Mobile Network Experience Report Australia April 2019

Australia

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Australia
Total Devices
110,270
Total Measurements
489,687,564
Data Collection Period
Jan 01 Mar 31, 2019

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Kevin Fitchard Principal Analyst

Summary

It won't be long before Opensignal starts tracking 5G speeds, latency and Video Experience in Australia. Operators are actively deploying 5G cell sites and intend to start selling the first 5G-capable smartphones in the first half of 2019. But for now at least, those services aren't commercially available. Luckily for Australian consumers, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have excellent 4G services to tide them over before the 5G revolution kicks off.

Mobile Experience Awards April 2019, Australia Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
April 2019, Australia
4G Availability
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
April 2019, Australia
Video Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image

Key findings

4G Availability continues its steady rise

Optus held onto our award in 4G Availability with a score of 91.9%, but in this test period Vodafone joined it above the 90% mark. Access to 4G services is increasing, and by our next report, we expect all three of Australia's national operators to be able to offer a 4G signal to our users more than 90% of the time.

Vodafone and Telstra are deadlocked in Video Experience

All three operators earned Very Good ratings in our Video Experience metric, meaning video loaded quickly and experienced only occasional interruptions during playback at both low and high resolutions. Telstra and Vodafone tied for our Video Experience award, but there was very little difference between the three operators' scores.

Telstra crosses the 40 Mbps mark in Download Speed Experience

Telstra hit a major milestone in our latest analysis, pushing past 40 Mbps in Download Speed Experience. No one can fault any Australian operator for slow connections, though. All three operators had Download Speed Experience scores over 30 Mbps.

Optus and Vodafone battle over our Latency Experience award

Australia isn't just known for powerful network connections. It's always had highly nimble networks as well. Optus and Vodafone, however, definitely had the edge over Telstra, drawing for ourLatency Experience award, both with overall network response times below 35 milliseconds.

National Analysis

4G Availability

Australia's already impressive 4G Availability continues to climb higher. In Opensignal's last report, Optus became the first Australian operator to reach the 90% 4G Availability milestone, and in this analysis we have a second, Vodafone. Telstra is on the verge of the same accomplishment with a score of 89.4%.

4G Availability
in %
Telstra
89.4
Optus
91.9
Vodafone
90.3
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
Download Image

We typically see 4G Availability scores of 90% in countries with very mature and very extensive LTE rollouts, for which Australia definitely qualifies. Australia's achievement is that much more impressive, though, as it is vast in size. Reaching 90% 4G Availability in a city-state like Singapore or a densely populated, compact country like South Korea is an easier feat. What's more, Australian operators are continuing to grow their 4G Availability scores, though we're starting to see more incremental increases as Australia prepares for its 5G launches.

Video Experience

One of the most important applications on smartphones today is video, and when it comes to delivering streamed video to the handset, Australia aced our tests. All three operators earned Very Good scores (65-75) in our 100-point Video Experience scale, which indicates little wait time before video begins rendering and only occasional stalling during playback even at higher resolutions. Very Good is only one grade shy of our best possible rating, Excellent, which is very difficult to hit under current 4G technologies.

Only a handful of individual operators globally have achieved Excellent Video Experience scores, and only when we limit our analysis to 4G connections. Though all of Australia's operators were very close in this metric, with less than 1.5 points separating all three, Telstra and Vodafone ultimately shared our Video Experience award as both had a slight edge over Optus.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
69.0
Optus
67.6
Vodafone
68.9
0 17.5 35 52.5 70
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
72.8 (± 0.35) 70.1 (± 0.42) 71.5 (± 0.49)
3G Video Experience
41.5 (± 1.61) 46.4 (± 1.86) 50.2 (± 2.29)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
73 (± 0.35)
70 (± 0.42)
72 (± 0.49)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
42 (± 1.61)
46 (± 1.86)
50 (± 2.29)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

When we break out 4G Video Experience in Australia, we see that Telstra was closest to broaching the Excellent line with a score of 72.8. All three operators, however, had 4G Video Experience scores over 70. And though providing high quality video over 3G connections is difficult, all three operators garnered Fair ratings in 3G Video Experience. Even when limited to slower HSPA networks, Australian users often have a good enough connection to be able to view video with at least a Fair experience.

Download Speed Experience

Australia has built some of the world's most powerful LTE networks, which is clearly evident in our download metrics. Users of all three national operators had Download Speed Experience scores greater than 30 Mbps, but one operator, Telstra managed to exceed the 40 Mbps mark, putting it among an elite class of operators globally. Needless to say, Telstra's score of 41.1 Mbps was a lock for our Download Speed Experience award.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
41.1
Optus
36.4
Vodafone
32.8
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
46.1 (± 0.61) 40.0 (± 0.66) 36.5 (± 0.70)
3G Download Speed
5.5 (± 0.17) 6.3 (± 0.22) 5.8 (± 0.30)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Download Speed in Mbps
46 (± 0.61)
40 (± 0.66)
37 (± 0.70)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
5 (± 0.17)
6 (± 0.22)
6 (± 0.30)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

While Australia's 3G services are by no means slow, its 4G services are the main determining factor in Download Speed Experience scores. When we look at 4G Download Speeds exclusively, we find Telstra again ahead of the pack with an average download of 46.1 Mbps. Optus also broke the 40 Mbps barrier in 4G Download Speed, while Vodafone averaged downstream connections of 36.5 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience

Telstra won our Upload Speed Experience award with a score of 9.3 Mbps, but all three operators’ users had relatively fast upload connections in our measurements, all above 7 Mbps. When we break down 3G versus 4G connections, we find the upload speeds we measured on Australia's HSPA networks limited to around 1 Mbps, but 4G Download Speeds for all three operators were greater than 8 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
9.3
Optus
7.2
Vodafone
7.8
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
10.4 (± 0.13) 8.0 (± 0.13) 8.7 (± 0.19)
3G Upload Speed
0.9 (± 0.04) 0.9 (± 0.05) 1.1 (± 0.09)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
10 (± 0.13)
8 (± 0.13)
9 (± 0.19)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.04)
1 (± 0.05)
1 (± 0.09)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience in Australia was about 25% of Download Speed Experience, which, while not unusual globally, does highlight the growing gap between downstream and upstream capabilities. As smartphones become more powerful, they're being heavily relied on for more upstream-intensive applications like video chat and video sharing. As more mobile consumers move toward content creation rather than mere content consumption, we expect operators will need to begin investing more in upload capacity to ensure they maintain a good mobile experience.

Latency Experience

Latency is one of the least understood measures of a network's capabilities. It's a gauge of a network's response time, and a low-latency connection can mean less lag time in real-time communications apps, faster loading webpages and videos and a better mobile gaming experience. All three of Australia's operators’ users enjoyed low Latency Experience scores, though two stood out. Both Vodafone and Optus had overall latencies below 35 milliseconds, drawing for our Latency Experience award.

Latency Experience
in ms
Telstra
41.8
Optus
34.6
Vodafone
34.4
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
38.6 (± 0.20) 32.0 (± 0.20) 31.7 (± 0.23)
3G Latency
64.7 (± 1.16) 55.5 (± 1.23) 53.9 (± 2.10)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Latency in ms
39 (± 0.20)
32 (± 0.20)
32 (± 0.23)
3G Latency in ms
65 (± 1.16)
56 (± 1.23)
54 (± 2.10)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

In our breakdown of latency by technology, we find both Optus and Vodafone creeping close to the 30ms milestone for 4G Latency. That's a mark few operators have passed in our measurements, and we likely won't see huge improvements beyond 30ms until the next generation of mobile networks get off the ground. When full-fledged 5G networks appear — using both 5G new radio access networks and cores — latency is expected to fall closer to 1ms.

Regional Analysis

In our regional analysis, we compared Australia's five largest cities in our five primary metrics. There were quite a few surprises as local results didn't necessarily mirror national results. In 4G Availability, Optus wasn't the undisputed winner in 4G Availability in any of the five cities, drawing with Telstra or Vodafone for our awards. Typically operators focus their network investments in urban areas, and we definitely see evidence of that here, resulting in much more parity in our results. 4G Availability scores were exceptional in these markets, exceeding 94% in a few cases.

In Video Experience, Telstra dominated our awards in every city except Perth, improving on its national Video Experience scores in every case. In Latency Experience our two national winners traded awards in the five cities.

In our speed metrics, though, Telstra replicated its sizable leads in both Download and Upload Speed Experience in nearly every city. What was surprising was the magnitude of many of the scores we recorded in Download Speed Experience. In Adelaide, Telstra's Download Speed Experience exceeded 60 Mbps, while it was greater than 50 Mbps in Brisbane and Perth.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Adelaide

4G Availability
in Adelaide
in %
Telstra
94.1
Optus
93.5
Vodafone
95.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
73.0
Optus
68.6
Vodafone
70.2
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
63.2
Optus
43.0
Vodafone
36.7
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
11.3
Optus
7.2
Vodafone
8.6
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Adelaide
in ms
Telstra
35.1
Optus
34.4
Vodafone
27.3
Download Image

Brisbane

4G Availability
in Brisbane
in %
Telstra
94.3
Optus
92.4
Vodafone
93.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
74.3
Optus
65.0
Vodafone
71.1
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
55.7
Optus
38.9
Vodafone
34.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
10.5
Optus
6.0
Vodafone
8.7
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Brisbane
in ms
Telstra
35.5
Optus
34.9
Vodafone
31.6
Download Image

Melbourne

4G Availability
in Melbourne
in %
Telstra
94.3
Optus
94.7
Vodafone
92.7
Download Image
Video Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
72.8
Optus
69.7
Vodafone
70.2
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
48.8
Optus
36.3
Vodafone
38.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
11.0
Optus
7.8
Vodafone
8.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Melbourne
in ms
Telstra
33.8
Optus
29.4
Vodafone
33.4
Download Image

Perth

4G Availability
in Perth
in %
Telstra
93.3
Optus
94.3
Vodafone
90.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
71.2
Optus
68.3
Vodafone
71.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
50.6
Optus
38.6
Vodafone
35.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
8.2
Optus
6.1
Vodafone
8.2
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Perth
in ms
Telstra
35.2
Optus
33.5
Vodafone
30.2
Download Image

Sydney

4G Availability
in Sydney
in %
Telstra
92.9
Optus
92.1
Vodafone
91.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
72.8
Optus
68.6
Vodafone
69.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
48.6
Optus
39.1
Vodafone
33.3
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
11.3
Optus
8.3
Vodafone
8.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Sydney
in ms
Telstra
32.4
Optus
31.6
Vodafone
33.0
Download Image
Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

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For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

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