When it comes to 5G coverage, it’s been a race between two with Telstra and Optus fighting it out on speed, coverage and the war of marketing, but today TPG Telecom joins the race with theirs and the Vodafone network hitting a remarkable 85 per cent population coverage in ten of the biggest cities in Australia.

It’s an overnight change that we’ve not seen before. Both Telstra and Optus have been switching on new towers at a great pace, but TPG’s “5G standalone core” launched today and the difference is remarkable.

Here’s what Vodafone/TPG’s coverage looked like last week in Sydney:

And this week, using the Standalone Core, it’s a completely different picture:

If that level of coverage is replicated device-side across Sydney as an example it would be the most comprehensive 5G coverage of the three networks.

It’s the same in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Wollongong and the NSW Central Coast.

TPG/Vodafone say their network is capable of delivering speeds of more than 400Mbps.

TPG Telecom Chief Executive Officer Iñaki Berroeta said the 5G standalone core is a game-changer for the company and its mobile and home internet customers.

“This is truly a pivotal moment for TPG Telecom and sets us up to deliver 5G’s full potential,” Mr Berroeta said.

“The upgraded core network has amplified our 700 MHz spectrum, tripling our 5G coverage and giving us greater reach across suburbs and in densely populated areas.

“This will give us a competitive boost going forward, with our 5G coverage on par or ahead of other mobile networks in many areas.

“It not only means more coverage in more places for mobile customers, it will allow us to significantly increase our 5G fixed wireless footprint.

“Two in three Australians are now covered by our 5G where they work and live, and with the first major device due to be upgraded to work with standalone 5G in just a few weeks, the new coverage is ready to go.”

The company says they are adding more than 100 5G sites ever month, or faster, with 122 in September and 109 in October.

While the effect on coverage is instant, the long term here is that TPG Telecom as a merged entity of TPG and Vodafone has the potential to have one of the best 5G networks. Using the combination of 700MHz low-band spectrum from both companies they have the potential to deliver a pretty impressive 5G experience.

Mr Berroeta said the coverage milestone was a key merger integration achievement.

“The merger has enabled us to build a better and smarter 5G network faster than we otherwise would have, delivering one of the biggest and most tangible benefits for customers,” he said.

“Since the merger, we have integrated our spectrum, fibre and small cells to create our best ever mobile network.

“The combination of the 700 MHz low band spectrum holdings of the pre-merged businesses has enabled us to deliver an outstanding 5G network and means we are strongly-positioned for the future.

“Using innovative approaches such as our 5G factory-assembly, we have also significantly increased our speed of site delivery, switching on more than 100 5G sites per month.”

Most importantly, this is a massive milestone for the business “This puts us firmly on the 5G map, and the project completion is a testament to our network team who skillfully navigated challenges including lockdowns and the 5G vendor restrictions,” he said.