Is 5G all marketing hype? Yes, Joe and Jane Average don’t need it

A reader asks, “Is 5G all marketing hype as I pay for it and never seem to get it?” The short answer is that it is one of the biggest marketing deceptions ever forced on the Australian public.

Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, et al. would have you believe that 5G is ubiquitous and you cannot live without the speed. It boldly claims that 5G now covers 85% of the Australian population. However, the stark reality is that 5G only covers about 13% of Australia’s landmass, a significant discrepancy.

Look at the Telstra map below and note that there are two shades of purple. The lighter shade is where 5G is available, and the subtly darker shade is ‘coming soon’—it has been that way since Telstra first tried to make 5G the drug of choice.

Let’s zoom in on the Sydney CBD; you will find massive 5G holes.

Nperf tracks real users’ data and shows a very different story to Telstra’s coverage.

The bottom line is that I seldom get 5G reception in my travels and have never had a killer app or reason to pay for the extra speed.

Back to the reader

“I am a shop assistant. I live on the Central Coast. Eight months ago, the Optus Store at Erina convinced me to buy a new iPhone 15 ($42 per month x 36 months) and a $89 5G/360GB plan costing $131 per month.”

So, dear reader, why didn’t Optus tell you a) that you can’t get 5G at your home address and b) that so little of the area gets 5G?

“According to my bill, I use about 20GB a month.  Optus won’t let me vary the plan unless I pay it out costing more than $1,000.”

4G provides heaps of speed to stream movies and audio, yet you signed up for a $89 5G/360GB plan even though you could barely use it. You could have a Coles/Optus 22/32GB Plan for $25/35 monthly.

“While the iPhone 15 is nice, I don’t know why I was pushed to that when I only really needed a good 4G Android phone. I don’t use the phone for more than email and streaming. I am having real problems finding $131 a month.”

You need to take responsibility for your actions. You claim Optus pushed you, but you made the final decision. Optus has some excellent OPPO, Motorola, and Samsung phones for $10-20 monthly, but its cheapest mobile plan is $49 monthly. In fact, you could have bought a 4G phone outright for $200 (OPPO A16s) or splurged on a Motorola g54 for $299 and used a Coles plan.

I advise returning to Optus and seeing what hardship relief it can offer for well and truly over-selling you.

CyberShack’s view – 5G is all marketing hype, and we swallow that hook, line and sinker

This is not the first case of 5G oversell, nor will it be the last. As tougher economic times begin to bite, we advise avoiding phones on a payment plan and purchasing what you can afford outright. Coles (Optus), Woolworths  (Telstra), Aldi (Telstra) and Boost Mobile (Telstra) have mobile plans that are way cheaper than Telco’s, and some offer 5G as well (that you don’t need).

Buying a phone on a 36-month plan no longer makes sense!