Vodafone’s iPhone 5 speeds are awful


blog We’ve known for a while that the iPhone 5 would be dramatically slower on Vodafone’s network, as it doesn’t support 4G speeds like Telstra and Optus do in some areas. But just how much slower will your iPhone 5’s mobile broadband connection be if you’re a Vodafone customer? Gizmodo this week tested an iPhone 5 on all three networks, and unfortunately the situation is rather catastrophic for Vodafone. 2Mbps versus 26Mbps (Telstra) and 13.8Mbps (Optus) in the Sydney, CBD, for example. Gizmodo writes (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“The problem Vodafone faces is one of comparison: why would anyone buy an iPhone 5 on Vodafone, when for less money, they could get a 4G-enabled device and faster speeds? If Vodafone truly wants to be competitive on the iPhone 5-front it needs to take an axe to its prices until 4G comes online next year.”

As I’ve previously written, the launch of a 4G iPhone is terrible news for Vodafone. The company simply does not have the 4G network infrastructure to compete against Telstra and Optus for the lucrative swag of iPhone 5 customers. The company previously saw a large erosion of its prepaid customer base through the #Vodafail series of network outages and problematic connections. It seems very likely that it will now lose a lot of the iPhone customers it had gained over the past few years — and likely, most of them will go straight to Telstra, which has easily the best 4G network in Australia at the moment. Did I mention that mobile competition is dying in Australia? Yeah.

Image credit: Apple


  1. Mobile competition isn’t dying, having 2 networks that wholesale services prevents against massive overbuild while providing competition at a retail level

  2. I think non-technically-inclined people might still pick Vodafone if it cut prices. If the ordinary person can consistently get something like 2Mbps on Vodafone, there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if they live and work in the outer suburbs.

    When I get 2Mbps on Telstra Next G in Melbourne CBD, I’m pretty happy with that so I think “catastrophic” is a bit of an alarmist way to put it.

    It’s fair to say though that if they can’t provide faster speeds, they will have to provide better pricing. They simply can’t charge more for an inferior product. Only Apple can do that. :)

    (I’m not saying Apple makes inferior products, I’m just saying they can get away with it if they did so relax Apple fanboys)

    • Vodafone have recently increased prices and decreased data allowances. They certainly are no longer in my consideration when compared to amaysim, Red Bull etc.

  3. I was a Three customer. A few weeks ago I called asking about when my contract ends as I was thinking about getting an iPhone5 with Optus or Telstra.

    They offered to move me to Vodafone, cancel my contract ( $50 per month ), and put me on a $20 a month deal which gives me the same data and calls as my previous contract.

    It makes it hard to justify the cost of upgrading now. New phone with faster speeds would end up costing around $60 pm which is a big jump from the now $20 pm.

    I think this is the only way they can hope to keep customers.

  4. Still better than what I got in Malaysia….

    The Speedtest App wouldn’t even complete the ping and then when it did, it wouldn’t complete the download….

  5. Some people on Telstra or Optus 3G phones wouldn’t get 2mbps in Sydney CBD, and nobody knows for sure how many times that test was run, what time of day it was, what speedtest.net server was used (powertel tends to work best for vodafone in sydney) and so on.

    2mbps is just fine for people using e-mail/facebook/websites or even watching youtube and comparing that to 4G which has relatively very few customers as present is just plain unfair.

    The over-the-top negativity here on delimiter against vodafone is starting to get tiresome, especially for those of us who are vodafone customers and are happy with the service. I’ve seen seperate speed test results from vodafone in sydney at 9 and 13mbps so like every network, it all depends on where you use it.

    I guarantee you one thing Renai, if vodafone exits the Australian market competition and pricing will NOT improve. You should be trying to encourage them to do better, not bagging them, and by extension thier customers, every chance you get.

    • I’ve been with Vodafone for years now, Jason, and the changes to the network in the last year have been fantastic (Blue Mountains).

      I have just done three speedtests (speedtest.net) with a Galaxy S2 and the average was 3.45mbps so no complaints from this user as long as I can stay on my $45 Infinite plan that I’ve had for a couple of years. If they try and force me onto one of the new expensive plans when my contract expires next March I’m off.

    • I agree Jason – the constant negative harping about Vodfone is going beyond journalism.
      I think that journalists and commentators set themselves up for failure when they try to predict the future. Once they have made that prediction, they sometimes get an attachment to that prediction – they then seem to look for any signs that the prediction is coming true. The sweet motherlode of credibility that they will have if their Nostrodamic efforts pay off entices them far too much.
      At this point they stop being reliable commentators. We have reached that point with Delimiter and Vodafone.

      • Paul,

        it’s not directed at Vodafone specifically — I’m trying to raise broader issues about the increasing failure of competition in the mobile sector. If Vodafone fails, we go back to a duopoly — and that is a major regulatory issue.


        • I think that is a worthwhile goal.

          It is probably worth putting in the reader feedback though, and let you know that this is not always the message that I am getting. Rather, it has seemed more like “Vodafone are going down – remember you read it here first, folks!”

          Us readers don’t always read things the way you mean for them to be read.

    • I agree with both of you, the bashing is still continuing.

      While Renai does hit the Vodafone drum a bit hard – and consequently the work myself and other engineers do; I dont respect him any less for it. Hes raising the ears of my superiors – that as a company we need to stay focussed. I’m not talking about VHA, but Vodafone Group in general.

      Being the biggest telco for a long time (in my opinion) has caused us to sit back, resting on our laurels; and be steamrolled by the competition in some markets we’re in. It makes me sad to know that the hours / days / months I’ve spent working to improve services abroad are going to waste as much as in AU.

      We’re not going anywhere anytime soon – Vodafone wants to succeed here. The network directions and sales decisions currently are not mine to be made, but I can understand why they’re doing it. There is method to this – its just not as obvious as some might like.

    • Jason – Totally agree, more competition the better. We had 5 networks let’s not get down to 2. Duopolies end up behaving like monopolies – little choice for users. When is personal frustration greatest, when a network is fast-unreliable or slow-reliable? MAYBE the rate of churn away from Vodafone has slowed or stopped and Vodafone are now strategically happy being laggards so as buy 3.5G cheaper and with fewer unknowns. We know nothing other than the fact that 80% of all mobile sales worldwide in 2011 weren’t smartphone. Be happy with what you can afford.

  6. I dn’t think buying the iPhone 5 is just a 4G decision. Let’s be honest, the 4G networks still have a good year or two of rollout with Telstra and Optus to get a uniform performance. LEt’s go back a few years and remem ber the experience with 3G. We had the same issues, disparate levels of service and Telstra really moved forward with NextG. They put in the infrastructure that has allowed them to remain a market leader. So here we are again same sort of thing..
    So buy one on Vodafone why not, the real point of decision is a year away.. Aeons!

    • I think the impact that the difference in 4G speeds will have on Vodafone sales is drastically overstated. For every person who cares about that sort of thing, there are 100 more who just want to have the newest iphone.
      I have noticed a lot of people, even in the street, flashing their new iphone5 about in the most ostentatious way. I am pretty certain that 4G speed was not on their list of priorities when they bought their phone.

Comments are closed.