Mobile Network Experience Report Australia October 2019

Australia

Mobile Network Experience Report
October 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Australia
Total Devices
198,349
Total Measurements
284,920,158
Data Collection Period
Jul 01 Sep 28, 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
Sue Marek Insights Analyst

Key findings

Telstra edges out Optus and Vodafone in Voice App Experience

Telstra became the first operator in Australia to win Opensignal's new Voice App Experience award. This award assesses the perceived quality of voice calls on communication apps such as WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook Messenger. Telstra scored 81.3 on a scale of 1-100, putting it in the Good category in terms of user experience. Optus also scored a Good ranking with a score of 80.6. Of the three national carriers, only Vodafone dropped into the Acceptable category with its 79.3 score.

All three operators deliver on Video Experience

Video continues to be a priority for all three Australian operators. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all earned Very Good ratings in Video Experience, meaning video loaded quickly and users experienced only occasional interruptions during playback at both low and high resolutions. In fact, there was very little difference between the three operators’ scores in the Video Experience category, with less than half a point separating all three.

Telstra nears 45 Mbps in Download Speed Experience

Telstra continues to make big strides in users’ download speed. Download Speed Experience on the operator’s network — which topped 40 Mbps in our April 2019 report— is now almost hitting 45 Mbps. Telstra wins our Download Experience award with a download speed of 44.5 Mbps. Optus also pushed past the 40 Mbps milestone for the first time scoring 41.6 Mbps. Vodafone is in third place but with a respectable 37.2 Mbps score.

4G Availability hits its stride as all operators score above 90%

As we predicted in our last report, all three of Australia’s national operators are now able to offer a 4G signal to our users more than 90 percent of the time. Vodafone finally closed the gap with Optus and both operators tied for our 4G Availability award. It will be interesting to see if Telstra’s 4G Availability increases significantly as the operator just announced that it will be sunsetting its 3G network by 2024 to clear its spectrum for 5G, while it also plans to boost its 4G coverage to match its 3G network.

Introduction

5G is beginning to make an appearance in Australia. Telstra currently has commercial 5G coverage in parts of 10 cities and Optus said it has enabled about 165 5G sites so far. Vodafone, meanwhile, is preparing its network for 5G and has acquired spectrum holdings in the 3.6GHz band.

Although it’s still very early days in 5G, Opensignal recently analyzed the maximum real-world 5G speeds experienced by our users in eight countries. In Australia, Opensignal users with 5G devices clocked a fastest download speed of 1.29 Gbps.

With two of the three national operators launching 5G services commercially in parts of the country, we have also included our 5G users’ measurements in our overall metric categories to understand the true user experience as the usage of new technology grows.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Australia
October 2019, Australia Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
October 2019, Australia
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2019, Australia
4G Availability
Video Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
4G Availability
% of time
Telstra
91.1
Optus
93.2
Vodafone
93.1
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

4G Availability

4G Availability among Australia’s operators continues to grow. Vodafone closed the gap with Optus and is tied for first place. Optus had a score of 93.2% while Vodafone had a score of 93.1%. Testra also crossed the 90% threshold for the first time with a 91.1% score up from 89.4% in our last report.

4G Availability
% of time
Telstra
91.1
Optus
93.2
Vodafone
93.1
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

4G Availability is strong in Australia, which is a mature market with extensive LTE adoption. It’s notable that these three national operators are still improving their 4G Availability even as two of them are deploying 5G in some cities. Telstra’s 4G Availability will likely continue to increase because the operator just announced it will be sunsetting its 3G network and will boost its 4G coverage to match its 3G network as it prepares for that shutdown.

Opensignal recently compared the wireless experience of rural and urban users in Australia. In cities, our users experienced very similar levels of 4G Availability on all three networks. However, outside the cities, the time users spend connected to 4G falls markedly, particularly more so for Vodafone users than for Telstra or Optus.

Video Experience

When it comes to delivering video over a smartphone, the operators in Australia provided a strong experience for all our users. In fact, there was a three-way tie in this category with all operators earning Very Good scores (65-75) on our 100-point Video Experience scale. This metric quantifies the quality of video streamed to a mobile device over 3G and 4G networks. A Very Good rating indicates that loading times are generally fast with only occasional stalling. The experience might be somewhat inconsistent across users or with different video providers or differing resolutions.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
70.4
Optus
70.2
Vodafone
70.1
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
73.6 (± 0.31) 72.2 (± 0.35) 72.8 (± 0.43)
3G Video Experience
43.4 (± 1.85) 49.8 (± 2.03) 46.7 (± 3.25)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
74 (± 0.31)
72 (± 0.35)
73 (± 0.43)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
43 (± 1.85)
50 (± 2.03)
47 (± 3.25)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

The three Australian operators’ scores were very close, with Telstra achieving a 70.4 rating, Optus hitting a 70.2 score and Vodafone coming in only slightly lower with a 70.1 rating. Since our last report, Optus increased its score by 3.9% from 67.6 to 70.2 making it the most improved.

It is notable that when we break out the 4G Video Experience in Australia, Telstra achieves a 73.6 rating on the 100-point scale — meaning it's a little more than one point away from earning an Excellent Video Experience rating. Only a few operators globally have achieved an Excellent Video Experience rating.

The Australian operators, however, didn’t fare quite as well with their 3G Video Experience ratings. All three earned Fair ratings (40-55) on our 100-point scale. It should be noted that delivering quality video on a 3G connection is a challenge. Vodafone scored a 46.7, which is a 7% decline from its score of 50.2 points in our previous report. Both Optus and Telstra saw their scores increase from the prior report.

Voice App Experience

The use of voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger is becoming more popular thanks to ubiquitous mobile broadband. These apps offer a new way for users to talk to each other and Opensignal is now measuring the quality of our users’ experience on these apps.

In Opensignal’s inaugural Voice App Experience analysis in Australia, Telstra is the winner with a score of 81.3 on a 100-point scale. That puts Telstra in the Good category (80-87), which means most users on its network were satisfied with the voice app experience but some users might have experienced minor quality problems such as background noise, clicking or other distortion.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
81.3
Optus
80.6
Vodafone
79.3
Impossible to communicate Unintelligible Very Poor Poor Acceptable Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Voice App Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Voice App Experience
82.3 (± 0.24) 81.6 (± 0.33) 80.6 (± 0.49)
3G Voice App Experience
72.9 (± 1.14) 70.7 (± 1.81) 67.1 (± 2.93)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
82 (± 0.24)
82 (± 0.33)
81 (± 0.49)
3G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
73 (± 1.14)
71 (± 1.81)
67 (± 2.93)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Optus landed in second place with a score of 80.6, also ranking in the Good category. Vodafone scored a 79.3 rating, which falls into the Acceptable category (74-80). An Acceptable ranking means that users were satisfied but some users may have experienced perceptible call quality issues such as short durations of clicking or distortion, or the sound may not have been loud enough. Nevertheless, listeners were generally able to comprehend the conversation.

No Australian operator fell below an Acceptable rating, which is explained by the high degree of 4G Availability from the Australian operators.

In addition to the Voice App Experience metric, Opensignal also reported on two supporting measurements related to the voice app — the 4G Voice App Experience and the 3G Voice App Experience.

The 4G Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for Opensignal users on an operator’s LTE connection. The 3G Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for Opensignal users on an operator’s 3G network.

In the 4G Voice App Experience Telstra earned an 82.3 and Optus scored an 81.6 on a scale of 1-100, giving them both a Good rating (80-87). Vodafone also achieved a Good rating with a score of 80.6. Not surprisingly, all three operators’ rankings dropped in the 3G Voice App Experience category. Telstra ranked first with a score of 72.9, followed by Optus with 70.7 and Vodafone on 67.1 — putting all three operator's 3G scores in the Poor category (66-74). A Poor ranking means that many users were dissatisfied because of call quality problems such as distortion, clicking sounds or silence.

Download Speed Experience

In our latest Download Speed Experience analysis, two of Australia’s operators clocked speeds in excess of 40 Mbps. Telstra was the winner of our Download Speed Experience award with our users on average experiencing download speeds of 44.5 Mbps. Optus was the second place winner with users’ speeds of 41.6 Mbps and Vodafone came in third with 37.2 Mbps.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
44.5
Optus
41.6
Vodafone
37.2
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
49.1 (± 0.58) 45.1 (± 0.61) 40.8 (± 0.75)
3G Download Speed
5.8 (± 0.17) 6.2 (± 0.21) 5.9 (± 0.42)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
49 (± 0.58)
45 (± 0.61)
41 (± 0.75)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
6 (± 0.17)
6 (± 0.21)
6 (± 0.42)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

When evaluating Australia’s 4G Download Speeds exclusively, our users on all three operators broke the 40 Mbps barrier for average speeds. Telstra was in the lead with 49.1 Mbps. Optus was in second place with 45.1 Mbps followed by Vodafone with 40.8 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience

Telstra once again won our Upload Speed Experience award with a score of 10.2 Mbps, followed by Vodafone with our users seeing speeds of 8.9 Mbps and Optus with 8.4 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
10.2
Optus
8.4
Vodafone
8.9
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
11.2 (± 0.12) 9.1 (± 0.13) 9.8 (± 0.20)
3G Upload Speed
1.0 (± 0.04) 1.0 (± 0.05) 1.3 (± 0.16)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
11 (± 0.12)
9 (± 0.13)
10 (± 0.20)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.04)
1 (± 0.05)
1 (± 0.16)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Interestingly, when we break down 3G versus 4G connections, we find our users on Telstra topping 11.2 Mbps in the 4G Upload Speeds they experience, while users on Vodafone had 9.8 Mbps in 4G Upload Speeds and Optus had 9.1 Mbps in 4G Upload Speeds. Our users when connecting on 3G networks from Telstra and Optus saw upload speeds of a respectable 1 Mbps while Vodafone users saw upload speeds of 1.3 Mbps.

Latency Experience

Latency is the one measurement in the world of mobile networks where low numbers are more desirable than high ones. Latency is the delay that happens when data is flowing over a network. Networks with small delays appear as having low latency. Networks with a lot of delays will have high latency. Smartphone users will have a better experience on low latency networks because that means that real-time communications apps will feel instantaneous, webpages will load more quickly, and mobile gaming experiences will be more fluid.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
Telstra
41.6
Optus
30.7
Vodafone
31.6
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
39.3 (± 0.19) 28.8 (± 0.13) 29.3 (± 0.19)
3G Latency
61.1 (± 0.94) 49.8 (± 0.94) 51.4 (± 2.51)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
39 (± 0.19)
29 (± 0.13)
29 (± 0.19)
3G Latency in ms
61 (± 0.94)
50 (± 0.94)
51 (± 2.51)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Opensignal users on all three of Australia’s networks enjoyed relatively low latency experiences but Optus stands out for users having the lowest latency of 30.7 milliseconds, and is the winner of our Latency Experience award. Vodafone is second with 31.6ms experienced by our users and Telstra is third with 41.6ms.

Opensignal also breaks out latency by network technology. In 4G Latency, users on Vodafone had a latency of 29.3ms and users on Optus had a latency of 28.8ms, which is considered a good experience in 4G networks. In 3G Latency we see a score of 49.8ms for our users on Optus and 51.4ms for those on Vodafone.

We don’t expect to see dramatic improvements in network latency until 5G networks are fully deployed. With 5G, the industry is aiming to improve network latency to just single-digits.

Regional Analysis

In our regional analysis, we compared Australia's five largest cities using our six key metrics. There were quite a few interesting tidbits in our regional results that differed from the national scores.

At a regional level, Telstra wasn’t the undisputed winner in our new Voice App Experience test. Optus tied with Telstra for first place in Voice App Experience in Adelaide, Perth, and Sydney. As we noted in our national results, Voice App Experience is better where there is wide 4G Availability so it’s not surprising that Optus performed better in three of the five biggest cities, where it has likely made considerable investment in its 4G network.

All three operators scored in the 80-point and higher range (on a scale of 1-100) on the Voice App Experience Test in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne, with Telstra dropping slightly below 80 points in Perth and Sydney.

In 4G Availability, Optus and Vodafone scored higher than Telstra at a national level but that didn’t happen at the regional level. In Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, Telstra exceeded 94% in 4G Availability for Opensignal users putting it on par or above rivals Optus and Vodafone in those cities.

In Video Experience, Telstra dominated our awards in every city except Melbourne, where it shared the top spot with Vodafone.

In our speed metrics, Telstra was the leader in both Download and Upload Speed Experience in every city. However, we saw some variability in Latency Experience. Optus, which was the winner on a national level, didn’t score the lowest in all cities. In Brisbane and Perth Vodafone achieved a lower latency score than the other operators. And it tied with Optus for the lowest latency in Adelaide.

It’s still early in 5G deployments but we think it’s interesting to note how Australia’s 5G download speeds are evolving even as we continue to measure the country’s 4G download speeds.

Australia delivers one of the fastest 5G network download speeds to Opensignal users. In a recent Opensignal report that analyzed eight countries where 5G has been deployed, we found that our 5G users in Australia saw maximum download speeds of 1.29 Gbps.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Adelaide

4G Availability
in Adelaide
in %
Telstra
94.9
Optus
95.2
Vodafone
97.3
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Video Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
78.1
Optus
70.8
Vodafone
71.1
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
83.0
Optus
81.5
Vodafone
80.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
66.1
Optus
45.1
Vodafone
40.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
12.5
Optus
7.9
Vodafone
10.4
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Adelaide
in ms
Telstra
32.2
Optus
28.8
Vodafone
30.0
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Brisbane

4G Availability
in Brisbane
in %
Telstra
94.9
Optus
94.2
Vodafone
95.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
75.8
Optus
70.1
Vodafone
73.3
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
83.4
Optus
81.8
Vodafone
81.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
56.4
Optus
43.8
Vodafone
42.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
12.5
Optus
7.7
Vodafone
9.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Brisbane
in ms
Telstra
38.8
Optus
30.1
Vodafone
27.9
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Melbourne

4G Availability
in Melbourne
in %
Telstra
95.6
Optus
94.8
Vodafone
94.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
73.7
Optus
71.7
Vodafone
73.2
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.2
Optus
80.3
Vodafone
80.2
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
48.4
Optus
41.4
Vodafone
44.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
11.1
Optus
9.2
Vodafone
10.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Melbourne
in ms
Telstra
34.5
Optus
26.8
Vodafone
29.8
Download Image

Perth

4G Availability
in Perth
in %
Telstra
95.9
Optus
93.1
Vodafone
90.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
73.6
Optus
70.0
Vodafone
70.9
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.6
Optus
81.2
Vodafone
78.5
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
54.6
Optus
44.5
Vodafone
35.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
10.0
Optus
7.3
Vodafone
8.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Perth
in ms
Telstra
33.0
Optus
30.0
Vodafone
28.8
Download Image

Sydney

4G Availability
in Sydney
in %
Telstra
95.1
Optus
93.8
Vodafone
94.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
73.8
Optus
70.6
Vodafone
69.3
Download Image
Voice App Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.5
Optus
81.7
Vodafone
79.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
58.9
Optus
45.7
Vodafone
36.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
12.5
Optus
9.7
Vodafone
9.6
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Sydney
in ms
Telstra
31.1
Optus
28.2
Vodafone
30.6
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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.

More about Methodology

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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.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

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