Telstra is Australia's best mobile provider for speed and coverage, survey finds

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Telstra has dominated the rankings in a recent report on the Australian telco industry, but a surprise runner up suggests a shake up among the three major providers.

Independent crowdsourced data company Tutela conducted the study, and found that Telstra consistently delivered the best mobile experience in Australia overall. The provider also came out on top for fastest download speed and best coverage.

But Telstra wasn’t the winner in every category – Vodafone snuck into second place for having the fastest upload speed in Australia, and having the best latency result among the big three.

The big three go head-to-head

The survey analysed data from common coverage areas – parts of the country where Telstra, Optus and Vodafone were present – to see how they compared head-to-head. 

Telstra was number one for consistent quality in these areas, offering 'excellent' coverage 86.1% of the time. Vodafone trailed slightly behind with a figure of 84.5%, while Optus had a 4.6% difference in performance to Telstra, finishing with 81.5%.

Graph of consistent quality percentage in common coverage areas

(Image credit: Tutela)

When it comes to download speed, Telstra again takes the cake with a median speed of 27.8Mbps, outpacing the competition by 4.1Mbps. Optus came in second with a median download of 23.7Mbps, with Vodafone fractionally behind with 23.4Mbps.

It was a different story for median upload speed in common coverage areas though – despite ranking last place in the download speed test, Vodafone forged ahead and came in with the fastest upload speed at 12.8Mbps.

Telstra came in with the second-fastest upload speed at 12.5Mbps, and Optus slipped to last place with a median upload speed of 9.8Mbps. Tutela attributes Optus’ slower upload speed to its use of time-division duplex (TDD) technology, which can be configured to prefer download throughput at the expense of upload throughput.

The findings were a little surprising, and when it comes down to Optus and Vodafone, the latter is arguably better if you live in a 'common coverage area' and don't mind the lack of 5G coverage.

Jasmine Gearie
Ecommerce editor

Jasmine Gearie is an ecommerce editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.