What is 5G?

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

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 young woman using a tablet computer in a cafe

5G is becoming more common and accessible around Australia for individuals, homes and businesses, but what is it and how does it work? You can learn all about the latest in mobile technology right here in Savvy’s comprehensive guide, including how it works, its accessibility and its potential speed capacity when it comes to the internet. Find out more with us today!

What is 5G and how does it work?

5G, or the fifth generation of wireless technology, is a mobile and internet source established via a network of mobile towers and base stations designed to transmit data wirelessly at incredibly high speeds. 5G networks utilise a multitude of smaller towers and antennas, often mounted on poles, buildings or streetlights. These smaller towers allow for more efficient data transmission and reception, resulting in faster internet speeds.

On top of this, an emerging frequency for 5G in Australia is millimetre-wave (mmWave) technology. These radio waves, which operate on a higher frequency of 26GHz, are capable of carrying vast amounts of data. However, they have a shorter range and are more susceptible to obstructions like buildings and trees. Additionally, this isn’t widely available as of September 2023 and is only supported by very few phones.

On top of being offered on phone plans to provide mobile coverage to Australians, 5G also enables users to connect to the internet. This comes either in the form of a 5G home wireless broadband plan or 5G mobile internet, with the former being designed for home or office connections and the latter for those on the go.

How fast is 5G internet?

While its speeds may vary depending on the frequency band and network infrastructure, 5G is significantly faster than its predecessor, 4G. Theoretically, it can achieve peak speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps), although in practice you’re likely to find average speeds closer to 200 megabits per second (Mbps) to 250Mbps.

Factors such as network congestion, signal strength, your provider’s network and the number of connected devices can all impact speed, meaning it’s likelier to vary in speed than fixed line internet connections such as NBN plans. Nevertheless, even in congested areas, 5G is designed to provide faster and more reliable internet access.

What are the differences between 5G and 4G internet?

5G represents a significant evolution from 4G in several key areas:

  • Speed: 5G is substantially faster than 4G, with average speeds up to 10 times higher (most 4G plans today come with capped speeds of between 20Mbps and 25Mbps). This can mean quicker downloads, smoother streaming, and reduced latency for tasks like online gaming and video conferencing.
  • Latency: 5G networks offer ultra-low latency, reducing the delay between sending a command and receiving a response. This is crucial for data-intensive applications like gaming or large file downloads.
  • Coverage: as of September 2023, 4G internet is much more widely available than 5G. Many regional parts of Australia don’t have access to 5G networks, ruling it out as a potential option until it’s rolled out in these areas.
  • Frequency bands: 5G operates in a wider range of frequency bands than 4G, with this diversity allowing for greater flexibility in network deployment.
  • Cost: in almost all cases, you’ll find that 4G internet and mobile plans are cheaper than their 5G counterparts.

How is 5G internet different from the NBN?

5G internet and the NBN are both technologies designed to provide high-speed internet access, but they differ in several key ways:


5G is a wireless technology which operates over radio waves. It relies on a network of small cell towers and antennas to transmit data wirelessly to devices equipped with 5G modems.

The NBN, on the other hand, is a type of fixed line internet connection encompassing various technologies, including fibre optic, coaxial and copper cables. It usually involves physical infrastructure installation, such as laying fibre cables or connecting to existing networks.

Speed and reliability

5G is known for its incredible speed and low latency. It can provide high gigabit-level speeds, making it suitable for data-intensive applications, but its lack of fixed connection makes it more prone to fluctuating speeds.

NBN plans offer a range of speed tiers, with slower and faster options. This type of internet is also considered more reliable, although speeds can still vary depending on your connection type and provider.

Coverage and deployment

5G networks are still being rolled out in many areas and are currently primarily available in urban centres, meaning coverage can be limited in rural or remote regions.

In contrast, most of Australia now has access to some form of NBN, making it a more widely accessible internet option in Australia.


In many cases, 5G home internet plans work out to be cheaper than equivalent-speed NBN plans overall. This could be a key consideration if you’re concerned about your budget.

How do I find out if 5G is available in my area?

The quickest way to determine 5G availability in your area is by checking with your mobile service provider. Most major carriers have coverage maps on their websites or mobile apps which display areas where 5G service is available. You can simply enter your address or use your current location to see if 5G coverage is present.

Failing this, you may consider reaching out to your mobile provider's customer service. They can check the coverage for your specific location and provide details about 5G availability. It’s important to remember that 5G coverage is continually expanding, so if it isn’t currently available in your area, it may be in the near future as providers continue to roll out their networks. Keep an eye on updates from your mobile carrier, as they often announce new areas with 5G coverage.

What frequency is 5G in Australia?

5G operates across a spectrum of frequencies, each serving a different purpose. Different providers may deploy different frequencies, so the following example is Telstra’s set of 5G bands (correct as of September 2023):

  • Low band: 700MHz to 900MHz
  • Mid band: 1,800MHz to 3,600MHz
  • High band (mmWave): 26GHz to 28GHz

Helpful guides on internet plans

Internet Banner - Worried young man looking at his phone

Why is My Internet So Slow?

Having a slow internet connection can be painful, so it’s important to understand why that might be and how to...

Internet Banner - Man sitting in an office smiling at his laptop

Types of Internet Connection

There’s a range of internet connection types to wrap your head around in Australia, from the NBN to home wireless,...

Internet Banner - Young woman sitting at a table on her tablet

Cable Internet Plans

Find out more about cable internet plans, how they work and what your alternatives may be with Savvy. Cable internet...

Internet Banner - Young couple sitting on the couch comparing internet plans on their tablet

How Much Does Internet Cost?

Find out the average cost of NBN plans and other factors which can impact your internet bills right here. Wondering...

Internet Banner - A woman typing on a laptop in a kitchen

NBN Battery Replacement

An NBN battery can serve as a backup connection for your home or business, but it’s important to know when...

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 - Woman sitting on the couch on her laptop

Fibre Internet Plans

Fibre internet plans provide an alternative fixed line connection to the NBN for eligible homes in Australia. There are plenty...

Internet Banner - Internet modem router sitting on a table while a woman uses her tablet in the background

Modem vs Router

Modems and routers are both important for your home or business internet connection, but what do they do? You might’ve...

Internet Banner - An older couple smiling at a laptop at home

What is ADSL?

Once the most common internet connection in Australia, much of the ADSL infrastructure has now been replaced by the NBN....

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!


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 young woman using a tablet computer in a cafe

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.