Mobile Network Experience Report Australia October 2021

Australia

Mobile Network Experience Report
October 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 4G Availability award outright

Vodafone has broken the statistical tie that existed between it and Optus in our last report. This means that this time around, our Vodafone users spent the most time connected to 4G or better networks — 96.1%. This change occurred due to a 1.8 percentage point increase in Vodafone’s score since our last report, while Optus’ score was statistically unchanged. However, Telstra continues to hold the 4G Coverage Experience award — our measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network. 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.

Our Vodafone users saw the fastest average upload speeds

Vodafone is the outright winner of the Upload Speed Experience award with a score of 10.1 Mbps, which was 0.4 Mbps (3.6%) faster than that of second-placed Telstra’s score of 9.7 Mbps. Optus is in third place with a score of 8.2 Mbps.

Telstra leaps further ahead on Download Speed Experience

Our Telstra users yet again observed the fastest average download speeds (57 Mbps). The operator’s lead over its rivals has jumped — from a still impressive 9.1 Mbps (23.2%) over Vodafone in our last report to around 13 Mbps. Vodafone and Optus are statistically tied for second place. Telstra’s lead lengthened because its score increased by 9 Mbps but Optus and Vodafone’s scores rose by a smaller amount — 7.4 and 4.9 Mbps, respectively.

Vodafone and Optus users had the best Voice App Experience

For the first time since we added it to our Australian mobile network experience reports, back in October 2019, Telstra has not won the Voice App Experience award. The honor instead goes to Vodafone and Optus as there is no statistically significant difference between the two operators’ scores. Telstra lost out on the award this time because its score dropped by 0.9 points since our previous report, while Optus and Vodafone’s scores remained statistically unchanged.

Telstra drops out of contention for Games Experience

In our last report, all three operators were joint winners for the Games Experience award as our users did not observe a statistically significant difference between their scores. This time round, only Optus and Vodafone share the top spot. This change was mainly driven by a 1.7 point decline in Telstra’s score. Once again, our users across all three operators’ networks had a Fair (65-75) Games Experience. 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.

Introduction

While Telstra still holds our Download Speed Experience and 4G Coverage Experience awards with a strong grip, it has been less successful elsewhere in our awards table. For the first time, the Voice App Experience award has eluded its grasp — to be claimed by Vodafone and Optus instead — while Telstra no longer jointly wins the Games Experience award. These changes mean that Vodafone has the lion’s share of awards this time around, with three outright wins — including new wins for 4G Availability and Upload Speed Experience — and two joint wins compared to Telstra’s two solo victories. Meanwhile, Optus continues to be a joint winner for Games Experience and has swapped a joint win for 4G Availability for one in Voice App Experience.

In this report we've analyzed real-world data gathered in the 90 days starting July 1 and ending September 28, 2021 to see how Australia’s three national operators — Optus, Telstra and Vodafone — stack up. Our overall results include measurements from our users across all network technology generations (including 5G). In addition, this report also looks at the overall experience of 5G users — those with a 5G device and 5G subscription — across 3G, 4G and 5G networks along with the time they spent connected to each technology generation.

Also, we have published a companion report — Australia 5G Experience Report October 2021 — which analyzes the mobile experience only on 5G networks.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Australia
October 2021, 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
October 2021, Australia
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2021, Australia
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
70.8
Telstra
71.1
Vodafone
71.9
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 the Video Experience award for the second time in a row — this time with a score of 71.9 points on a 100 point scale. However, the operator’s score for the experience of our users when streaming mobile video fell by 3.7 points compared to its score of 75.6 points in our last report. This means that Vodafone has joined its rivals in the Very Good (65-75) category — down from the Excellent (75 or above) rating that it enjoyed last time around. However, Optus and Telstra’s scores have also declined, falling by 2.6-3.1 points to 70.8 and 71.1 points, respectively.

The combined effect of these changes has caused Optus and Telstra to statistically tie for second place and made Vodafone’s lead fall from the 1.4 points seen in our last report to around 0.9 points.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
70.8
Telstra
71.1
Vodafone
71.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Video Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Video Experience – 5G Users
74.0 (± 0.55) 74.3 (± 0.48) 74.7 (± 0.74)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Video Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
74 (± 0.55)
74 (± 0.48)
75 (± 0.74)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience

Vodafone and Optus are joint winners of the Games Experience award, due to a statistical tie between their scores. Telstra dropped out of contention due to a 1.7 point decline in its score. By contrast, in our previous report all three operators shared the top spot due to a three-way tie.

On all three operators’ networks our users had a Fair (65-75) Games Experience this time. 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
73.9
Telstra
71.4
Vodafone
74.0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Games Experience – 5G Users
74.9 (± 1.03) 73.2 (± 0.77) 76.1 (± 1.38)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Games Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
75 (± 1.03)
73 (± 0.77)
76 (± 1.38)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

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

Optus and Vodafone are joint winners of the Voice App Experience award, marking an end to Telstra’s impressive winning streak — the operator had previously won the award ever since we added it to our Australian mobile network experience reports, back in October 2019. The two operators share the award as there is no statistically significant difference between their scores. The award slipped from Telstra’s grasp due to a 0.9 point drop in its score since our previous report, while Optus and Vodafone’s scores were statistically unchanged.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.1
Telstra
79.6
Vodafone
79.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Voice App Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Voice App Experience – 5G Users
80.7 (± 0.39) 80.0 (± 0.31) 80.8 (± 0.58)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Voice App Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
81 (± 0.39)
80 (± 0.31)
81 (± 0.58)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Opensignal's Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger etc. — using a model derived from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for quantifying overall voice call quality and a series of calibrated technical parameters. This model characterizes the exact relationship between the technical measurements and perceived call quality. Voice App Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

Download Speed Experience

Telstra is once again the outright winner of the Download Speed Experience award — the operator has held the award single-handedly ever since our November 2018 report when it took the award from Vodafone. In addition, Telstra has extended its already significant lead over its rivals — from 9.1 Mbps (23.2%) in our last report to around 13 Mbps. This change was largely driven by a 9 Mbps increase in the average download speeds observed by our Telstra users.

Our Optus users saw the second-largest increase in their speeds — 7.4 Mbps versus the 4.9 Mbps observed by their counterparts on Vodafone. These changes have meant that the two operators are statistically tied for second-place, in contrast to our last report, when Vodafone placed second and Optus placed third.

Looking at the overall speeds reported by our 5G users across all generations of mobile technology, our Telstra 5G users saw the fastest overall speeds — 135.1 Mbps versus the 126.3 Mbps and 81.3 Mbps reported by our Optus and Vodafone 5G users, respectively.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Optus
44.3
Telstra
57.0
Vodafone
43.9
0 15 30 45 60
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users
126.3 (± 4.48) 135.1 (± 3.67) 81.3 (± 2.94)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
126 (± 4.48)
135 (± 3.67)
81 (± 2.94)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience

Vodafone is the outright winner of the Upload Speed Experience award due to its score of 10.1 Mbps, which was 0.4 Mbps (3.6%) faster than that of second-placed Telstra’s score of 9.7 Mbps. Optus is in third place with a score of 8.2 Mbps.

When we analyzed the overall upload speeds of our 5G users, the fastest overall speeds were reported by our Telstra 5G users — 12.1 Mbps — with our 5G users observing no statistically significant difference between Optus and Vodafone’s scores.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Optus
8.2
Telstra
9.7
Vodafone
10.1
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Upload Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users
10.5 (± 0.32) 12.1 (± 0.27) 10.2 (± 0.32)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
11 (± 0.32)
12 (± 0.27)
10 (± 0.32)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

4G Availability

Vodafone has broken the statistical tie that existed between it and Optus in our last report, making it the outright winner of the 4G Availability award. Our Vodafone users spent the most time connected to 4G or better networks — 96.1%, up by 1.8 percentage points since our last report. This resulted in Vodafone’s solo victory as Optus’ score was statistically unchanged. However, Telstra continues to hold the 4G Coverage Experience award — our measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network.

4G Availability
% of time
Optus
94.3
Telstra
94.0
Vodafone
96.1
0 25 50 75 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Coverage Experience

There has been little movement since our previous report in terms of 4G Coverage Experience. Telstra remains the outright winner with an unchanged score of 9.7 points on a scale of 0-10, while Optus and Vodafone’s scores have both increased by 0.1 points to 9.3 and 8.1, respectively. This lack of change is to be expected given that all three operators have launched 5G networks and are focusing on rolling out the latest generation of mobile network technology.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Optus
9.3
Telstra
9.7
Vodafone
8.1
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

We have delved into the overall mobile experience of our users in four metropolitan areas: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. In addition,in our companion report, we have analyzed the experience of our users when connected to 5G in these cities.

Telstra has reaped the largest share of city-level awards, picking up 10 awards outright of a possible 24 along with 11 joint wins. Vodafone picked up two outright wins and 12 shared victories, while Optus has not won any city awards outright but has five joint wins.

Our Telstra users had the best experience when streaming mobile video in Brisbane and Sydney and the operator tied for first place with Vodafone in Melbourne. All three operators share the award in Perth. Our Telstra users in Brisbane were the only ones to have an Excellent (75 or above) Video Experience — by the narrowest of margins, given the operator’s score of 75 points. In all the combinations of cities and operators, our users observed a Very Good (65-75) Video Experience

Telstra performed similarly on Games Experience, again racking up outright wins in Brisbane and Sydney, but it only tied in Perth alongside Vodafone. Meanwhile Vodafone and Optus share first place in Melbourne. Our users had a Good (75-85) Games Experience in Melbourne and Sydney across all three operators, dropping to Fair (65-75) in Perth. Our Telstra users were the only ones to report a Good experience in Brisbane with Vodafone and Optus narrowly placing in the Fair category instead.

There is less of a divide between the operators on Voice Experience, with our users observing no statistical difference in their experience between the three operators in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. However, Telstra achieved an outright win in Sydney with a score of 81.2 points on a 100 point scale.

Our Telstra users observed the fastest average download speeds in all four cities. Even the operator’s lowest score — 64.3 Mbps in Perth — was higher than the fastest speeds seen by our Optus and Vodafone users in any of the cities. Telstra’s highest score was in Brisbane — a remarkable 81.8 Mbps. Our Vodafone users saw their fastest speeds in Melbourne (54.1 Mbps) and there was no statistically significant difference between Optus users’ scores in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, which were in the 51.1-51.5 Mbps range, while the operator achieved a lower score of 47.4 Mbps in Perth.

Vodafone and Telstra have performed similarly on Upload Speed Experience — both operators win an award outright (Vodafone in Perth and Telstra in Sydney) and are joint winners in Brisbane and Melbourne. Telstra’s scores ranged between 12.1 Mbps in Brisbane and 9.3 Mbps in Perth. Vodafone’s were between 11.8 Mbps in Brisbane and 9.8 Mbps in Sydney, while Optus’ ranged from 9.1 Mbps in Sydney to 6.9 Mbps in Brisbane.

Vodafone is the only operator to win a city 4G Availability award outright — doing so in Brisbane. In the other three cities, Telstra and Vodafone are statistically tied for first place. Unlike its rivals, all of Vodafone’s scores were above 96% and it pushed past the 97% mark in Brisbane and Sydney.

Select any region or city below to display individual breakdown

Brisbane

Video Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Optus
71.1
Telstra
75.0
Vodafone
73.0
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Games Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Optus
74.9
Telstra
79.4
Vodafone
74.9
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Voice App Experience
in Brisbane
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.6
Telstra
81.5
Vodafone
80.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Optus
51.1
Telstra
81.8
Vodafone
50.3
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Upload Speed Experience
in Brisbane
in Mbps
Optus
6.9
Telstra
12.1
Vodafone
11.8
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4G Availability
in Brisbane
% of time
Optus
94.8
Telstra
95.9
Vodafone
97.1
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Melbourne

Video Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Optus
72.7
Telstra
74.0
Vodafone
74.3
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Games Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Optus
76.7
Telstra
75.4
Vodafone
78.2
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Voice App Experience
in Melbourne
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.7
Telstra
81.0
Vodafone
81.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Optus
51.3
Telstra
69.8
Vodafone
54.1
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Upload Speed Experience
in Melbourne
in Mbps
Optus
8.8
Telstra
11.6
Vodafone
11.5
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4G Availability
in Melbourne
% of time
Optus
95.3
Telstra
96.1
Vodafone
96.9
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Perth

Video Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Optus
72.5
Telstra
73.5
Vodafone
72.4
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Games Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Optus
66.3
Telstra
69.9
Vodafone
67.4
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Voice App Experience
in Perth
in 0-100 points
Optus
79.8
Telstra
80.4
Vodafone
80.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Optus
47.4
Telstra
64.3
Vodafone
46.2
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Upload Speed Experience
in Perth
in Mbps
Optus
7.1
Telstra
9.3
Vodafone
10.7
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4G Availability
in Perth
% of time
Optus
94.5
Telstra
95.5
Vodafone
96.5
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Sydney

Video Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Optus
71.3
Telstra
74.7
Vodafone
71.9
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Games Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Optus
78.1
Telstra
82.2
Vodafone
77.8
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Voice App Experience
in Sydney
in 0-100 points
Optus
80.1
Telstra
81.2
Vodafone
80.2
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Download Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Optus
51.5
Telstra
74.3
Vodafone
41.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Sydney
in Mbps
Optus
9.1
Telstra
11.5
Vodafone
9.8
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4G Availability
in Sydney
% of time
Optus
94.6
Telstra
96.8
Vodafone
97.2
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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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