Vodafone Tops A 3G Speed Test (Yes, Really)

One of the perennial challenges with 3G broadband is what kind of speed you'll achieve. A study by comparison site Broadband Expert suggests that in the current market, Vodafone is the best performer.

Broadband Expert ranked 1724 mobile broadband speed tests conducted by users in the last six months of 2009. From that data, it concluded that the average speed for users was 1.88Mbps. Vodafone topped the table with 2.2MBps, followed by Optus with 2.1, Telstra with 1.8 and 3 with 1.2.

That data does need to be taken with several grains of salt. The users were self-selecting, so it's impossible to know which locations are being compared, which is essential data in this kind of context. There's no separation of different network types, which means we don't know if every Vodafone user happened to be in an HSDPA area. There's also no factoring in software reliability, which I know from personal experience is a major issue with Vodafone.

On the other hand, data from almost 1,800 people is better in most respects than data from one. For all that, I'd personally be quite surprised if Vodafone could really claim speed superiority over Telstra's Next G network, though in value terms it's definitely a contender.

For a broader view of 3G broadband options, check out our 3G broadband directory.

Broadband Expert


Comments

    Eh? Optus beat Telstra? I wonder why I keep getting timeouts trying to read The Age on my iPhone then.

    I really dont care so much for speed atm... on the Sunshine Coast QLD, 3G reception is rarely available outside of CBD, and I've tested all 3 major players on plenty of different handsets and USB modems. Making a call would be great, getting consistant highspeed data would be a dream. With the huge amount of developement, and 2000+ ppl a month moving here, carriers need to work on 3G reception before I'll stand to hear them spruiking about their amazing speeds.

      I've got an iPhone 3G with Vodafone and I get 3G reception in a fair amount of places outside of the Brisbane CBD. A lot of rural areas, like south of Logan, it is very patchy in regards to where you can get 3G, but I wouldn't say it's too bad. Needs improving of course, no denying that, but I don't think it's as bad as you make it out to be. Optus and Telstra though, no idea.

    I am sorry but those figures are rubbish. My company uses 3G to provide internet to many locations around australia who are without a phone line (some metro and some rural). When the sites were first established, the default setting for our NextG capable modems were to connect to any band frequency. I ended up making a complaint to Telstra because some times I was getting amazing speeds and no packet loss. Other times, I was getting terrible speeds and about 20% packet loss - even though the sites were in fixed locations with a powerful 3g antenna. It ended up being that the times when service and speed was poor, I was being roamed onto Vodafone/3 towers (because all bands were allowed on my modem). Once I forced the 3g modems to 850mhz band only (NextG), speeds and quality were perfect again.

    Vodafone 3G? My Girlfriend and family who are all on Vodapahone, can not even get 3G signal in Camberwell! Everytime we are anywhere close to being a remote area I am the only one that can make phone calls, let alone 3G data!

    I can understand why these results are the reverse to what you would expect.

    Since everyone knows that Telstra has the best coverage (followed by Optus then Vodafone), people who travel extensively or live in remote areas choose Telstra. If those same people chose Optus or Vodafone and submitted their speeds then the results of the survey would look very different.

    Just after spending a week with my brother and his family in Gladstone QLD, I could only get GPRS reception there. I could only use my phone next to one window in the house to make phone calls. This is on the Optus Network. My brother has trouble using his 3G Testra Mobile for making calls. Good for getting footy scores, when Canterbury Bulldogs lose, unfortuneatly. Overall I'm very unimpressed by the mobile coverage by telcos in the regional areas. Have no complaints in capital cities.

    Eh? You say Broadband Choice in the first paragraph, which is the excellent, non-profit site run by Simon Wright and Phil Sweeney, which does not accept advertising from telcos (except via Google ads which it shows to non-logged in users only).

    Then you mention Broadband Expert which is a for-profit site that has an entire business model based around ads and sponsorships from telcos.

    I'm not suggesting the Broadband Expert findings are necessarily biased, but I do think you should be distinctly clear about the source of the info!

      D'oh! Yep, that was a typo. Fixed now.

    Vodafone Speed is really really Rubbish i am sitting next to the opera house and to get directions on my Maps from Opera house to Central by walk took me good 17 minutes not to walk from Opera house to central but jus to get Directions and my Friend Allan who Uses optus got it in couple of seconds.. by the time i got my directions we were at townhall.. Thats how rubbish vodafone 3G network is..

    Voda is the fastest? Joke right?

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