5G is here, EE launched first, followed by Vodafone and Three is launching soon. We are no doubt going to see a strong marketing push from all the providers, pushing us to the new 5G spectrum, but is it really worth it?
SIM only deals always offer the best value for money, these are just a SIM card with no phone tied to it and generally come with 1 or 12-month terms compared to 24 when you get a phone too. More often than not, if you have the cash, it will be cheaper to buy your phone outright then take up a SIM only deal.
Currently, the best 5G deal is from Vodafone, who offer unlimited data for £30, which to be fair, is very good. However, 4G sim only deals start at around £4 for a minimal amount of data, for unlimited contracts these start at around £22 for a 12-month contract, or £25 for 1 month. Most people don’t need unlimited data, and a Voxi 8GB plan is just £10pcm.
Don’t get me wrong, 5G will be a game changer, the speeds that you can get on the launched services are incredible, and it is about far more than speed in the long term, it will have a positive impact across many aspects of our lives in the long term. As a tech enthusiast and journalist, I obviously want to upgrade my contract, and when Vodafone launch in Blackpool, the upgrade bug may just make me do it.
Pushing my desire to upgrade aside, logically, I don’t need it and I would be spending way more money than needed. Where I live, I consistently get between 60Mbps and 110Mbps down, which admittedly is a lot less than the 300+Mbps a lot of people on 5G get, but I am not sure of the last time I really needed to download something at 300+Mbps on my phone. 60Mbps+ is quicker than most people’s fibre lines, and that usually is more than satisfactory at home. I have a Virgin 350 and I rarely make the most of that speed.
The issue with 5G is the cost of contracts compared to 4G. To be fair to Vodafone, the £30pcm unlimited deal is amazing, but I am on £20pcm with 20GB, and I rarely use more than 10GB, as I use Wi-Fi when at home. So, while I would love 5G, in reality, I would be paying £120 per year more than needed. Then you also need a 5G phone; the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G costs £69pcm + £50 with EE giving a total cost of £1706, a EE 40GB 5G SIM contact is £37pcm which is £888 in total making the phone cost around £818 whereas the OnePlus 7 Pro 8 GB is just £699 on Amazon.
So unless you are constantly downloading data to your phone and rarely use Wi-Fi, 5G on a mobile isn’t the best-valued option. Some people are less concerned about cost and want the best regardless, and in this case, 5G will obviously be a great option.
While it is not getting as much exposure, the best use for 5G at the moment would be for home internet. The UK lags behind a lot of the world with our broadband, and if you live in a rural environment, you can forget about things like Virgin. With Vodafone, you can get one of their 5G Gigacubes for £50 upfront then £50pcm, which while not cheap, it is cheaper than the £52 a month M350 Fibre package that Virgin offers. Granted you will need to be in a 5G area, and rural environments are probably low down on this list, but 5G could pave the way for high-speed internet for many UK properties.