A 5G mobile phone network expected to be more than 800 times faster than Australia’s current 4G mobile offering is being developed by some of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
Movies will download in seconds rather than minutes and some predict 3D video conversations will be possible.
Vodafone claimed during testing it downloaded an entire season of Game of Thrones in about 10 seconds.
As well the dramatic increase in speed, the 5G network will be built to handle millions more device connections to cater for increased demand from new wireless technology in watches and household whitegoods, as well as phones and tablets.
While Telstra, Optus and Vodafone increase their 5G network exploration and testing, the three telcos are preparing to switch off the old 2G network for good.
Telstra’s 2G network will be turned off on Thursday, December 1. Optus will turn off its network in April 2017 and Vodafone will follow in September 2017.
We give you the answers to all the key questions about the upcoming 5G network, and what to do if you’re still on 2G.
How much faster is 5G than 4G?
The 5G network will be significantly faster than the 4G network. Various estimates predict the difference could be anywhere from about 100 to 1000 times faster.
Telstra’s average 4G internet speed is 24.37 Mbps (megabits per second). During Telstra’s 5G internet speed trial the telco claimed it achieved speeds of 20,000 Mbps.
The record for the fastest internet speed on a 4G device was 1900 Mbps, achieved by Finnish tech firm Elisa.
When will 5G be available?
During 5G testing in September, Telstra representatives said it could be expected in Australia by 2020.
Some overseas telcos want to have the technology commercially available sooner.
Verizon in the United States and South Korea’s SK Telecom are aiming for a 2017 commercial rollout in some capacity.
Do I need to replace my phone for 5G?
Yes, you will need to get a new phone in order to use the 5G network.
Popular phones like the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy s7 and various HTC handsets are not 5G compatible.
Will 5G cost more?
None of the telcos have commented on how the cost of 5G will compare to the cost of 4G.
But in recent times telcos have been lowering the price of each bit of downloaded data.
Essentially, that means in most plans you’ve been getting more data for a lower cost, or about the same as what you paid in the past.
According to a report by the University of Bridgeport, telcos would again have to drop the price of each bit of data for costs to stay comparable from 4G to 5G.
Which telcos will have 5G? Do I need to go to Telstra?
All the big telcos will offer 5G.
Optus, Vodafone and Telstra are already exploring 5G technology and all have publicly stated their desire to offer it to customers as soon as possible.
What about when 2G is switched off?
- Telstra customers using a 2G SIM card in a 3G/4G device can receive a new SIM for free.
- Other 2G SIM card users (on 3G or 4G compatible devices) should contact their telcos to find out if they can get a 3G/4G SIM card.
- Upgrade 2G handsets to a 3G/4G compatible device (check if your 2G device is 3G/4G compatible here).
- Update mobile network settings if both SIM and device are already 3G or 4G compatible.