State of Mobile Networks: Australia (November 2018)

Australia's level of 4G access and its mobile broadband speeds continue to climb steadily upwards. In our fourth examination of the country's mobile market, we found a new leader in both our 4G speed and availability metrics. Analyzing more than 425 million measurements, OpenSignal parsed the 3G and 4G metrics of Australia's three biggest operators Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.


Telstra swings into the lead in our download speed metrics

A sizable bump in Telstra's 4G download speed results propelled the operator to the top of our 4G download speed and overall download speed rankings. Telstra also became the first Australian operator to cross the 40 Mbps barrier in our 4G download analysis.

Optus's 4G availability tops 90%

Optus's 4G availability score increased by 2 percentage points in the last six months, which allowed it to reach two milestones. It became the first Australian operator in our measurements to pass the 90% threshold in LTE availability, and it pulled ahead of Vodafone to become the sole winner of our 4G availability award.

Vodafone wins our 4G latency award, but Optus is hot on its heels

Vodafone maintained its impressive 4G latency score at 30 milliseconds for the second report in row, holding onto its award in the category. But Optus is making gains in 4G response time, and was within a millisecond of matching Vodafone’s result.

Telstra maintains its commanding lead in 4G upload

While the 4G download speed race is close among the three operators in Australia, there's not much of a contest in 4G upload speed. Telstra's average upload connection of 10.8 Mbps was 24% faster than its nearest rival in our measurements.

Opensignal Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Upload Speed: 4G Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G


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Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by Opensignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Upload Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average upload speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time Opensignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Regional Performance

This chart shows the regional winners in each category Opensignal measures. Click on the icons to see a more detailed graph showing each operator’s metrics in a particular region.

Legend: Telstra Optus Vodafone
RegionDownload Speed: 4GDownload Speed: OverallUpload Speed: 4GLatency: 4GAvailability: 4G

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In Australia, 4G reach and mobile broadband speeds have always been high, but they both continue to grow, achieving new heights. In our most current analysis, Australia's operators hit two new milestones. We saw our first operator surpass the 90% 4G availability mark, while another operator became the first to exceed 40 Mbps speeds in download connections in our measurements.

In our fourth report on the Australian mobile market, OpenSignal analyzed nearly 426 million measurements, collected from 31,735 devices between July 1 and Sept. 28, 2018. We compared the 3G and 4G metrics of Australia's three national operators: Singtel's Optus, Telstra and Vodafone Australia. We also delved deep into our regional data to analyze our metrics in five of Australia's biggest cities. Let's start first with our speed metrics.

A new king of speed emerges

Australia has always had a reputation for building powerful networks, and one network in particular began to rear its head in our latest analysis. Telstra jumped into the lead in our 4G download speed metric. It won our award with an average download of 40.1 Mbps, making it the first operator to cross over the 40-Mbps threshold in our Australia analysis. In our last report, Vodafone came within a hair's breadth of hitting the 40-Mbps mark itself, but rather than make the final push over the line in this test period, Vodafone's average 4G download speed dropped slightly in our measurements. Both Vodafone and Optus, however, can still claim incredibly fast LTE connections as our results show both averaged 4G download speeds just under 38 Mbps.

In 4G upload speed, Telstra didn't face much competition. Its average upload connection of 10.8 Mbps was at least 24% faster than its competitors’ in our analysis. Optus, however, pulled off a coup in 3G download, moving past Vodafone to win our award with an average HSPA connection speed of 7.1 Mbps.

Optus's biggest win came in our 4G availability category. It climbed to the top of our rankings in 4G availability in our latest analysis, surpassing Vodafone with a score of 90.5%. That means our users were able to find an LTE signal on Optus' networks in nine out of every 10 attempts. Optus became the first operator in Australia to exceed 90% 4G availability in our results, but its two competitors were hot on its heels. Telstra and Vodafone both had 4G availability scores over 88% in our measurements.

That brings us to our overall download speed metric, which factors in 3G and 4G download speeds and the availability of each technology. Optus's gains in both 4G download speed and 4G availability led to a significant increase in its overall score, bringing it to 33.8 Mbps. Meanwhile the drop we recorded in previous winner Vodafone's 4G download speed resulted in a decline of over 1 Mbps in overall speed to 33 Mbps — and the loss of its lead in the category. Telstra emerged as the winner in our tests with an impressive average overall download score of 35.1 Mbps, largely due to its uptick in 4G speed.

In latency, Vodafone emerged as the winner of our 4G category. Latency measures the response time of a network, and a lower latency score means that web content will begin loading quicker and real-time communications apps will experience less lag time. Vodafone had a superb LTE latency score of 30 milliseconds, allowing it to hold onto its award since our last report. But Optus is closing the gap with Vodafone in this metric. Our results show that Optus's response time improved by 2ms in the last six months, and in our most recent analysis Optus was within a millisecond of matching Vodafone. In 3G latency, we had a tie between Optus and Vodafone, both of which had scores just above 60ms.

Telstra's speed dominance extends to the cities

Telstra's national wins in 4G speed and overall speed were reflected in its results in several of Australia's big cities, but it did face some competition in a few urban areas. In Melbourne, Vodafone won our 4G download speed award, and in Adelaide Optus and Telstra shared the same prize. Telstra and Vodafone were tied for the awards in overall download speed in Melbourne and 4G upload speed in Perth. However Telstra grabbed every other speed award in the five cities. Its 4G download win in Sydney was particularly impressive as its average connection reached nearly 47 Mbps in our measurements.

4G availability was a much more contested metric on the regional level. Though Optus was our national winner in this metric, Telstra and Vodafone put up a much bigger fight in Australia's biggest cities. Telstra won our our 4G availability award outright in Sydney, but in the other four cities we recorded two-or three-way draws between the operators.

The mobile broadband future of Australia looks bright. It will only be a matter of time before Australia's other operators pass the 90% 4G availability and 40 Mbps 4G download speed marks, so the country will be one to watch in our coming reports.

Our Methodology

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 425,811,023 datapoints were collected from 31,735 users during the period: 2018-07-01 - 2018-09-28.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

Opensignal Limited retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by Opensignal Limited may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.