Vodafone is catching Telstra in 4G availability

Alex Kidman 15 June 2016

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Telstra retains the 4G speed crown but its rivals are catching up fast according to a new report.

The general popular consensus in terms of mobile broadband networks is that, despite its recent rash of outages, Telstra sits in the lead chair, followed by Optus and then in a distant third by Vodafone. That's thanks partly to the now ancient Vodafail debacle, but also due to its lack of any 700Mhz spectrum for 4G. But how accurate is that viewpoint?

A new OpenSignal report, State Of Mobile Networks Australia casts some light on real world usage figures, availability and speed of the three major Australian carriers, and it suggests a picture that’s markedly different, with Vodafone consistently matching Telstra in overall 4G LTE availability, although Telstra still holds the overall speed crown.

It may actually be better news than that for Vodafone, with OpenSignal’s data suggesting its users have access to 4G services 77.61% of the time compared to 76.27% for Telstra customers, although OpenSignal considers this a draw in statistical terms.

Network4G AvailabilityDownload Speed (overall)3G Download speed4G Download speed
Telstra76.27%17.09Mbps3.95Mbps23.6Mbps
Optus73.4%12.87Mbps4.35Mbps19.18Mbps
Vodafone77.61%12.79Mbps4.76Mbps18.49Mbps

In terms of network responsiveness, Vodafone’s 3G network scored top honours for latency, where a lower (and therefore faster) score is desirable, but taking margins of error into account Optus and Vodafone are essentially level pegging and thus get a "draw" from OpenSignal. Still, that puts Telstra in the unusual position of coming last in the network race, a position it's not particularly familiar with.

Network3G latency4G latency
Telstra94.47ms56.26ms
Optus87.39ms51.88ms
Vodafone72.02ms54.71ms

It’s worth noting that OpenSignal’s data is derived from consumers using its applications and providing data back that is reported upon. That means that while the report used 15,594,150 data samples, the number isn't a measure of actual users, because there were only 7,904 of those, with data taken from 1 February 2016 to 30 April 2016.

OpenSignal previously noted that in general, Australian mobile broadband ranks very highly in world terms, with Telstra being the 12th-fastest network in the world.

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