More Melbourne 4G: No Telling Who’ll Win

More Melbourne 4G: No Telling Who’ll Win

My Melbourne 4G testing continues to demonstrate that absolute statements about network superiority don’t carry much weight. In one suburban test yesterday, Optus 4G got beaten by Telstra 3G; in one CBD test today, Optus 4G topped Telstra 4G.

Picture by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

These are the results (again averaged over three tests) I got yesterday at Forest Hill Shopping Centre at lunchtime. Forest Hill gets 4G signal from Optus, while the “best” Telstra can manage here is DC-HSPA+. But if I paid attention to readers who argue the only meaningful comparison is between 4G services, I would not have discovered that in this particular location the older Telstra network is much faster than the newer Optus one for downloads, albeit rather slower for uploads:

Provider Ping (ms) Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
Optus (4G) 67 9.01 7.18
Telstra (DC) 83 14.66 0.87

Testing at ACMI in the middle of Melbourne at lunchtime today, with 4G from both providers, the results were closer and faster, but came out in Optus’ favour:

Provider Ping (ms) Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
Optus (4G) 69 18.46 15.37
Telstra (4G) 95 14.43 13.26

Based on the comments from readers on yesterday’s story, Telstra’s performance in the Melbourne CBD is a genuinely mixed bag, and that was upheld today. Sometimes, you can get extremely high speeds; sometimes you’re lucky to get a 4G connection at all. When I first arrived at Flinders Street, I couldn’t get 4G (or DC) from Telstra at all. 15 minutes later (and a couple of hundred metres east), it suddenly became available.

That’s life with mobile broadband. Equally, the speeds on both networks are impressive and usable. But I’m as reluctant as ever to state that one is demonstrably superior to the other in terms of performance in areas where both are available.

On the agenda for next week: repeated tests in the same location over a longer period of time so see what the variation is like.


  • Can you test the 3g speeds/pings at the flinders location as well?

    I find flinders station is the worst spot for speed in the CBD when traveling past on a tram or drinking at riverland. Im with telstra and really tempted to jump to 4g ( gs3-lte or razr HD, disappointed there will be no maxx in AU!)

    be interesting to see how the speeds/pings cope with the influx of iphone5 users in the next few weeks all on LTE as well.

  • Angus,
    What device(s) are you using for the tests?

    I’m following this with fairly close attention as I want the SGS III 4G, but I’m seriously considering changing to Optus.

  • Your Telstra results same strange to me.
    Yesterday, I went into the city with my iPhone 5 and at no stage did the download rate drop below 20 mbps, on both the St Kilda Road side and Flinders Street side. The uploads were also above 20 mbps the whole time. Out of the six tests I did, 4 of them had download rates above 30mbps.
    My best result was 43.5mbps down/25.79mbps up, this was on the corner of Victoria and Russell Street.
    The lowest result I got yesterday was opposite the Victoria Barracks on St Kilda Road, 16.22mbps down/26.07mbps up.

  • I have the SGSIII on Telstra. I did several speedtests around Royal Melbourne Hospital and Melbourne zoo and constantly got download speeds above 50Mb/s and uploads above 25Mb/s. I’ve been very happy with the consistency around the CBD.

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