Mobile broadband speeds surge 68% in two years

Australian mobile broadband speeds have increased by a huge 68% in the last two years and Optus is quickly closing ground on Telstra’s market dominance, independent research has found.

The competitive analysis by International Data Corporation (IDC) on Australia’s mobile broadband networks shows average download speeds have increased to 2,941Kbps.

Average uploads speeds have also increased by a huge 169% to 1,238Kbps.

IDC rated Australia’s four mobile broadband networks over a nine month period on download and upload speeds and latency in 2,000 independent tests, focusing predominantly on metropolitan areas.

Telstra took first place against IDC’s seven assessment criteria with a score of 87% but Optus was only 4% behind, seeing a huge 20% improvement and overtaking Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) for second place.

“In terms of performance Optus have improved a lot over the past 12 months but average speeds of Telstra will always be faster, they will always be the largest and fastest network,” says IDC telecommunications analyst Mark Novosel.

“Overall Telstra’s speed is better, the customer experience is better, downloading files is better, coverage is much wider,” he says. “Their network is bigger and stretches across a larger geographical area.”

He also says Telstra 850Mhz band means coverage from each tower goes further and penetration of buildings is much better. “In the CBD, in high-rise building or apartments, and in shopping centres, you can expect better performance on Telstra,” he says.

Although despite Telstra’s lead, Novosel argues that in metropolitan areas, Optus mobile broadband is a sufficient alternative to Telstra.

“Those in metropolitan areas that don’t need the absolute fastest speed and don’t need regional or remote coverage Optus is certainly viable alternative to Telstra,” he says.

“Vodafone is also improving significantly,” he says. “Speeds aren’t as high as Optus but prices are lower.”

Across the board, wireless broadband technology has come a very long way and speeds will always continue increase say Novosel.

“Realistically, users can expect future improvements in speeds and user experience, in terms of consistency, downloads and uploads,” he says.

“Even now compared to a fixed connection, for general web browsing, users won’t be able to tell the difference in speed between fixed broadband and mobile,” he says.

“Today mobile broadband on average provides significantly faster upload speeds than most residential fixed broadband connections.”

“With social networking booming, and consumers increasingly sharing images and videos, having a broadband connection with fast upload speeds is becoming critically important,” he says.

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