Redditor downloads 994GB on second Telstra ‘free mobile data day’


news A single Australian who set records by downloading 421GB of data during Telstra’s free mobile data day in February has more than doubled his previous record during the second such occasion yesterday, pulling down a total of 994GB of data during the 24 hour period.

Yesterday (Sunday), Telstra offered free mobile data to its customers nationally for 24 hours, in another attempt to make recompense for an outage in its network.

It’s the second occasion over the past few months that Telstra has carried out this kind of activity. During the previous period, in mid-February, the telco revealed that customers had downloaded about 1,841 terabytes of data, with one single customer, a Reddit user with the username ‘DrRodneyMcKay’, having singlehandedly pulled down some 421GB of data through his smartphone.

Yesterday ‘DrRodneyMcKay’ posted again on Reddit, noting that he had more than doubled his previous attempt, this time pulling down 994GB of data from Telstra’s mobile network in a single day.

The user noted he was about to achieve speeds of about 180Mbps over his LG G4 mobile phone all day. It’s not clear what ‘DrRodneyMcKay’ was specifically downloading.

In a post on Telstra’s Exchange blog, Telstra group managing director of Networks, Mike Wright, wrote that Telstra’s mobile network had performed “strongly” yesterday, breaking records for the most data downloaded over Telstra’s mobile network in a 24 hour period.

“By the end of Sunday, our customers had download 2,686 terabytes of data, which is 46 percent more than the amount downloaded on Free Data Day in 14 February, and equivalent to 3.4 million HD movies,” said Wright.

“The previous record of 1,841 terabytes reached on our first Free Data Day was surpassed at 4pm AEST. We reached the peak network traffic level of the previous Free Data Day by 8am and stayed above that level until midnight.”

Although there have been reports of issues yesterday, with some mobile phone towers being overwhelmed, Wright said in general Telstra’s network had performed very strongly.

“We are also glad to see the underlying strength of the network demonstrated despite a few hot spots where heavy users caused localised congestion. Overall, the majority of customers continued to experience a reliable level of service, and we look forward to continuing to provide this well into the future,” he wrote.

Image credit: DrRodneyMckay


  1. Jerks. Both Telstra and the nitwits who killed the 4G in my area for most of the day. If Telstra gives out free data for disruption of services, where is my free data for the inability to watch youtube videos in anything higher than potato quality all day Sunday?

    I’d rather get an option for free credit or the waiver contact release fees. Free data just encourages bandwidth hogging idiots.

    • Seems Telstra just stumble from 1 disaster to another. Why on earth would they even consider such a stupid thing as “unlimited data”, instead of something reasonable like 10gb free.

      That would be more than enough for anyone who isn’t going to just be a fool. There are always going to be a few idiots who ruin it for everyone else.

  2. “that’s the equivalent of 3.4 million HD movies” I wonder what the rights holders think of Telstra’s encouragement of heavy leeching of HD movie content..

  3. I couldn’t even browse reddit yesterday on my phone due to data hogs on the free dowload day.

    • While free data day is ridiculous and in itself causes things like this. It also shows that Telstra is incredibly stingy when it comes to monthly download limits on its network and could easily give customers more without raising prices.

      • Not really. The data caps are there to discourage usage. If people are concerned about stringent caps they will avoid using their mobile broadband connections too much. That gives Telstra a free pass on ensuring their network is capable of providing sufficient bandwidth, free from contention, for everyone no matter how much they want to download. The reality is that a network designed like that would be 95% under utilised, so you can understand the rationale. But the current state of affairs goes too far the other way IMO and is a bit rich coming from a company who keeps bragging about its billion dollar profits.

        • I know why the usage caps are there, but clearly the network has far more headroom in it than the current usage caps are saying.

          • Depends which part you’re talking about. The optical backhaul does, but the tower radios? The switches? There are many potential bottlenecks, and the very fact that so many people were unable to use their mobile data at all yesterday suggests that there are large parts of the network that are not capable of delivering anything like a decent service, were data caps to be removed. Sure, there is a lot of headroom over what most people are currently limited to, but there *has* to be because of the way usage peaks.

            Look, I’m not saying Telstra don’t have very restrictive plans, because IMO they do, absolutely – their business model seems predicated on stopping users from wanting to do too much, therefore setting the bar for service delivery very low. Hence what has happened to the NBN and what has framed much of *that* debate.

            My point is you can’t cherry pick specific results of a few users and claim that they are indicative of the whole network, nor can you make an argument for changing product limitations based on the same. What you need to argue is that it is patently obvious that people would use their devices and connections more if limitations on their use weren’t so restrictive, that such increased usage has an important relationship to overall productivity, and that the restrictive policies and business model of Telstra imposes a retrograde limitation on the whole country.

            Instead of passing billions in profits on to shareholders, maybe they should pump an extra billion a year into continuous mobile upgrades.

          • I wasn’t saying they should remove data caps…. Just that there is significant headroom in their network, and what their network can support, that they could easily give their customers more data than they currently get without significantly impacting the performance.

            Not saying they should have “free data days” everyday….

  4. Got to laugh at people losing their shit over someone’s download amount.
    Honestly, IGAF.
    Its a bees dick of data in the world of telecoms.

  5. Sunday does demonstrate to Alan Jones that LTE/4G networks are complimentary rather than an alternative to fixed line in the NBN context.

  6. I love the initiative of Telstra that this demonstrates.
    Having real world load testing like this is GOLD to network engineers.
    Now Telstra will have fantastic data to know where in their network they need to invest money in.

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