Australia could see cheaper 5G plans from smaller telcos with Telstra’s latest move

Young woman using smartphone in Sydney
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Telstra is opening up its 5G network to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in July, which could signal that cheaper 5G mobile plans are on the way from smaller providers.

MVNOs are smaller telcos that don’t own the network they use to provide mobile services to their customers. Instead, they resell access to the network, and often at a much lower price than the three major telcos can offer.

Some of Telstra’s MVNOs include Belong, Boost Mobile and Woolworths Mobile. While these telcos haven’t announced any 5G plans as of yet, Telstra says its resellers will have access to download speeds of up to 250Mbps, which is as fast as an NBN 250 plan.

The Big T says that its wholesale 5G service will reach more than 75% of Australians, which is the same level of coverage currently offered to Telstra’s direct customers. Head to Telstra’s website to check if its 5G coverage is available in your area.

Are cheaper 5G plans on the way?

The list of telcos which include 5G coverage in their mobile plans is very small – it’s only offered by Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Aussie Broadband and Spintel at present.

Aussie Broadband and Spintel are both MVNOs which resell access to Optus’ 5G network, so the entrance of more MVNOs under the Telstra 5G network has the potential to lead to more competition in the market, and bring in cheaper 5G mobile plans.

Of what’s currently available, we’d argue that Spintel has the best-value 5G SIM-only plan, as it offers 80GB of data that you’ll initially only pay AU$40 a month for. It’s a promo price that only holds for your first six months, after which it increases to AU$50 a month ongoing.

To put that plan into context, the cheapest plan offered by a major telco is Vodafone’s AU$40 Lite plan that gets you 40GB a month. Not only is that half the data, but Vodafone also has the smallest 5G network of the big three, so it’s available in less areas.

With Telstra’s wider-reaching 5G network opening up to the MVNO market, it could get Aussie mobile users access to 5G coverage in more areas. As for price, we’ll have to wait and see how Telstra’s MVNOs compete with the Optus players.

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.