Which 5G network provider has the widest reach? We consider Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

Collage of hands reaching for each other. Green background, smartphones.

Since 5G mobile began to roll out in Australia in 2019, it has expanded to cover approximately 75% of the Australian population. But the question remains: how much of Australia actually can get their phones on this network?

The answer of course depends on which network provider you choose for your mobile internet experience. In Australia, the three major networks are Telstra, Vodafone, and Optus. They’re all competing in the race to supply ultra-high speed 5G internet to the nation’s phones. 

Let’s check in to see how the race is going.

Is Optus 5G available?

Optus offers 5G across some of the capital cities. This will be good for the city-dwelling population, but unfortunately their network coverage is limited to just the major capital cities.

Optus 5G coverage map
Source: Optus

Optus has been a little bit late to the party on their rollout of 5G. As it stands, Optus has focused their efforts on getting coverage in the inner cities of the coastal capitals. Where they have expanded to regional areas, as the photo above shows, they have only a few towers scattered here and there.

Those purple dots indicate the presence of a 5G tower, so for example, they have a high concentration in inner Melbourne, but only a handful in Ballarat and Geelong. 

As far as 5G plans go, Optus offers a range of post-paid plans that can access the 5G network, as well as a select number of prepaid plans.

Vodafone 5G coverage map

Vodafone 5G coverage map
Source: Vodafone

Like Optus, Vodafone has tried to get Australia's major cities hooked up to the 5G network before expanding into regional areas. Based on these coverage maps provided by the networks, it looks like Vodafone has pretty extensive coverage across the major cities.

In NSW, its network stretches from Newcastle to Kiama, with decent coverage in Canberra, too. Their 5G coverage barely stretches over the Blue Mountains, but regional customers will be able to make use of Vodafone’s regional 4G network and extensive 3G coverage too. 

Based on the coverage maps provided by Vodafone, they have a higher number of 5G towers around the country than Optus, but still fewer than Telstra.

Telstra 5G coverage map takes the cake

Telstra 5G coverage
Source: Telstra

Not every network can guarantee high speed 5G coverage to rural town inhabitants, but as Australia’s largest network operator, Telstra has invested heavily in getting a sizeable number of rural towns access to the 5G network

Let’s acknowledge that getting coverage to the whole of Australia is a pretty monumental task. The map above shows what it takes to deliver 5G coverage to a country as big and empty as Australia. 

While Optus and Vodafone kept their 5G coverage mostly confined to the coastal cities, Telstra has made significant effort to promote high speed mobile internet coverage in far flung locations from Cairns to Warrnambool.

Telstra also offers 5G home broadband plans which means that beyond mobile, you could set up your whole house to benefit from the lightning fast speeds possible on 5G.

5G phones and 5G mobile plans

Considering boosting your phone’s Tik-Tokking capabilities? Feel like downloading a feature length film in just a few seconds? If you answered yes to any of these questions, 5G mobile internet could be the solution for you. 

Take a look at Mozo’s online comparison tool to see the best plans with 5G available, or head over to our mobile phone plan hub to find out more!