Analyst house IDC today claimed Optus’ 3G mobile broadband offering was only 4 percent behind Telstra’s Next G offering across a range of criteria — despite acknowledging Telstra’s network was on average 60 percent faster.
The group conducted 2,000 independent tests over a nine-month period to produce a comprehensive report on mobile broadband performance in Australia. The full report costs $3,500.
“IDC’s research showed that Telstra scored more highly than its competitors, with average download speeds nearly 60 percent faster than its nearest rival and no network fallback to 2G encountered. The user experience on Telstra was often similar to a good quality residential fixed broadband connection,” said the group’s telecommunications market analyst Mark Novosel in a statement.
“Optus’ performance soared in 2009, scoring similarly to Telstra, although slightly more network fallback was experienced. However, performance was fairly consistent and well above both of VHA’s networks,” he added.
The analyst stated that Optus’ 3G network now provided a viable alternative to Next G, for anyone willing to sacrifice some coverage and speed in favour of cost savings. “However, Optus was only 4 percent behind, after demonstrating a strong improvement in performance across all metrics assessed, having improved 20 percent from 2008,” he said.
In general, Novosel said average speeds across the entire mobile broadband ecosystem had improved by 68 percent since 2008 — reaching 2.94Mbps. Upload speeds also surged — the average upload speed measured in 2008 was 1.24Mbps — compared with 460Kbps in 2008.
The news came as Telstra today took a stab at Optus on its Exchange blog on the issue of mobile coverage.
“Telstra’s competitors are still trying to catch up with Next G. If you live in the country or like to go bush often like I do, then it pays to check out the coverage – especially if you’re thinking of buying products like the new Apple iPad,” wrote Rod Bruem, corporate affairs manager for Telstra Business — the company’s SME division.
He pointed out that some devices might not support Optus’ 900MHz spectrum networks, which it predominantly uses in rural areas, and highlighted a network coverage map produced by Telstra which he claimed showed poor coverage on Optus’ part. “This map shows just how inadequate the Optus 3G 2100 (MHz) coverage really is,” he wrote.
However Bruem might have bitten off a little more than he could chew.
“Look, as a Telstra Customer, I am really disappointed you would stoop to gutter politics with articles lined to mislead consumers of the real facts … Stick to customer service please. It’s this sort of stuff that makes me even more inclined to switch to the opposition,” wrote the first commenter under Bruem’s post.
They later pointed out the new Telstra iPhone 4 does support Optus’ 900MHz network and claimed Bruem’s post was a return to the form of Telstra’s poisonous Now We Are Talking blog — set up by former CEO Sol Trujillo and shut down under new CEO David Thodey. Optus has been invited by email to respond to Telstra’s statement — any statement will be added into this story.
Image credit: Telstra