Mobile Network Experience Report Australia April 2021

Australia

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2021

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
Sam Fenwick Senior Analyst

Key findings

Vodafone wins the Video Experience award outright

For the first time since we added Video Experience to our Australian mobile network experience reports back in April 2019, there is an outright winner for this award. Vodafone is the sole winner with a score of 75.6 out of 100 — 1.4 points higher than Telstra’s score of 74.2 points. Telstra statistically tied with Vodafone for this award in our previous two reports, but this time Vodafone was able to break the deadlock thanks to a 1.2 point rise in its score. In addition to winning the Video Experience award, Vodafone is the only Australian operator to place in the Excellent (75 or above) category — both its rivals had to content themselves with a Very Good (65-75) rating instead.

Vodafone pulls level with Optus on 4G Availability

Optus won our 4G Availability outright in our previous two reports, but this time Vodafone has forced a statistical tie and as a result both operators are joint winners for this award. This change came about due to a drop of 0.8 percentage points in the proportion of time that our Optus users spent connected to 4G — which caused Optus’ score to fall below the 95% mark— and a 0.4 percentage point increase in Vodafone’s score. However, Telstra comfortably wins the 4G Coverage Experience award with a score of 9.7 on our ten point scale, indicating that our Telstra users enjoy 4G service in many more locations than our users connecting with either Optus (9.2) or Vodafone (8.0).

Telstra wins Download Speed Experience by a staggering 23.2%

With an average download speed of 48 Mbps our users experience much faster speeds using Telstra than on either Vodafone or Optus. Telstra’s lead is 9.1 Mbps (23.2%) over second-placed Vodafone’s score of 39 Mbps and 11.1 Mbps (30%) higher than Optus’ score of 37 Mbps. Also, Telstra wins every Opensignal regional Download Speed award as well as the national award.

Telstra and Vodafone accelerate away from Optus on download speeds

Our Telstra and Vodafone users have seen their average download speeds increase since our last report, rising by 2.8 Mbps (6.1%) and 1.4 Mbps (3.7%). In contrast, the speeds seen by their counterparts on Optus’ network have barely budged. In addition, while last time Optus and Vodafone were statistically tied for second-place, now Vodafone solely claims second place.

Introduction

Since our last report, there has been relatively little progress across our measures of the mobile experience with the notable exceptions being Download Speed Experience where Telstra and Vodafone saw their scores rise by 2.8 Mbps and 1.4 Mbps, and Video Experience with Vodafone’s score rising by 1.2 points. Telstra has successfully defended its outright wins on Voice App Experience, Download Speed Experience and 4G Coverage experience — the operator has held all three since our April 2020 report and remains the only operator to win the Voice App Experience award. Telstra has also now won the Download Speed Experience award outright for six reports in a row. However, Vodafone is now the outright winner of the Video Experience award after having tied with Telstra in our previous two reports. No operator has been able to break the three-way tie on Games Experience that arose last time, while Vodafone has managed to force a tie on 4G Availability and as a result now shares the award with Optus.

In this report, we've analyzed real-world data gathered in the 90 days starting January 1 and ending March 31, 2021 to see how Australia’s three national operators — Optus, Telstra and Vodafone — stack up. Our overall results include measurements using 5G as well as older network technology generations. We have also published a companion report — Australia 5G User Experience Report April 2021 — which analyzes the 5G mobile experience.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Australia
April 2021, Australia Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
April 2021, Australia
Video Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
4G Coverage Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
April 2021, Australia
Games Experience
4G Availability
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
73.3
Telstra
74.2
Vodafone
75.6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

Video Experience

Vodafone is the outright winner of our Video Experience award with a score of 75.6 out of 100 — 1.4 points higher than Telstra’s score of 74.2 points. Telstra statistically tied with Vodafone for this award in our previous two reports but this time Vodafone was able to break the deadlock thanks to a 1.2 point rise in its score. This is the first time that the Video Experience award has been won outright since we added it to our Australian mobile network experience reports back in April 2019. Vodafone is also the only Australian operator to place in the Excellent (75 or above) category — both its rivals had to content themselves with a Very Good (65-75) rating instead.

An Excellent rating for Video Experience indicates a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling. A Very Good rating on the other hand means that loading times were generally fast and that there was only occasional stalling but the experience might have been somewhat inconsistent across users and/or video providers/resolutions.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
73.3
Telstra
74.2
Vodafone
75.6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience

The three-way tie that our users observed in our last report remains, with none of the operators able to break the dead-lock. No Australian operator has won the award outright since its addition to our Australian mobile experience reports back in April 2020. Our user had a Fair (65-75) Games Experience on all three operators’ networks. This means that they found the experience to be ‘average’. In most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with most users reporting that they felt like they had control over the game. The majority of players reported that they noticed a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
73.5
Telstra
73.2
Vodafone
73.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Opensignal’s Games Experience measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. It is built on several years of research quantifying the relationship between 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, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor) played around the world.

Voice App Experience

Telstra is once again the winner of our Voice App Experience award, this time with a score of 80.5 out of 100. The operator has won the award every time since its first inclusion in an Australian mobile network experience report in October 2019.

However, Optus and Vodafone — which are statistically tied for second-place — were not far behind Telstra with scores of 80.2 and 80 points, respectively. All three operators placed in the Good (80-87) category. This means that many of our Australian users were satisfied with their experience when using over-the-top mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger. However, minor quality impairments were experienced by some users. Sometimes the background was not quite clear, it could have been either hazy or not loud enough. Clicking sounds or distortion were very occasionally present.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.2
Telstra
80.5
Vodafone
80.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience

Telstra is once again the outright winner of the Download Speed Experience award. It has held the award single-handedly ever since our November 2018 report when it took possession of the award from Vodafone. Telstra commanded a staggering lead of 23.2% (9.1 Mbps) over second-placed Vodafone — up from the lead of at least 20.5% (7.7 Mbps) it had in our previous report when Optus and Vodafone were statistically tied for second-place. A 2.8 Mbps (6.1%) rise in Telstra’s score has widened its lead, compared to a 1.4 Mbps (3.7%) increase in Vodafone’s. In contrast, our Optus users have not seen a significant change in their average download speeds.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Optus
37.0
Telstra
48.0
Vodafone
39.0
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Availability

Vodafone and Optus are joint winners of the 4G Availability award. In our previous two reports, Optus was the outright winner, but this time a drop of 0.8 percentage points in the proportion of time that our Optus users spent connected to 4G and a 0.4 percentage point increase in Vodafone’s score has created a statistical tie between the two operators. Telstra isn’t far behind from its peers, with 0.5 percentage points separating its score from that of the two front-runners.

4G Availability
% of time
Optus
94.4
Telstra
93.9
Vodafone
94.3
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Coverage Experience

Telstra is the winner of the 4G Coverage Experience award and has held it ever since we introduced it to the Australian mobile market a year ago. Telstra won with a score of 9.7 out of 10, which is 0.5 points ahead of second-placed Optus and 1.7 points higher than Vodafone’s score of 8. However, while Telstra’s score has not moved from the 9.7 points observed in our last report, both Optus and Vodafone scores increased slightly by 0.1 points.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Optus
9.2
Telstra
9.7
Vodafone
8.0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Opensignal’s 4G Coverage Experience is a measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-10, it analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

In simple terms, 4G Coverage Experience measures the mobile coverage experience in all the locations that matter most to everyday users — i.e. all the places where they live, work and travel. It considers all the areas that Opensignal users visit, the portion of locations that 4G is available to them, and locations that more users visit have higher importance to them.

Regional Analysis

Alongside the national results, we have also analyzed mobile experience across five Australian regions: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Vodafone is the outright winner for Video Experience in four regions, with the exception being South Australia where it statistically ties with Telstra. No operator succeeded in winning outright at the regional level on Games Experience and Voice App Experience. In fact, all three operators tied with one another on Voice App Experience in all five regions. There were three three-way ties on Games Experience; Telstra and Vodafone tied with each other in all the regions for this measure of the mobile experience.

In stark contrast — and mirroring the national results — Telstra is the outright winner for Download Speed Experience in all five regions, with scores ranging between a blisteringly fast 63.1 Mbps in South Australia to a more modest 44.6 Mbps in Western Australia. The average speeds seen by our Vodafone users ranged from the 42.4 Mbps seen in South Australia to 35.7 Mbps in New South Wales. By comparison, Optus’ scores ranged from 45.3 Mbps in South Australia to 31.5 Mbps in Queensland.

Looking at 4G Availability, all three operators are joint winners in four regions — the only exception was Western Australia where Optus and Vodafone shared the glory.

Select any region or city below to display individual breakdown

New South Wales

Video Experience
in New South Wales
in 0-100 points
Optus
72.3
Telstra
73.7
Vodafone
74.6
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Games Experience
in New South Wales
in 0-100 points
Optus
74.5
Telstra
74.2
Vodafone
73.7
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Voice App Experience
in New South Wales
in 0-100 points
Optus
79.7
Telstra
80.0
Vodafone
79.5
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Download Speed Experience
in New South Wales
in Mbps
Optus
34.6
Telstra
45.3
Vodafone
35.7
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4G Availability
in New South Wales
% of time
Optus
93.7
Telstra
93.5
Vodafone
93.8
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Queensland

Video Experience
in Queensland
in 0-100 points
Optus
72.2
Telstra
73.8
Vodafone
75.6
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Games Experience
in Queensland
in 0-100 points
Optus
73.1
Telstra
74.6
Vodafone
72.7
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Voice App Experience
in Queensland
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.3
Telstra
80.8
Vodafone
80.3
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Download Speed Experience
in Queensland
in Mbps
Optus
31.5
Telstra
47.7
Vodafone
41.2
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4G Availability
in Queensland
% of time
Optus
94.1
Telstra
93.5
Vodafone
94.5
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South Australia

Video Experience
in South Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
76.5
Telstra
77.8
Vodafone
78.4
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Games Experience
in South Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
72.3
Telstra
77.0
Vodafone
76.2
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Voice App Experience
in South Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.5
Telstra
81.4
Vodafone
80.7
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Download Speed Experience
in South Australia
in Mbps
Optus
45.3
Telstra
63.1
Vodafone
42.4
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4G Availability
in South Australia
% of time
Optus
95.6
Telstra
94.7
Vodafone
95.6
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Victoria

Video Experience
in Victoria
in 0-100 points
Optus
74.2
Telstra
74.7
Vodafone
75.5
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Games Experience
in Victoria
in 0-100 points
Optus
75.3
Telstra
74.4
Vodafone
74.9
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Voice App Experience
in Victoria
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.6
Telstra
80.8
Vodafone
80.2
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Download Speed Experience
in Victoria
in Mbps
Optus
40.7
Telstra
49.5
Vodafone
41.0
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4G Availability
in Victoria
% of time
Optus
94.7
Telstra
94.7
Vodafone
94.3
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Western Australia

Video Experience
in Western Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
74.4
Telstra
73.5
Vodafone
76.5
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Games Experience
in Western Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
66.8
Telstra
66.0
Vodafone
67.4
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Voice App Experience
in Western Australia
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.3
Telstra
80.3
Vodafone
79.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Western Australia
in Mbps
Optus
41.5
Telstra
44.6
Vodafone
41.0
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4G Availability
in Western Australia
% of time
Optus
94.8
Telstra
92.4
Vodafone
93.8
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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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