Today at MWC in Barcelona Telstra have announced their three handset partners for the start of their consumer 5G operations as well as detailing some specifics around the operation of the 5G network.

Telstra’s 5G network

Some of the main questions surround 5G are when will it be ready? How much will it cost? What devices will be offered to support 5G?

Telstra today have outlined that their over 200 5G sites are ready for operation now. The sites are fully functional and as soon as they can get devices into hands of consumers they will bring 5G to the masses.

Telstra today stated that they will not be waiting for all three of their first handset manufacturers to be ready. Apart from the handsets there will of course be the HTC 5G Hub which is very close to being ready but then it is as race. First company ready with their device will have the entire network to themselves – the race is on. Once that first device is ready the network will be open for consumers.

There are two key components to bringing 5G to life – you need the network technology and you need compatible devices. Our network has been ready for some time, and we’re now even closer to having 5G-compatible devices available for our customers.Andy Penn, Telstra CEO

Telstra are remaining tight-lipped on the pricing of their plans but given how the 5G will work with it integrating with the 4G they said that it would be difficult to differentiate between 5G users and 4G users – but it sounds that for specific use cases that require the low latency they may well have 5G plans . Their actual plans and pricing will be made available closer to the launch date.

Telstra also revealed the devices which they will have operating on their 5G networks in the coming months – the expected HTC hotspot, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the as-yet unnamed OPPO 5G handset, and the LG V50 ThinQ. At least one of these phones are expected to arrive before the end of June this year.

The 5G phones

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

We saw this phone announced last week in San Francisco and was no surprise. It has a 6.7 inch display, a new camera system that is already setting the world on fire in the Galaxy S10+ and what they say is a “bigger, faster-charging battery”. That battery would want to be bigger because with a 5G modem and a display that big it is going to be extremely power-hungry.

For those early adopters who pick up a Galaxy S10+ from Telstra before the 5G version is available they will be able to upgrade, at no extra cost, to the Galaxy S10 5G.

The OPPO 5G handset

We saw OPPO announce that they are well into the development of their 5G phone and interestingly said that it is ready and will launch it when the networks are ready. Well, OPPO, Telstra have said theirs is ready once your phone is ready. There must be some fine print someone is missing here.

I cannot wait to see the OPPO Find Z 5G launching here in Australia – hopefully soon.

LG V50 ThinQ

The LG V50 ThinQ has been leaked recently by Evan Blass but with Sprint branding. It seems to be basically a V40 ThinQ but with 5G. Today, Telstra have outed the V50 ThinQ, something we expect LG to announce later this evening (Barcelona time).

The LG V50 ThinQ has a 6.4 inch OLED (and if it is the same as the V40 ThinQ will be a QHD+ display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio) and also a large battery of 4,000mAh capacity. As for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the V50 ThinQ is exclusive to Telstra as well. This does not leave many 5G devices for the other 5G networks but considering their much lower level of readiness that is hardly going to be an issue with this generation of devices.

Telstra have of course said that they are continuing to build out their network “to areas where it matters most to their customers”, focusing mostly on the CBD in most major cities but including selected regional areas.

Given Telstra’s readiness and the race from manufacturers to be the first to market with their 5G devices you can be sure that Telstra’s timeframe of “by the end of June this year” will be met and most likely exceeded.

Anyone willing to make the switch to Telstra to get some 5G speeds before the other carriers are even close to ready?

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Is that obnoxious gold 5G tramp stamp on the V50 legit?

Chris Rowland

Not that we’ve seen.