Mobile Network Experience Report Australia April 2020

Australia

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2020

Opensignal Active Userbase in Australia
Total Devices
165,772
Total Measurements
646,445,225
Data Collection Period
Jan 01 Mar 30, 2020

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 takes the lead in Australia’s major cities

In Opensignal’s regional analysis of six of the largest cities in Australia, Telstra is the operator to beat. The wireless carrier won awards in more cities in each of our metrics than any other operator. In Download Speed Experience, Telstra was the winner in five cities and tied with Optus in one city. We also saw the download speed Telstra users enjoy soar to 73.4 Mbps in Adelaide, which was 26.1% higher than its national score of 47.3 Mbps.

Telstra and Optus tie in first-ever Games Experience ranking

Playing multiplayer mobile games over cellular networks is a good experience for Opensignal users in Australia. We compared experience in 6 major cities and Telstra was the leader in Games Experience in five of those six, with scores in the Excellent category. On a national level, Telstra and Optus statisticallytied in our first-ever analysis of Australian Games Experience with scores of 80.9 and 80.5 respectively on a scale of 0-100. Both these scores fall into the Good category (75-85), which means that most users found the gaming experience to be acceptable with very little delay. Vodafone had a slightly lower score of 77.4, but also landed in the Good category.

All three operators score Excellent ratings for Video Experience

Australian operators continue to deliver on Video Experience for their users. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all earned Excellent ratings (75 and above on a 0-100 scale) in Video Experience, that means users enjoy a very consistent experience with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling. At city level, Telstra was the winner in four of the six cities we compared and tied for the lead with Vodafone in the other two cities. All operators improved Video Experience from Very Good to Excellent since our last report.

Telstra maintains its lead in Voice App Experience

For the second time in a row Telstra won Opensignal's Voice App Experience award, which assesses the perceived quality of voice communication apps such as WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook Messenger. Telstra scored 81.6 putting it in the Good category (80-87 on a 0-100 scale) in terms of user experience. Optus and Vodafone also scored in the Good category with scores of 81.1 and 80.3 respectively.

Telstra takes the top award again in Download Speed Experience

Telstra once again was the top winner in download speed. The operator, which won the Download Speed Experience category in April 2019 and October 2019, has won again this time with a score of 47.3 Mbps, a 2.8 Mbps increase from its score of 44.5 Mbps in our last report. Optus saw no change to its Download Speed Experience, with a score of 41.6 Mbps for the second time in a row. Vodafone, however, saw its score decrease slightly from 37.2 Mbps last October to 36 Mbps in this latest report.

Telstra scores highest in 4G Coverage Experience

In 4G Coverage Experience, a new Opensignal metric that measures the mobile coverage experience in all the locations that matter most to everyday users, such as all the places where they live, work and travel, Telstra was the winner with a score of 9.7 on a scale of 0 to10. Optus was next with a score of 9.0 followed by Vodafone with a score of 7.9. In addition, all three of Australia’s national operators have surpassed the 90% mark in 4G Availability. A higher score in 4G Coverage Experience means Telstra subscribers can access 4G in more locations than on other mobile networks in Australia.

Introduction

In our report last October, 5G was just beginning to gain a foothold in the country. Fast-forward six months and 5G is now much more prevalent. Telstra, which was the first operator in the country to commercially offer 5G, now has the service available in 46 cities. Optus, meanwhile, said in February that it planned to have 1,200 5G sites enabled by the end of March, that’s up from 165 5G sites last October. Vodafone also has launched 5G in Parramatta, New South Wales, and plans to have about 650 5G sites deployed in the country by mid-year.

While 5G may be the focus for Australian operators, 4G continues to play a vital role because it is the network generation that handles the vast majority of users’ traffic and is the technology that most smartphones are using. Additionally, the early 5G networks continue to rely on 4G connections in order to operate because they use 5G non-standalone access. All three of Australia’s national operators have surpassed the 90% mark in 4G Availability and Optus is approaching the coveted 95% mark with a score of 94.9%.

In Opensignal’s first-ever Games Experience Award, we learned that Australians have a pretty good experience when playing multiplayer mobile games over wireless networks. All three of Australia’s national operators scored in the Good category (75-85 on a 0-100 scale). If you’d like to see how your favorite gaming apps are performing with your current internet speed, download Opensignal’s Meteor app, available for Android and iOS.

In this report, we've analyzed the mobile network experience of Australia’s three national operators in the 90 days starting January 1, 2020. We monitored the network experience at a national level and across six cities, to see how Telstra, Optus and Vodafone performed.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Australia
April 2020, Australia Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
April 2020, Australia
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
April 2020, Australia
Video Experience
Games Experience
Upload Speed Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
75.8
Optus
75.3
Vodafone
75.7
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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National Analysis

Video Experience

When it comes to delivering video over a smartphone, the operators in Australia provided a strong experience for our users. In fact, all three operators earned Excellent scores (75 and above) on our 0-100 point scale. There was a statistical tie in this category with Telstra scoring a 75.8 and Vodafone scoring a 75.7. Optus was only slightly behind the other two with a score of 75.3.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
75.8
Optus
75.3
Vodafone
75.7
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
77.8 (± 0.18) 76.5 (± 0.21) 78.0 (± 0.26)
3G Video Experience
51.7 (± 1.22) 57.7 (± 1.54) 49.5 (± 2.33)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
78 (± 0.18)
77 (± 0.21)
78 (± 0.26)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
52 (± 1.22)
58 (± 1.54)
50 (± 2.33)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

This metric quantifies the quality of video streamed to a mobile device over 3G and 4G networks. An Excellent rating means that there was a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling.

When we look solely at the 4G Video Experience, Vodafone and Telstra are statistically tied with a score of 78 and 77.8 respectively; Optus is third with a score of 76.5, which means that all three operators are solidly in the Excellent Video Experience category.

In 3G Video Experience only Optus scored in the Good category (55-65 on our 100-point scale) with a score of 57.7. The other two operators fell into the Fair category (40-55), with Telstra scoring a 51.7 and Vodafone scoring a 49.5.

Games Experience

Opensignal measured the mobile gaming experience in Australia for the first time and we learned that our users in Australia have a pretty decent experience playing multiplayer games over a cellular network. Telstra and Optus drew for the top spot with Telstra scoring 80.9 and Optus scoring 80.5. Vodafone followed with a score of 77.4. All three operators fall into the Good Category (75-85) on a scale of 0-100. This means that most users found the experience acceptable and did not experience a delay between their actions and the game.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
80.9
Optus
80.5
Vodafone
77.4
Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Games Experience
85.0 (± 0.01) 85.0 (± 0.29) 85.0 (± 0.02)
3G Games Experience
39.4 (± 0.27) 38.6 (± 0.34) 35.1 (± 0.52)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Games Experience in 0-100 points
85 (± 0.01)
85 (± 0.29)
85 (± 0.02)
3G Games Experience in 0-100 points
39 (± 0.27)
39 (± 0.34)
35 (± 0.52)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Opensignal’s newly released Games Experience metric measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. The metric is measured on a scale of 0-100 and looks at how the user experience is impacted by network conditions such as latency, packet loss and jitter.

This approach was developed from several years of research looking at the relationship between the technical network parameters and the gaming experience as reported by real mobile users. These parameters include latency (round trip time), jitter (variability of latency) and packet loss (the proportion of data packets that never reach their destination). Additionally, it considers multiple genres of multiplayer mobile games to measure the average sensitivity to network conditions. The games tested include some of the most popular real-time multiplayer mobile games (such as Fortnite, Minecraft and PUBG) played around the world.

Voice App Experience

The use of voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger has become more popular thanks to ubiquitous data coverage. Opensignal measured the quality of our users’ experience on these apps by using a 100-point scale model, which is derived from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)-based approach for quantifying overall voice quality.

All three of Australia’s national operators scored in the Good category for Voice App Experience, which means they scored between 80-87 on a scale of 0-100. Telstra once again won the award with a score of 81.6, while Optus took second place with a score of 81.1. Vodafone followed with a score of 80.3. A Good rating means that many users were satisfied. But some might have experienced minor call quality problems such as clicking sounds or occasional distortion.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Telstra
81.6
Optus
81.1
Vodafone
80.3
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 (± 0.12) 81.8 (± 0.14) 81.6 (± 0.21)
3G Voice App Experience
72.4 (± 0.54) 70.6 (± 0.69) 64.9 (± 1.10)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
82 (± 0.12)
82 (± 0.14)
82 (± 0.21)
3G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
72 (± 0.54)
71 (± 0.69)
65 (± 1.10)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

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

In the 4G Voice App Experience Telstra was again in first place with a score of 82.3 followed by Optus and Vodafone, which statistically tied for second place with scores of 81.8 and 81.6, respectively. All three of these scores fall into the Good category.

Not surprisingly, all three operators’ rankings dropped in the 3G Voice App Experience category. Telstra ranked first with a score of 72.4 and Optus came in second with a score of 70.6, which puts both operators in the Poor category (66-74). Vodafone with a 64.9 score falls into the Very Poor category, which is a decline from our last report when Vodafone’s 3G Voice App Experience was 67.1. A Poor ranking means that many users were dissatisfied because of call quality problems such as distortion, clicking sounds or silence. A Very Poor ranking means that most users were dissatisfied and experienced significant call quality problems.

Download Speed Experience

In our latest Download Speed Experience test, Telstra clocked speeds of 47.3 Mbps (a 6.2% increase over its score of 44.5 Mbps in our last report) and retained its title as the fastest in this category. It was followed by Optus with speeds of 41.6 Mbps and Vodafone came in third with 36 Mbps. Interestingly, Telstra appears to be the only operator that improved its users’ download speed experience. Optus’ 41.6 Mbps rating was exactly the same as it had in our last report, while Vodafone’s Download Speed Experience decreased by 3.2% from 37.2 Mbps.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
47.3
Optus
41.6
Vodafone
36.0
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
50.4 (± 0.41) 43.9 (± 0.41) 38.7 (± 0.46)
3G Download Speed
5.8 (± 0.14) 5.7 (± 0.15) 5.1 (± 0.25)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
50 (± 0.41)
44 (± 0.41)
39 (± 0.46)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
6 (± 0.14)
6 (± 0.15)
5 (± 0.25)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

When evaluating Australia’s 4G Download Speeds exclusively, Telstra again was the only operator to see its speed increase since our last report from 49.1 Mbps to 50.4 Mbps. Optus’ 4G Download Speed decreased from 45.1 Mbps to 43.9 Mbps and Vodafone’s declined from 40.8 Mbps to 38.7 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience

Telstra tied with Vodafone in Upload Speed Experience with scores of 9.9 Mbps and 9.8 Mbps. Optus came in third place with 8.6 Mbps. It is notable that Telstra’s score of 9.9 Mbps is a decline from our last report when we recorded Telstra having a score of 10.2 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Telstra
9.9
Optus
8.6
Vodafone
9.8
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
10.7 (± 0.07) 9.2 (± 0.09) 10.5 (± 0.14)
3G Upload Speed
0.9 (± 0.03) 1.1 (± 0.05) 1.3 (± 0.10)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
11 (± 0.07)
9 (± 0.09)
11 (± 0.14)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.03)
1 (± 0.05)
1 (± 0.10)
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Interestingly, when we look at 4G Upload Speeds Telstra’s score dropped here as well from 11.2 Mbps in our last report to 10.7 Mbps in this report. Optus increased its 4G Upload Speed slightly from 9.1 Mbps to 9.2 Mbps and Vodafone increased its 4G Upload Speed from 9.8 Mbps to 10.5 Mbps.

4G Availability

4G Availability among Australia’s operators continues to be an interesting area to watch. Optus won this category with a score of 94.9%, up from 93.2% in our last report. Telstra increased its 4G Availability by 2.5 percentage points to 93.6% from 91.1% putting it in second place. Meanwhile Vodafone came in third with 93.4%, which was only a slight improvement from its score of 93.1% in our last report. We previously predicted that Telstra’s 4G Availability percentage would likely increase because the operator announced it would be sunsetting its 3G network and boosting its 4G coverage in preparation for that shutdown.

4G Availability
% of time
Telstra
93.6
Optus
94.9
Vodafone
93.4
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Availability is strong in Australia, which is a mature market with extensive LTE coverage. But all three national operators are now focusing much of their efforts on deploying 5G so we may see them slow their 4G network improvements.

4G Coverage Experience

Telstra was the winner in Opensignal’s first-ever 4G Coverage Experience with a score of 9.7 on a scale of 1-10. Optus came in second with a score of 9.0 and Vodafone came in third with a score of 7.9. This metric is an important measurement in Australia, where much of the country’s population is concentrated in two widely separated coastal regions. With a score of 9.7, Telstra is concentrating its coverage in areas that are highly trafficked by its customers.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Telstra
9.7
Optus
9.0
Vodafone
7.9
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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The 4G Coverage Experience metric measures how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network in all locations that matter to everyday users, such as where they live, work and travel.

Regional Analysis

In our regional analysis, we compared six large cities in Australia using our six key metrics. There were some interesting regional results that differed from the national results and Telstra was a standout in several cities.

At a regional level Telstra was the leader in Video Experience in four cities but tied with Vodafone in two — Brisbane and Canberra-Queanbeyan.

Likewise, in Games Experience Telstra was the leader in five cities but tied with Optus in just one city — Canberra-Queanbeyan.

Telstra won first place in the Voice App Experience in four cities but tied with Optus in Perth for the top spot and there was a three-way tie for this measure of the mobile experience in Canberra-Queanbeyan.

In Perth both Optus and Telstra also statistically tied for the lead in 4G Availability with Telstra scoring 95.7% and Optus scoring 96.1%. And in Canberra-Queanbeyan all three operators had strong 4G Availability scores (above 95%). There’s a strong likelihood that Voice App Experience is better when there is strong 4G Availability so it makes sense that those two metrics are aligned in those cities.

In our speed metrics, Telstra was the leader in Download Speed Experience in five cities but tied with Optus in Canberra-Queanbeyan. In Adelaide we saw Telstra’s Download Speed Experience soar to 73.4 Mbps, which was 55.2% higher than its national score of 47.3 Mbps.

In Upload Speed Experience, Telstra won in three cities and tied in two cities. Vodafone won in Canberra-Queanbeyan where it had upload speeds of 12.2 Mbps.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Adelaide

Video Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
81.7
Optus
78.5
Vodafone
79.4
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Games Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
85.1
Optus
80.7
Vodafone
85.0
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Voice App Experience
in Adelaide
in 0-100 points
Telstra
83.8
Optus
81.9
Vodafone
82.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
73.4
Optus
53.0
Vodafone
43.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Adelaide
in Mbps
Telstra
12.6
Optus
9.6
Vodafone
11.1
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4G Availability
in Adelaide
in %
Telstra
97.5
Optus
97.0
Vodafone
96.5
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Brisbane

Video Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
78.9
Optus
75.5
Vodafone
79.3
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Games Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
85.1
Optus
83.3
Vodafone
84.9
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Voice App Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Telstra
83.1
Optus
81.5
Vodafone
81.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
62.0
Optus
44.0
Vodafone
42.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Telstra
12.3
Optus
7.4
Vodafone
11.5
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4G Availability
in Brisbane
in %
Telstra
96.1
Optus
95.8
Vodafone
95.1
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Canberra–Queanbeyan

Video Experience
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in 0-100 points
Telstra
77.3
Optus
76.5
Vodafone
78.9
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Games Experience
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in 0-100 points
Telstra
85.1
Optus
85.0
Vodafone
80.1
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Voice App Experience
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.3
Optus
82.3
Vodafone
80.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in Mbps
Telstra
45.6
Optus
46.0
Vodafone
38.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in Mbps
Telstra
9.5
Optus
8.7
Vodafone
12.2
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4G Availability
in Canberra–Queanbeyan
in %
Telstra
96.1
Optus
95.6
Vodafone
97.3
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Melbourne

Video Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
78.2
Optus
75.8
Vodafone
77.1
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Games Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
85.0
Optus
82.5
Vodafone
81.9
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Voice App Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.5
Optus
81.3
Vodafone
80.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
52.8
Optus
40.4
Vodafone
40.4
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Upload Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Telstra
11.3
Optus
9.9
Vodafone
10.8
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4G Availability
in Melbourne
in %
Telstra
96.5
Optus
95.9
Vodafone
95.4
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Perth

Video Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
78.2
Optus
76.5
Vodafone
76.9
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Games Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
75.3
Optus
73.3
Vodafone
70.5
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Voice App Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.3
Optus
81.6
Vodafone
80.5
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Download Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
55.5
Optus
49.0
Vodafone
37.7
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Upload Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Telstra
9.9
Optus
8.3
Vodafone
9.3
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4G Availability
in Perth
in %
Telstra
95.7
Optus
96.1
Vodafone
92.8
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Sydney

Video Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
78.5
Optus
75.8
Vodafone
75.0
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Games Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
85.1
Optus
85.0
Vodafone
80.0
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Voice App Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Telstra
82.8
Optus
81.2
Vodafone
80.2
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Download Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
57.3
Optus
45.1
Vodafone
32.8
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Upload Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Telstra
12.1
Optus
9.4
Vodafone
10.0
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4G Availability
in Sydney
in %
Telstra
95.5
Optus
94.6
Vodafone
93.4
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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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