fbpx

5G vs NBN

Find out the differences between 5G and NBN internet connections, including their availability, cost, reliability and more.

Written by 
Savvy Editorial Team
Savvy's content writing team are professionals with a wide and diverse range of industry experience and topic knowledge. We write across a broad spectrum of finance-related topics to provide our readers with informative resources to help them learn more about a certain area or enable them to decide on which product is best for their needs with careful comparison. Meet the team behind the operation here. Visit our authors page to meet Savvy's expert writing team, committed to delivering informative and engaging content to help you make informed financial decisions.
Our authors
, updated on February 13th, 2024       

Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.

Internet Banner: A man in glasses sitting at a desk with a laptop

With both 5G home broadband and NBN connections proving popular among an Australian market seeking out high-speed and high-performance internet, it’s worth taking a step back and understanding how the two types of broadband differ before you choose one over the other.

You can explore their differences, such as cost, capabilities, reliability and more right here in Savvy’s helpful guide to 5G and NBN internet. Read on to find out more about each type of broadband to help you discover which option is best for your needs.

What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia's nationwide broadband infrastructure project, designed to upgrade and replace the existing outdated telecommunications network. The goal of the NBN is to provide faster and more reliable internet access to Australian homes and businesses, regardless of their location.

The NBN is broken down into six speed tiers, which are:

  • NBN 12 (12Mbps download, 1Mbps upload)
  • NBN 25 (25Mbps download, 5Mbps upload)
  • NBN 50 (50Mbps download, 20Mbps upload)
  • NBN 100 (100Mbps download, 20/40Mbps upload)
  • NBN 250 (250Mbps download, 25Mbps upload)
  • NBN 1000 (1Gbps download, 50Mbps upload)

It utilises a mix of technologies, including fibre optic, coaxial and copper cables, as well as wireless radio signals and satellite connectivity. The specific connections for your NBN plan will depend on the infrastructure available at your home or office and may also dictate the type of NBN plan you can buy. For example, only Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections are capable of supporting NBN 250 and NBN 1000 speeds.

What is 5G internet?

5G, or fifth-generation, internet is the latest iteration of wireless technology for mobile and broadband communications. It represents a significant leap in connectivity compared to its predecessor, 4G. 5G offers much higher maximum speeds, lower latency and the capacity to connect several devices simultaneously.

Unlike previous generations, which primarily relied on large mobile towers for signal transmission, 5G utilises a combination of smaller stations. These advanced technologies allow for greater network capacity and speed.

5G can be accessed either through home wireless broadband connections, which are designed to service homes and businesses, or mobile broadband, which is built for on-the-go use. However, connectivity is dependent upon the coverage and reception in your area.

What are the differences between 5G and NBN connections?

There are several key factors to consider between 5G and NBN connections when deciding which is the best option for you. These include:

Availability

Availability

5G: 5G networks are gradually rolling out in urban areas, primarily in major cities and metropolitan regions. While expansion is ongoing, 5G coverage is not yet as widespread as NBN, especially in rural and remote areas.

NBN: because the NBN rollout is further ahead than the 5G expansion, coverage extends to a much larger portion of the population, including regional and remote areas.

Speed capability

Speed capability

5G: 5G offers impressive speed capabilities, with theoretical maximum speeds exceeding 1Gbps. In practical terms, 5G can deliver speeds that often match or surpass some of the faster NBN tiers. However, like the NBN, many 5G home internet plans now come with speed tiers, with 50Mbps, 100Mbps and uncapped plans the most common options.

NBN: NBN speeds vary based on the technology used, with those utilising older copper technology potentially suffering from speed degradation, but they generally range from 12Mbps to 1000Mbps (1Gbps). Where the NBN also differs from 5G is the level of choice afforded to customers, with six speed tier options compared to three.

Cost

Cost

5G: in many cases, 5G plans can be cheaper than their equivalent NBN speed tiers over the long term, with base prices tending to be cheaper than those of NBN plans (which often come with introductory periods).

NBN: while NBN plans may be cheaper in the short term thanks to discounted introductory periods, they may work out to be more expensive overall. For instance, NBN 250 plans generally cost more than 5G plans with uncapped speed, even though the latter can potentially be faster.

Reliability

Reliability

5G: 5G networks can experience fluctuations in speed and coverage due to factors like network congestion, signal interference, frequency used and distance from the nearest tower. Reliability can vary depending on your location.

NBN: NBN reliability also varies based on the technology used. FTTP connections typically provide more consistent and reliable performance, while fixed wireless and satellite connections may be more susceptible to dropouts and slowdowns.

Ease of installation

Ease of installation

5G: installing 5G home internet typically only involves setting up a 5G-compatible modem or router and ensuring there is 5G coverage in your area. It's a straightforward process for those with 5G availability.

NBN: installing NBN may require more complex installation, depending on the technology used. Fibre connections often involve technician visits, while other technologies may require the installation of NBN-compatible equipment by professionals. All of this can take much more time than 5G in some cases.

5G vs NBN: which one is better?

There isn’t one simple answer to the question of which connection type is better, as it depends entirely on your needs as an individual, family or business. If you value reliability, you may lean towards the NBN, but if your budget is the most important, 5G may work out to be cheaper overall.

The answer becomes simpler for you in certain situations, such as if 5G isn’t available in your area yet. Alternatively, if the NBN is yet to reach you or if the connection type doesn’t meet your speed requirements, such as Fixed Wireless, Satellite or a weaker Fibre to the Node (FTTN) or Curb (FTTC), you may lean towards 5G.

Overall, it’s important to take the time to compare internet deals online to see which providers can offer the service you’re looking for at the most affordable price, which you can do through Savvy.

Helpful guides on internet plans

Internet Banner - Woman sitting on the couch next to her dog conducting an NBN check

NBN Check

Find out how to check the status of your NBN connection and its availability in your area. If you're keen...

Internet Banner - A woman sitting at a table with a laptop and mobile phone

What is an ISP?

ISPs are a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to connecting your home or business to the internet....

Internet Banner - Young woman sitting on the couch looking at a tablet

FTTB NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTB connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. If you live in...

Internet Banner - Man sitting at a table using his laptop while holding a credit card

How to Change Internet Providers

It’s important to understand the steps involved when changing from one internet provider to another in Australia. Looking to change...

Internet Banner: Person sitting on a person's back while holding a tablet

HFC NBN Explained

Find out more about HFC connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. HFC is a unique...

Internet Banner - A man and woman sitting on a couch looking at a tablet

FTTN NBN Explained

Find out more about FTTN connections on the NBN, how they work and their potential speeds. There are various connection...

Internet Banner: A man in glasses sitting at a desk with a laptop

5G vs NBN

Find out the differences between 5G and NBN internet connections, including their availability, cost, reliability and more. With both 5G...

Internet Banner - Couple sitting at the table together conducting an NBN speed test on their laptop

NBN Speed Test

Test the speed for your home or business NBN plan to find out your download and upload speeds, ping and...

Internet Banner - A young woman using a tablet computer in a cafe

What is 5G?

5G is the latest in mobile technology available in Australia, providing better reception and faster internet. 5G is becoming more...

Compare internet plans with Savvy

Regardless of whether you're looking for an internet plan for a one-person household or for your medium to large business, you can compare a range of offers from leading Australian providers side by side with Savvy. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today!

Disclaimer:

Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.

$50 Woolworths eGift card terms and conditions
  • The Promoter is CIMET Sales Pty Ltd ABN 72 620 395 726. Level 18/570 George Street Sydney, NSW 2000. Econnex Comparison is powered by CIMET.
  • Promotion available on qualifying Broadband Plan purchases between 1st February 2024 to 31st July 2024 (“Promotional Period”) and may be withdrawn at any time by Econnex Econnex Comparison retains the right to change or alter the terms of this offer.
  • You (“Customer”) will receive $50 worth of Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards when you purchase a Broadband Plan via Econnex Comparison, subject to these Terms and Conditions.
  • Information on how to qualify to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card forms part of these Terms and Conditions. Participation in this promotion is considered acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
Eligibility requirements
  • To be eligible to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards, you must purchase the Broadband Plan via the following link: https://app.econnex.com.au/broadband?rcCode=90709
  • You must switch to a new Broadband retailer. Customers who change plans via Econnex but remain with the same retailer will not be eligible.
  • Your Broadband Plan must be connected within 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Eligible Recipients will receive the applicable Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards by email up to 120 days after purchasing the Broadband Plan.
  • Econnex Comparison is not liable if any Customer details supplied are incorrect.
  • Econnex Comparison is providing this offer in conjunction with the retail services offered on its platform.
  • Details of Econnex Comparison retailers can be found at the following link: https://www.econnex.com.au/approved-providers-list
  • You must be an Australian resident aged 18 or over. Econnex Comparison may request you to provide a copy of your valid ID for identification purposes.
  • The Promoter reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity to receive the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards and Customer’s information (including the Customer’s identity, age and place of residence) and reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who the Promoter has reason to believe has breached any of these Terms and Conditions, tampered with the claim process, or engaged in any unlawful or other improper misconduct calculated to jeopardise fair and proper conduct of the promotion.
  • Errors and omissions may be accepted at the Promoter's discretion. Failure by the Promoter to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.
  • When the request for a connection cannot be completed, is unsuccessful, or a request is made for the cancellation of your Broadband Plan within the first 30 days from the date of connection, you will not be eligible to receive any gift card.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card is subject to any issuer Terms and Conditions.
  • Any ancillary costs with redeeming the gift cards are not included.
  • No responsibility is taken for any lost or stolen Woolworths Store Bonus eGift Cards.
  • If the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are unavailable, the Promoter reserves the right to substitute the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards to a card with equivalent value, subject to directions from a regulatory authority.
  • If the offer is not able to be conducted as reasonably anticipated, due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter, including but not limited to: technical difficulties, unauthorised intervention or fraud, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to the extent permitted by law: a. to disqualify any individual; or b. to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the promotion, as appropriate.
  • This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer from Econnex
Econnex Comparison Terms and Conditions.
  • Econnex Comparison will transfer your Broadband Plan request and details to the selected retailer.
  • Econnex Comparison may contact you to clarify any details or discrepancies in the information you provided for your Broadband Plan purchase.
  • To cancel your request, you will need to contact the Broadband Plan retailer and inform them of your decision.
  • Please note that we do not compare all brands in the market, or all products offered by all brands.
  • If you have any inquiries regarding your Broadband Plan purchase, you can contact us directly at 1800 013 000 or email us at [email protected]
  • Econnex Comparison Terms and Conditions: https://www.econnex.com.au/terms-and-conditions/
  • By participating in this promotion, the individual authorises the Promoter to collect, hold, use and disclose their personal information in accordance with Econnex’s privacy policy, including providing such information to third parties such as contractors, service providers, suppliers and where required or authorised by law. Econnex’s Privacy policy can be found at https://www.econnex.com.au/privacy-policy
  • Econnex may, unless the individual tells us not to, use the information to communicate with them by mail or electronically by, for example, email, phone, SMS to issue direct marketing and commercial communications telemarketing calls.
  • To opt out of direct marketing access, update, or correct personal information you may contact us at [email protected]
Other Information
  • Woolworths Group Ltd ABN 88 000 014 675 is the issuer of the Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card but is not the Promoter of the offer nor responsible for fulfillment of the offer terms.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards have a fixed term expiry as displayed on the front of the gift card and are redeemable in-store and online at Woolworths Supermarket stores only.
  • Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are valid for 3 months from the issue date and Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards are not reloadable or redeemable for cash.
  • Econnex Comparison and Woolworths will not replace, expired, lost, stolen, or deleted Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Cards.
  • Check your Spam/junk email if you have not received a Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card in your inbox within 120 days after activation of your Energy, Electricity or Gas Plan.
  • Woolworths Store Bonus eGift Card is sent via email from [email protected] or [email protected]
  • For enquiries related to the application, gift cards, or adding or removing any details on the application, please contact the Econnex Comparison at 1800 013 000 or e-mail us at [email protected]
  • For the balance and transactions history on this Woolworths Bonus Store eGift Card and Woolworths Terms and Conditions visit https://woolworths.com.au/giftcards or call 1300 101 234.
Internet Banner: A man in glasses sitting at a desk with a laptop

We'd love to chat, how can we help?

By clicking "Submit", you agree to be contacted by a Savvy broker and to receive communications from Savvy which you can unsubscribe from at any time. Read our Privacy Policy.