Wednesday, 03 November 2021 17:59

Telstra unveils $85 1TB 5G home and business Internet service Featured

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Telstra has announced a 5G home and business Internet plan with 1TB of data per month for $85 with no lock-in contracts.

Telstra says the service has an average typical download speed of 378Mbps during the busy 7 pm to 11 pm period. The service includes a 5G router in the usual small white brick format of Telstra’s home routers. The first month is free, and there are no contracts or exit fees; simply cancel and return the router if you wish to terminate.

The 5G service uses Telstra's 5G mobile network instead of fixed-line services like NBN or fibre. As such it can reach vastly higher speeds than ordinary residential services, such as NBN’s fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) which still uses copper for the last leg to your premises. Conversely, it’s also subject to fluctuations from weather, mobile tower disruptions, heavy mobile data use in the area, and other issues. Of course, as a cellular service, it’s not affected in any way if someone fails to dial before they dig and tear up phone cables down the road.

Telstra says evening speeds can range from 50Mbps to 600Mbps meaning you can have ridiculously fast Internet or, at the worst end, you’re probably still better off than you would be on an NBN FTTN service. The one downside is fixed-line plans are moving towards unlimited data while this 5G service is capped at 1TB - that’s a marketing terabyte, not a Computer Science terabyte, meaning 1,000 megabytes.

Telstra says that 1TB is enough for over 330 hours of high-definition Netflix streaming. According to AT&T’s Internet data calculator, 1TB is also enough capacity to do all these things in one month:

  • send and receive 40,000 emails
  • play 8,500 hours of streaming music
  • surf the web for 2,000 hours
  • make 5,600 social media posts with photos
  • stream 150 hours of 4K video
  • play online games for 300 hours

So, 1TB is a lot and it's unlikely to be a constraining limit for the bulk of households. You could also use the 5G plan and router in your business, but my view is you would want to be sure you’ve got reliable 5G reception if you’re depending on it for your livelihood.

On that point, Telstra says its 5G network covers over 75% of Australians and the aim is to have 95% of the population covered by the end of June 2025.

No technicians are needed, and it doesn't matter where your phone line (if you have one) comes into your house. Simply place the router anywhere you like, ideally with the best 5G signal, plug it into power, turn it on, and away you go.

According to Telstra's website, new residential customers (but not business customers) will also get three months subscription to Binge TV (provided they are also new Binge subscribers).

The 5G modem includes

  • 4x4 802.11ax Wi-Fi
  • dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz capacity
  • 1x USB 3.0 port
  • 4x gigabit ethernet ports for cabled devices
  • 1x configurable Ethernet WAN/LAN port
  • WPS
  • 1GB RAM
  • Inbuilt, pre-activated SIM

The 5G modem does not include a landline service, so you may need to consider that if you want to replace your existing fixed cable Internet service with this 5G offering.

Of course, being a 5G device, you're not restricted to a single premises. Provided you have power and a 5G signal you can take it with you anywhere in Australia, any time you wish.

To help make sure 5G is a good choice, Telstra offers a service qualification tool that looks up your address to give you the best information, for both residential and business customers. I put in my address and the site duly informed me “woohoo,” and that I can get “ridiculously fast 5G.” It didn’t quantify what this meant, so I recommend you also look at Telstra’s 5G coverage map for greater clarity. That site tells me I am “predicted” to get 5G coverage which still doesn’t numerically indicate what I can receive, but at least it gives a helpful map that highlights precisely where 5G is available. The site also notes Telstra 5G devices will drop down to 4G and even 3G where 5G (or 4G) is unavailable.

Still, with one month's free and no contract it's dead easy to try it for yourself. Order one, see what the coverage is like. If you’re happy, pay by the month. If you’re not, don’t continue after the first month. All you need is a power point.

For more information, and to sign up, check out Telstra's 5G service for residential and business online.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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