​Australian mobile networks improve results in benchmarking report

Telstra rated best telco while Vodafone improves performance

A report benchmarking the mobile networks in Australia has given high ratings to the country's three telco network operators with Telstra once again rated the best performer.

The CommsDay and P3 Communications 2015 Mobile Benchmark measures smartphone voice and data performance based on weeks of testing around Australia. Test metrics include voice call quality, success rates, file upload and download speeds, website access and SD/HD mobile video performance.

Telstra had the best score in almost all categories.

According to the report, Telstra had the fastest call set-up time in metro areas with 6.2 seconds followed by Optus, at 6.4 seconds, with Vodafone on 8 seconds.

In rural areas, Telstra's call set-up time scored 6 seconds, with Vodafone on 6.1 seconds and Optus at 6.6 seconds.

Telstra had the highest objective listening speech quality with a score of 3.7 out of 5. Meanwhile, Vodafone scored 3.5 and Optus 3.4 out of 5 in metro areas. Turning to rural areas, Telstra and Vodafone rated 3.6 while Optus again received 3.4.

Peak data downloads averaged 46.4Mbps on the Telstra network. Meanwhile Optus scored 38.3Mbps and Vodafone got 31.7Mbps. However, Vodafone came first for peak data uploads on 19.9Mbps, followed by Telstra (18.7Mbps) and Optus (9.5Mbps).

“Its consistently excellent performance for voice and data - both in major metro areas and more regional locations - kept it clearly on top of the scoreboard,” read the report.

Telstra was rated the best mobile network in last year's report.

Meanwhile Optus came in second with a good result in most areas, and stood out with its data performance on the highways.

“Vodafone put in a strong third-place showing, with huge improvements in terms of stability. It did particularly well in metropolitan testing, where the company has concentrated its network investments – resulting in high-end speeds that were some of the fastest under test,” read the report.

Vodafone improved its comparable score by almost 40 per cent due to big gains in most categories. Optus, similarly, drove its comparable score up by around 27 per cent, reflecting better performance.

"While its rivals did a lot of work to close the gap, Telstra’s 7 per cent score improvement was also impressive given how well it did in 2014," said the report.

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Commenting on the result, a Telstra spokesperson said that while gratifying to win, the P3 survey “only tells half the story” as it is limited to outdoor drive testing around the major cities with “very limited regional or rural areas” included.

“If the P3 Mobile Benchmark survey were extended to cover more of regional Australia and metro indoor usage it would show the true extent of our lead is far greater than what this survey alone suggests,” said the spokesperson.

According to the spokesperson, if P3 drove from Adelaide to Perth they would have discovered that Telstra covers “around a thousand kilometres of highway” between the two cities not covered by any other carrier.

An Optus spokesperson said it was “closing the gap” with Telstra, with its network scoring marked performance gains.

“Optus’ network achieved an impressive 99.7 per cent score for YouTube (SD) playback without interruption in metro cities and the fastest file downloads in small cities and towns,” said the spokesperson.

Last financial year, Optus invested $1.5 billion in its mobile network, including acquiring new spectrum, expanding 4G coverage, boosting network capacity and switching on new towers.

Vodafone has been approached for comment.

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