5G vs 4G – which mobile plan is best for me?

May 12th, 2021 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Heidi Kraak

There’s been a lot of hype around the rollout of the 5G network. With words like ‘revolutionary’ being flung around and big predictions being made about its future capabilities, it can be hard to cut through the fanfare and distil the genuine benefits of the 5G network for consumers today.

This leaves us with a question – is it worth investing in 5G mobile plans, or should you stick with 4G for now?

Here at Aussie Broadband, one of our values is ‘No Bullsh*t’ – this means we’re honest about the products and services we provide. We won’t try to sell you something you don’t need. That’s why we’ve designed this article to help you make an informed decision about which mobile plan is best for you.

What is 5G?

5G refers to the fifth generation of mobile networks. Basically, it’s designed to deliver higher data speeds more reliably than past networks, such as 3G or 4G.

Big predictions about the future capacity of the technology aside, the main differences between the 4G and 5G networks at this point in time are faster speeds, lower latency and improved reliability. Users could also expect lower congestion on the 5G network, as it can support more users simultaneously than the 4G network.

Let’s compare – 5G vs 4G

Here at Aussie Broadband, we’ve got a great range of 5G and 4G plans, which operate on the Optus network. In this section, we’ll take a look at how the 5G network compares to the 4G network so you can make an informed decision about which handset and SIM to invest in.

1 – Speed

In theory, 5G networks should be able to reach up to 10-30Gbps. However, users are unlikely to experience that calibre of speed on Australian 5G networks any time soon. According to mobile analytics firm Open Signal’s latest analysis of real-world 5G speeds, Australia came in fourth with average download speeds of 239.6 Mbps. Contrastingly, 4G users can typically expect to achieve download speeds between 30-50Mbps, depending on location and other factors.

2 – Reliability

5G users are likely to experience more reliable connectivity than 4G users. This can partly be attributed to overcrowding on the 4G network, however, 5G technology can also handle more simultaneous users than 4G technology. If you’re at the footy or a concert, you’re more likely to get service if you’re on the 5G network.

3 – Coverage

The 5G network has been available in select locations across Australia for almost two years. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are offering 5G connectivity in varying locations, however, it’s mostly concentrated in capital cities and metro areas. Contrastingly, 3G and 4G coverage is available to 98.5% of the Australian population. For more information about coverage, you can view our coverage map here.

4 – Handsets

It’s worth noting that if you want to access the 5G network, you’ll need to invest in a 5G-capable handset. While these handsets generally sit at a higher price point compared to typical 4G-compatible handsets, 5G handsets are backwards compatible – meaning they can also connect to the 4G and 3G networks. Whereas, if your handset isn’t 5G-compatible, you won’t be able to access the 5G network.

Which mobile network is best for me?

If you regularly use your mobile for bandwidth-intensive activities – like streaming music or watching video content- and you live in an area that currently has 5G coverage or is getting 5G coverage soon, investing in a 5G handset and plan could significantly improve your mobile experience. However, if you live in a regional or rural area that is not scheduled to receive 5G coverage anytime soon, it might be best to stick with one of our 4G plans.

If you’ve got any more questions about which mobile plan or handset is best for you, give our friendly team of Aussie-based experts a call on 1800 770 232 or see our mobile plans and pricing here. Or, if you are a business looking for cost-effective, flexible mobiles plans for your staff, check out our business deals here or download our free business mobile fleet guide here.