There's more to a phone plan than just how much data it comes with and the price. Global mobile data analyst Tutela recently dropped its latest annual State of Mobile Networks report looking at how Australia's three big telco networks stack up.
Unsurprisingly Telstra did pretty well when it came to consistency and speed, but Vodafone won out on latency. Optus fared alright too, tying with Telstra on two key metrics.
Tutela rates networks on five competencies: latency, download speed, upload speed, "core consistent quality", and "excellent consistent quality". Here's a look at how our three main networks stacked up.
Best plans for excellent consistent quality and upload speed
Telstra came out on top in terms of both "excellent consistent quality" and upload speed.
Excellent consistent quality refers to what portion of a network is suitable for more demanding activities, like streaming high definition video. Tutela found 87% of Telstra's network met the threshold for excellent consistent quality in common coverage areas. Vodafone followed at 84.8% and Optus at 83.3%.
In terms of upload, the Telstra network got median upload speeds of 10.1Mbps in common coverage areas, followed by Vodafone with 8.9Mbps, and Optus with 7.3Mbps.
Here's Telstra's current range of SIM-only plans:
Best plans for core consistent quality and download speed
Telstra and Optus tied when it came to "core consistent quality" and download speed.
Core consistent quality refers to what percentage of common coverage areas can handle basic online tasks, like streaming standard definition video, uploading photos to social media, and web browsing. Tutela found 97.7% of the Telstra and Optus network met the threshold for core consistent quality in common coverage areas. Vodafone was just a hair off, coming in at 97.5%.
The pair were also on par when it came median download speeds in common coverage areas, both measuring in at 22.8Mbps. Vodafone was once again just a hair behind at 22Mbps.
Here's a look at how Telstra and Optus SIM-only plans compare:
Best plans for low latency
Vodafone won out when it came to latency in common coverage areas, recording the lowest pings of out of the big three. Vodafone was fastest with a latency of 14.8ms, followed by Optus at 16.3ms, and Telstra at 17.6ms.
Here's a look at Vodafone's current range of SIM-only plans:
The Australian portion of State of Mobile Networks report is based on over 74 million measurements - including speed and latency tests - taken in areas where Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all have coverage between April 1 and September 30 this year.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.