Telstra is taking the fight for broadband customers directly to the NBN Co, with Australia’s biggest telco set to announce a 5G fixed-wireless offering, which the company is hoping will tempt users away from the nation’s broadband network.
The NBN alternative is expected to be available from Telstra tomorrow (Wednesday, September 29), and will deliver 500GB of data to homes through the telco’s 5G network for AU$85 a month.
Telstra says it will first be invitation-only, and it expects customers on the new 5G broadband service to be able to reach a typical speed of between 50Mbps and 300Mbps in the busy evening hours.
The actual speed each customer will receive will be dependent on their proximity to a 5G tower, and how many other users are using the same connection in your area.
Telstra isn’t the only one to challenge NBN Co with 5G – Optus was the first to join the fight, and it has a 5G plan with unlimited monthly data at AU$75 per month.
The major telcos move into the 5G fixed-wireless market lets them use their own existing 5G networks, meaning they don’t have to pay the NBN a wholesale price to use its technology.
But Telstra arguably can’t afford to be as brazen as Optus in pursuing NBN customers to switch. The company signed a non-compete agreement with the NBN Co as part of a larger deal between the two which allowed NBN Co to secure some of the telco’s infrastructure assets (such as copper phone lines), as reported by the Australian Financial Review.
If Telstra breaks that agreement, it may no longer receive one-off payments from NBN Co when its customers move from older connections, such as ADSL to the NBN.
Who’s a 5G fixed-wireless service for?
A Telstra spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald that it will initially be targeting customers who are “having the poorest experience today”, and that includes older ADSL connections and the NBN.
It’ll be seeking those who have frequent faults and outages through their current technology.
The company said it plans to open up wider access over the course of the next 12 months, as its 5G infrastructure is further rolled out and faster mmWave equipment becomes more common.