Australia’s network speeds rated and what this means for consumers

An introduction to the findings

OpenSignal, an industry leading company which maps mobile coverage, has recently announced their report findings.

Telstra has been found to have the fastest mobile network in Australia, with the largest range of coverage.

The national carrier is leading the way when it comes to average download speeds, with speeds tracked at 17.09 Mbps.

Following Telstra in the number two spot, Optus has clocked an average download speed of 12.87 Mbps.

Not too far behind Optus, Vodafone Australia has recorded download speeds on average to be around 12.79 Mbps.

The OpenSignal mobile network report shows us the current state of the biggest three national carriers.

Report findings were based on 15 million tests, thanks to 7,900 users of the OpenSignal App, with data recorded between February 1 and April 30.

Overall speeds were calculated by averaging both 3G and 4G download speeds of users.

This data was analysed by OpenSignal and in accordance to the availability of each mobile network.

Users with lower 4G coverage as shown in the data, tend to have lower download speeds overall. This is due to the fact that subscribers needed to connect to the much slower 3G networks, when 4G coverage was not available.

OpenSignal also studied the users latency, which is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. The company found that both Optus and Vodafone Australia were highly responsive, with minimal delays.

At the recent Mobile World Congress event, Telstra made big news with the announcement of their new commercial service.

OpenSignal and the LTE networks

Telstra is set in a world first to launch a commercial 1-Gbps 4G service. This new service is an advanced LTE network and is said to be anticipated later this coming year.

Capital cities around Australia which this new network will be launched in are Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

While this sounds like exciting news, there is a single issue which the national carrier has yet to resolve. The main problem which Telstra needs to overcome is that to date there is only one single device, which can use the new network.

A stand-alone modem which has been produced by the company Netgear, is the only current device which works. It will be quite some time before other manufacturers, especially smartphones producers come on board.

This sums up the current situation which the Australian mobile industry finds it’s self in.

Australia has always been at the for-front of cutting edge technologies, when it comes to the mobile networks. But, by being so far in-front of the mobile industry, it often has to wait for smartphone manufacturers to play catch up.

Device technologies are often at worst several years behind current network capabilities. This recent report conducted by OpenSignal is the first time which the mapping company has studied down under.

By studying the three national carriers, they have discovered that Australia is a leader when it comes to mobile innovation.

No slow networks in Australia

During the February to April testing period, OpenSignal monitored the data of users which had installed their App.

The results were based on users which connected to the three national carrier networks.

  •  Telstra’s LTE network clocked the fastest speeds, with 4G download speeds reported of around 23.6 Mbps.
  • Optus was next up with download speeds recorded by subscribers to be around 12.87 Mbps.
  • Vodafone Australia followed closely behind Optus, with average speeds recorded at 12.79 Mbps.

 Expanding 4G availability

When it came to 4G availability in Australia it was a tight race between all three of the national carriers.

OpenSignal has reported the percentage of time in which users were able to connect to the 4G networks.

All of the Telco’s performed well, with the 4G networks providing a LTE signal more than 70% of the time.
However it was a surprise that Vodafone Australia was able to equally match Telstra and their LTE network.

Vodafone Australia subscribers were able to connect to the LTE network 77.6% of the time.

Telstra customers were able to connect to the Telstra LTE network at an equal percent of the time.

Breaking speed barriers

Australia has come a long way when it comes to LTE average speeds and the global 4G market.

According to the most recent OpenSignal calculations, Australia is among the top 10 countries in the world.

This is no easy feat to pull off when you consider the overall landmass of Australia, in direct comparison to other countries.

What the global rankings don’t show though, is just how far Australia has come with it’s advanced network capabilities.

While other network operators have relied on deploying LTE on multiple frequency bands, Australian Telco’s have taken this a step further.

Both Telstra and Optus have begun the process of merging frequencies into massive bandwidth links.

This has enabled the national carriers to create a sophisticated network based on LTE Advanced standards.

In conclusion

The results from the OpenSignal survey show us that Australia is well placed when it comes to our mobile networks.

Our national carries are leading the way when it comes to network improvements with Telstra at the head of the pack.

Both Optus and Vodafone are quickly catching up and are closing the gap when it comes to download speeds.

Australian networks are globally fast, widely available and with coverage available nation wide.

The data has shown us that Aussie Telco’s are not being complacent, with network upgrades improving speeds.

This is great news for Australians and is a solid indicator of future things to come.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.