Vodafone wallops Telstra, Optus in 4G speeds



news A new series of independent tests has shown the 4G network of ailing mobile telco Vodafone can easily beat the rival networks of Telstra and Optus, at least in capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, with the telco claiming the results show it is the best option for streaming content and general Internet surfing.

Last week the Sydney Morning Herald published the results of extensive tests conducted on the 3G and 4G networks of the three telcos by OpenSignal (we recommend you click here for the full article). The test results, available online, show that when it comes to 4G speeds, the average download speeds achieved by Vodafone’s network was substantially faster than its rival pair of telcos, with the company’s 4G speeds in Sydney, for example, averaging 36.6Mbps, compared to Telstra’s 21.3Mbps and Optus’ 12.3Mbps. When it came to 3G speeds, the three telcos were more comparable.

In a post on Vodafone’s blog, the company’s social media manager Alicia Gilmore wrote that while Vodafone had known about its “lightning fast speeds” for quite a while, it was good to see the company wasn’t the only one spruiking the good news.

“We’ve all worked really hard to build a lightning fast 4G network in metro areas and the positive feedback from all of you, validates our hard work,” Gilmore wrote. “Thank you. The result in the article did show that our 4G upload speeds were pipped at the post, but the download results are phenomenal and evidence that for streaming content and general surfing, Vodafone really is the best option.”

“We’re proud of what we’ve done to make our 4G coverage more extensive and more reliable. We’re often faster than Optus and we can challenge Telstra, in key markets like Sydney and Melbourne.”

Although the company’s 4G network performance is strong compared with its rivals, Vodafone still does not enjoy the same level of coverage around Australia compared with Telstra especially, which has the widest 4G coverage nationally, or even with Optus, which has also been continually deploying its 4G infrastructure around Australia over the past several years.

“Last year we added 40 percent more coverage to our network,” wrote Gilmore. “Pretty exciting stuff! Not only are we adding more coverage each month, but we’re improving the reliability of our existing coverage. Our customers are noticing these improvements and they’re telling us.”

“Some people might say our network is only fast because no one is on it. Sure, we have fewer customers than the other but would you avoid a road because there are no cars on it? Certainly not. That’s all the more reason to join I’d say! Plus, we can rest easy knowing our network is built to handle the numbers, so bring it on we say!”

Last week Vodafone launched two new mobile broadband devices — a USB dongle and a Wi-Fi unit — that will allow customers to access its new 4G mobile network at theoretical speeds up to 150Mbps, due to their support of the so-called ‘Category 4′ standard for mobile broadband.

The tests published by the Sydney Morning Herald represent only the latest time that Vodafone’s 4G network has won out over that of its rivals. For example, in July last year, Vodafone noted that Internet metrics firm Ookla had conducted speed tests by thousands of Samsung and HTC smartphone users in the first week of July.

“Vodafone customers averaged a download speed of 48Mbps across parts of Sydney, ahead of Telstra and Optus, both of which had an average download speed of 26Mbps,” the telco wrote. “Similarly, in Melbourne, Vodafone was well ahead of the competition, with an average data speed of 41Mbps, compared to Telstra with an average of 30Mbps and Optus with 23Mbps.” When Vodafone made its speed claims in July last year, Telstra issued its own statement noting:

You’ll remember at yesterday’s [media] briefing, [Telstra chief operations officer Brendon Riley] was asked “Is Vodafone faster?”. His response was: “We have the fastest national 4G network.”

Sydney and Melbourne are great cities but our customers know that a great network depends on three things: More coverage – we have more than double the square kilometres across our 3G and 4G networks than any other network; Fewer dead spots – calls on the Telstra Mobile Network are less likely to drop out; and a more reliable speed experience with fewer dropped calls and a fast and reliable browsing experience.

We have all three in many more places than just Sydney and Melbourne. This means when our customers actually want to leave the city they don’t have to leave their 4G service at home.

Image credit: Vodafone


  1. What Voda doesn’t get is that people want a mobile broadband option, not yet another fixed line option. Unless they get their footprint sorted, people won’t be coming back, no matter how good the apparent empty road is (and that is a bad analogy btw).

    Telstra will still keep the upper hand.

  2. Fast is useless if it’s not available. Outside metro areas, Telstra coverage rules supreme..

  3. Did this test include optus’ 2300mhz tdd network? It should beat the pants off everything.

    • Not surprisingly, no decent info about the testing bryn – my suspicion is no, given the 1800mhz band is common to all 3 4g networks, but tue 2300 band is unique to optus. Voda are getting the speeds not because of less users on the network, but because of an allocation of greater bandwidth – a 20mhz chanel compared to 10mhz for telstra and optus – although there are 15mhz channels utilised in some areas as the 2g on the 1800mhz spectrum is decommissioned. As optus have 98mhz bandwidth in the 2300mhz band, it’s reasonable to assume that it holds the metropolitan trump card…

  4. 21.3Mbps on Telstra sounds more like Next-G speed than 4G.

    I’m still regularly seeing 40-50Mbps down and 30+ up on Telstra 4G.

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