The long-awaited arrival of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks is finally here, with Telstra officially launching their first 5G plans in stores last month. With 5G networks already in growing operation around the globe, Aussies are finally able to revel at the high speeds of 5G – but only in selected cities for now.

Ten cities nationwide have benefitted from the initial Telstra 5G rollout, which promises gigabit download speeds and the lowest latency ever seen on a mobile network. The super-fast network speeds have been touted to transform the way that we communicate globally, paving the way for high level technologies to develop further and be implemented in real-life scenarios.

5G networks benefit business

Everyone loves fast, accessible internet, but putting aside the hype; what’s the arrival of 5G going to do for businesses?

For a geographically expansive country like Australia, 5G infrastructure has the ability to transform the way that Australians do business. At Telstra’s launch even in their flagship Sydney store, devices were clocking download speeds of 1.2Gbps. That’s more than 600% faster than the current 4G network.

The new technology will enable better remote working, rural connectivity and conferencing, as well as greatly improving automation, virtual reality and augmented reality prospects. Faster connections will mean increased productivity and essentially accelerate digital transformations across a variety of businesses and industries.

IoT applications will also greatly benefit from the increased speed that 5G connectivity offers. Many experts are pitching 5G technology as landmark in enabling the advancement of technologies that require zero latency, such as telemedical applications.

Samsung, LG and OPPO all release 5G devices

If the ten city only initial rollout wasn’t limiting enough for those of us who are keen to be early adopters of the newest mobile tech, there are currently only three devices on the market that support the 5G network: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Oppo Reno 5G and the LG V50 ThinQ 5G.

In addition to that, 5G isn’t coming cheap either. Telstra’s bottom rung plan for the Galaxy S10 comes in at $141 per month for only 3GB of data. A data allowance that small isn’t all that enticing considering that 5G is offering minimum speeds of 100Mbps, which is around the fastest speed that is currently offered on the 4G network. However, it’s obvious that Telstra are pushing for customers to choose their higher data allowance plans, offering their 160GB and Unlimited included data plans at $150 and $199 per month respectively.

For consumers wanting the tech but conscious of cost, the Oppo Reno 5G may be the more attractive device on offer.

The smallest Oppo plan comes in at $42 cheaper per month than the Samsung S10 5G. Interestingly, preliminary tests have shown that the Oppo device actually outperformed the new Galaxy S10 on download speeds. The LG V50 ThinQ, with its unique detachable dual screen configuration, has come out as the best mid-range option. The smallest plan including 3GB of data is priced at $114 per month.

5G iPhone: not until 2020

For devout iOS users, there’s been no word from Apple on the release of a 5G optimised iPhone yet. Rumours suggest it could be planned for a 2020 keynote announcement. For those who live and work in areas where 5G coverage hasn’t been activated yet, the wait won’t be an issue. It will also give other telco’s time to catch up and rollout their 5G networks, offering more competition and better prices for consumers.

Telstra winning the 5G race

5G infrastructure has been in construction in Australia since 2016. Telstra say that their initial coverage services 4 million Australians, with plans to continue expansion in the coming year. Like the 3G and 4G network launches, Telstra have once again crossed the finish line first, beating out other Australian telcos to launch the service.

Optus are rolling out their 5G Home Broadband plans from mid 2019 in limited areas. 5G in the home may be a viable alternative for some where the NBN isn’t yet available or hasn’t lived up to promised speeds, or even for those who do have NBN but want a supercharged connection. Telstra’s current typical evening speed is advertised as being 92.27Mbps, which is slower than the promised minimum speeds on the 5G network.

Deloitte’s 2019 Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions report estimates that globally only one in seven mobile connections will be 5G by 2025, which would rank 5G as the second least used mobile connection, only coming ahead of 2G by a small margin.

Telstra 5G Coverage May 2019 | Forsythes Technology

Telstra’s 5G coverage in Sydney as of 28 May excludes the entire CBD, but includes a large part of Sydney Harbour.

Globally, this prediction means that we have a long way to go before 5G network use takes precedence over other existing networks. Telstra’s 5G coverage is still very patchy, and widespread availability probably won’t become reality for a few years. In some countries where there is limited telecommunications infrastructure, 3G is still the most used network.

If your business is ready to start transitioning to 5G, Forsythes Technology can help. As Telstra Partners, we can effectively manage your mobile fleet and services leaving you with  time and cost savings. Get in contact with our expert mobiles team on 1300 766 661.

Featured image: Samsung

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