The Telstra Mobile Network is known for its extensive coverage and super speeds. It’s the largest mobile network in Australia, covering more than 2.4 million square kilometres and reaching 99.4% of the Australian population, and with our 4GX service Telstra customers have access to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks.
Over the years, numerous mobile network benchmarking surveys have assessed our network performance alongside others in the country to determine Australia’s ‘best’ mobile network or even to compare to other networks globally. Many of these tend to focus on populated metropolitan areas and give little attention to the “mobile” nature of customer usage, which requires service not just where they live but where they travel for work and play as well. In some cases, such surveys also use mobile devices that do not support the highest capabilities of each network tested. Telstra most often wins these surveys, but we don’t believe existing surveys in the industry truly capture the quality, footprint and performance of our network.
Because of this, we made a decision to commission a more comprehensive benchmarking survey that is truly national in scale. Network performance analysts Systemics Group agreed to undertake this survey to provide a fair, independent and fully national view of the coverage and performance of Australia’s mobile networks.
Throughout August and September 2017, Systemics conducted this national benchmark survey of Australia’s three mobile networks – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. They covered a driving distance of over 41,000 kilometres (the equivalent of driving the circumference of the earth!), which is by far the largest mobile survey ever conducted in Australia and one of the largest in the world. They also used the latest device to showcase the best performance of all networks and made over 70,000 calls across the three networks and transferred around 3,000 gigabytes of data. We engaged them to do work to such an exhaustive level because it is important to us that our long standing internal network survey metrics remain valid and that we know exactly how our network is performing for all our customers, not just those in cities.
The survey ranked Telstra as the best Australian mobile operator, with Telstra scoring highest nationally overall across the four performance categories of voice, browsing, data speed and video. Telstra received a national score of 59.81, Optus was ranked second with a score of 48.4 and Vodafone achieved the lowest score of 43.89.
In fact, of the 25 mobile networks globally that Systemics has surveyed recently, Telstra is ranked as having the highest score. The report also notes that all three mobile networks in Australia are good quality.
The national result is consistent with Telstra’s own measurements and many other benchmarks showing that Telstra has a clear gap over the two other operators. Our strengths came through clearest on main highways and rural and remote areas, with voice coverage available for more than 99% of the distance driven and 4G data for 90% of the distance driven. This includes thousands of kilometres of these roads not covered by any other operator, translating into 2,150 km more road coverage than Optus and over 5300 km more road coverage than Vodafone on these routes.
We are pleased with this result, as it recognises our commitment to delivering the largest coverage, fastest speeds and the best network across Australia.
But while we welcome this result, we continue to rely on our own network performance testing to continue to maintain our mobile network superiority – and with our investment of more than $1.5 billion into the Networks for the Future program (as part of our incremental investment on networks, digitisation, and customer experience of up to $3 billion), we aim to keep it that way.
Every day we are working to make our mobile service even better. Last month we introduced our most generous data allowances yet and rewarded our customers with 12-month Foxtel Now subscriptions on many of these new plans so they can stream the best entertainment on the go. Early this year we launched the world’s first Gigabit capable network and device with the Nighthawk modem and in August we confirmed that we had extended our 4G coverage to 99 per cent of the Australian population so more of our customers can access a high-speed data service.
We will continue to invest to give our customers the best mobile experience, with Australia’s largest mobile network, great-value plans and extras like AFL and NRL passes included that customers simply won’t find anywhere else.
The full report is available on the Systemics website.