Optus topping Australian 5G speeds, Telstra still wins on reliability

Australia’s 5G networks 2021

Optus still holds bragging rights when it comes to the fastest Australian 5G speeds, but rival Telstra continues to break records when it comes to overall 5G speeds, according to Opensignal’s latest Australia Mobile Network Experience Report.

Optus once again won the 5G Download Speed award in Opensignal’s latest report, with average 5G speeds of 240.5 Mbps. Telstra’s 232.3 Mbps significantly closes the gap since the previous report, while Vodafone remains in a distant third place with 122.1 Mbps.

Optus first won the award outright in the October 2021 report, when it broke out of a statistical tie with Telstra, and has held onto it since.

Telstra still wins out when it comes to the fastest overall Australian speeds. It won the Download Speed Experience award – measured across all generations of mobile technology – with a score of 60.7 Mbps, making it the first Australian operator where users saw average speeds in excess of 60 Mbps. Meanwhile, Optus delivered 52.1 Mbps while Vodafone provided 47.4 Mbps.

Telstra users saw the largest improvement in their overall download speeds compared to last time, a rise of 5.8 Mbps (10.6%), while their peers on Optus and Vodafone saw increases of 3.8 Mbps (7.9%) and 3.9 Mbps (9.1%), respectively

Narrowed down to 5G, Telstra still came out ahead in the Download Speed Experience award, delivering 86.7 Mbps, compared to 79.2 Mbps from Optus and 61.3 Mbps from Vodafone.

Vodafone once again took out the Upload Speed Experience award – measured across all generations of mobile technology – with a score of 9.9 Mbps, inching ahead of Telstra and Optus on 9 and 8 Mbps respectively.

Narrowed down to 5G, the Upload tables turn, with Telstra scoring 9.7 Mbps, ahead of Vodafone on 9.5 Mbps and Optus on 8.6 Mbps.

Upcoming changes to the telcos’ networks are set to have a significant impact on Australian 5G speeds.

Back in December, Optus and Telstra were the winning bidders in Australia’s 850/900 MHz auctions. Set to go live in 2024, these frequencies propagate across long distances with good penetration through obstacles to reach into buildings, making them ideal for both rural and urban areas. 

In August, Telstra was ordered to stop deliberately tying up this spectrum to interfere with preparations for Optus’ nationwide 5G rollout, as part of a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC over 5G competition concerns.

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