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 five or so 5G-ready handsets available to customers, and not all of them can be purchased outright or are available on all carriers, 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
One of the most affordable options in Australia thus far also happens to be the best in terms of overall value as well. Identical to the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom (opens in new tab) (read more in our glowing review (opens in new tab)) 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 (opens in new tab)
You can buy the Oppo Reno 5G from for $1,499 if you'd like to pair it with a 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
2) Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G
Considering how expensive the Galaxy S10 5G is (below), it's quite impressive that Samsung managed to put out its Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G for only $1,999. This is a beast of a phablet, as you can read about in our glowing review (opens in new tab), and offers the apex features of the smartphone world aongside future-ready connectivity.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G 512GB | 150GB data | $182.79 pm (opens in new tab)
With Telstra's most premium plan, you'll be getting 150GB of data to use as well as data-free sports streaming of the AFL, AFLW, NRL, Netball and Hyundai A-League. Most importantly, you'll get instant access to Telstra's 5G network, and continued access once the June 30, 2020 date rolls around and the trial finishes. Total cost over 24 months is $4,386.96
3) Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Initially, you could only get your hands on Samsung's first 5G handset by way of contract, but now it's available outright as well. The 256GB model is $1,849 outright, but for some baffling reason the 512GB version is $200 more than the Note 10 Plus 5G at $2,199. Nevertheless, it can already be found on sale (probably for this reason) and there are some promising plans out there too.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G 256GB | 100GB data | $146 pm (opens in new tab)
For a plan that straddles the two extremes of the above offers, the Galaxy S10 256GB handset with Telstra's 100GB plan is still plenty premium, but slightly more affordable than the Note 10 Plus 5G equivalent. As above, this includes continued 5G coverage once the June 30, 2020 date rolls around too. Total cost over 24 months is $3,504
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.
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 two 5G-capable handsets – the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G – both of which are available in Australia both outright and with carrier plans.
Telstra 5G plans
Right now, Telstra has a bit of an advantage in the world of 5G plans, launching ahead of Optus and to much greater fanfare. 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 (opens in new tab).
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.
Towards the end of 2019, Optus introduced new 5G-ready phones to its host of stocked handsets, and made its 5G network available to customers with compatible handsets.
It is still very much in its infancy – more-so than Telstra's at this stage – but 165 sites are said to have been built and Optus claims that it will reach the 1,000 mark by March 2020 (it previously aimed for 1,200 but has since adjusted that benchmark).
As for coverage, you can check out the finer details on the official Optus 5G page (opens in new tab), but despite having many regions in a number of cities live, the coverage map shows a rather patchy signal.
We expect the rollout will follow a similar pattern to Telstra's current coverage, with the select few areas that currently have the new network slowly expanding over the following months.