a mobile internet connection.

While still in its infancy, there's already a few 5G handsets and contract plans available to compare, so we've done the legwork and checked them all out thoroughly – rounding them up in one neat place.

Best 5G handsets

In Australia, there's currently only three 5G-ready handsets available to customers, and only two of them can be purchased outright, so that doesn't leave us with too much in the way of choice just yet.

Regardless, here are the best 5G phones you can buy right now in Australia.

1) Oppo Reno 5G

The most affordable option in Australia thus far also happens to be the best in terms of overall value as well. Identical to the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom (read more in our glowing review) but with the added addition of 5G, this sleek powerhouse from the Chinese phone giant is definitely the best way to get in on the 5G action early. 

Oppo Reno 5G | 60GB data | $113 pm

You can buy the Oppo Reno 5G from for $1,499 if you'd like to pair it with one of Telstra's SIM-only plans (check them out below), or you could score it with Telstra's Medium (60GB data) plan for only $113 per month and end up saving $227 on the handset over two years. Total cost over 24 months is $2,712
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2) Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

You can only get your hands on Samsung's first 5G handset by way of contract at this point, which isn't too bad considering there's only one network that currently supports 5G whatsoever, but it means we don't technically have an outright price on it yet. Nevertheless, if it's one of the major brands you're after, this is the 5G handset to go for.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G 512GB | 100GB data | $173 pm

If you're going to go with the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S10 5G handset, you may as well opt for the larger 512GB model for an extra $9 per month and the Large (100GB data) Telstra plan. This includes continued 4G coverage once the June 30, 2020 date rolls around too. Total cost over 24 months is $4,152
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3) LG V50 ThinQ

The LG V50 ThinQ 5G certainly offers up some interesting futuristic features. Dubbed a "dual-screen" phone, the V50 ThinQ actually comes with a case that doubles as a second screen. While this isn't necessarily as sleek as a folding phone and does make the whole thing a tad bulky, combining dual screens with 5G is certainly a glimpse at what the future of smartphones holds, and isn't bad for $1,729 outright.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G | 60GB data | $132 pm

While not as good value as the Oppo handset and not quite as premium as Samsung's offering, this is the best way to get yourself access to a dual-screen phone without having to shell out the full cost up front. Total cost over 24 months is $3,168
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5G on iPhone

Not one to rush things in terms of the forefront of phone tech, Apple has chosen a more cautious approach to adding 5G to its popular iPhone range. 

At the moment, there's no Apple iPhone capable of supporting 5G, and there's no official word on when we'll see one either, although rumours have recently pointed to either 2020 or 2021.

The handsets that are already out and supporting 5G all boast the same chipset – Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855. Apple was engaged in a long-running legal battle with Qualcomm, but in order to maintain its 5G targets, settled the dispute.

However, since then, there have been rumours that Apple will buy up Intel's smartphone modem division in order to bring the development of 5G tech in-house, adding to the growing list of iPhone components that the Cupertino giant aim to produce themselves.

5G devices from Samsung

On the other hand, Samsung has already released its first 5G-capable handset – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Not only that, but the South Korean tech giant is expected to announce the next iteration of its Note series on August 8, rumoured to contain two 5G-capable handsets – the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Telstra 5G plans

Right now, Telstra has a pretty clear advantage in the world of 5G plans – it's the only network that actually offers the next-gen connectivity. In fact, right now, you can't sign up to a new Telstra plan without getting some form of 5G connectivity.

Currently, Telstra is offering four different plans – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. The Small and Medium plans offer 15GB and 60GB of data respectively and both come with access to the 5G network on a trial basis (which means you'll need to start paying for it if you want to use it after June 30, 2020).

The Large and Extra Large plans offer 100GB and 150GB of data respectively and include full 5G network access, even after June 30, 2020.

Telstra 5G coverage

As Telstra's 5G trial period is live, coverage of the future-ready network continues to grow. At present, there are only 10 cities and regions that have 5G network coverage – Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Gold Coast, Toowoomba.

It's worth noting that, while these cities do have some degree of 5G coverage, it doesn't account for the entire region. For an up-to-date map of where you can and can't get coverage, check out Telstra's dedicated page.

In our own testing, we found that download speeds on the fringes of these 5G coverage zones were actually considerably worse off when compared to the 4G signal attained just outside of the zones.

Optus 5G

As you may have noticed by now, Optus currently doesn't have an active 5G network. However, it doesn't mean the telco is completely out of the game.

Optus claims it is "beginning its 5G rollout right now" on its official 5G page, but unfortunately this doesn't include any concrete timeframes or roadmaps for when it will be available to consumers.

Instead, the most solid information Optus is currently providing is that it's so far built 100 sites and has "made a commitment to build 1,200 by March 2020".

We expect the rollout will follow a similar pattern to Telstra's current coverage, with a select few areas receiving the new network in small patches and slowly expanding it over the following months.