Optus shows fastest speeds in Sydney 4G test
- To use the interactive above click 'suburbs', 'summary' or any red dot
- Speed test from March 2011: finding the ring of confidence in city's great beep test
If you happen to live in Marrickville and use Optus for your 4G smartphone, you're in luck.
Optus customers in the inner-west suburb have among the fastest mobile internet download speeds in Sydney, a road test by Fairfax Media, publisher of this article, has found.
Three iPhone 5s conduct a speed test in Gladesville. Two tests were conducted on each carrier in the suburb and the result was averaged out in the interactive.
Thirteen locations in and around Sydney were tested for how quickly data could be downloaded and uploaded on the Telstra, Optus and Vodafone mobile networks.
Optus and Telstra are gradually rolling out 4G networks across Australia, which offer download speeds that are up to four times faster than 3G. Vodafone says it will not start offering 4G until "early next year".
Tests of Optus's network in Marrickville revealed download speeds of 37.01 megabits per second - more than 50 per cent faster than an ADSL 2+ broadband connection running at 24 megabits per second.
Ben Grubb, seen conducting speeds tests at Blues Point Reserve in Sydney.
The news is less good if you use Telstra and live in Lane Cove, where its download speeds were the lowest recorded on its network.
Data downloaded faster on the Optus network than with Telstra at all but two of the 13 locations tested.
Vodafone users are worse off still - without access to 4G networks they almost always have the slowest download speeds. Vodafone trailed its two bigger competitors at 12 out of 13 locations.
Of the three companies, Telstra leads the field with 13.8 million mobile subscribers. Optus has 9.5 million and Vodafone 6.8 million.
The telecommunications analyst Foad Fadaghi, of research firm Telsyte, said the time of day data was accessed often had more to do with the data download speeds than network performance.
"Whether or not there are a lot of people using the service at the time a test was done can dramatically impact the speeds on 4G,'' he said.
Other factors affecting speeds included the distance between the phone and a tower and whether you were indoors or outdoors.
Mr Fadaghi said the frequency carrying 4G in Australia was not ideal for indoor use, but this would improve when the move to lower frequencies happened in the future.
However, the time taken to download data on 4G would increase as more subscribers signed up to use it.
To use 4G, people need either a 4G-compatible smartphone or mobile broadband dongle and to upgrade their plan with their phone company.
Even where only 3G networks were available, Vodafone struggled to deliver better results. At times, its network did not work at all, requiring the smartphone to be disconnected and reconnected.
Telstra did not do as well as Optus because, in the areas randomly selected for testing, it trailed the Singapore-owned company in rolling out 4G.
Optus had 4G available in every suburb tested whereas Telstra had it in only six locations.
Telstra said "most, if not all" of the suburbs where it did not offer 4G would have it in the next nine months.
Optus said its aim was "providing good coverage density" for customers in set areas as it rolled out 4G.
Vodafone said it was working ''around the clock'' to deliver a good experience for its customers.
Fairfax Media used the speedtest.net app on three different iPhone 5s to conduct the tests.
* All speed tests listed in the interactive (except Central Station) were conducted September 24. The speed test at Central Station was conducted October 2.
This reporter is on Facebook: /bengrubb