The latest Opensignal report has revealed the 5G network performance of leading operators — Optus and Telstra – in Australia.
Opensignal did not analyse Vodafone’s 5G service which is very new. Vodafone launched 5G only a few months ago with initial coverage in just one location.
5G customers of Telstra experienced download speed of 231.8 Mbps as it beat Optus by an impressive 61.9 Mbps (36.4 percent).
Optus and Telstra are statistically tied on 5G Availability — the percentage of time that 5G users spent connected to 5G services. Both obtained percentage scores that are comfortably below the double digit mark — not surprising given that the first 5G commercial launch in the country was in May 2019.
The average speeds 5G users have observed while connected to 5G services were 3.9 (Optus) or 4.6 (Telstra) times faster than the average 4G speeds users observed in recent Mobile Network Experience report.
5G Availability is not the same as the percentage of Australia’s population or geography covered by 5G, given that initial 5G deployments tend to be focused in city centres and the Covid-19 pandemic is encouraging users to spend more time in residential areas.
Telstra users’ 5G download speed has risen from 157 Mbps to 231.8 Mbps, an increase of 74.8 Mbps (47.7 percent). In addition, the proportion of time that Telstra 5G users spend connected to 5G has grown from 5.9 percent to 8.2 percent, an increase of 2.3 percentage points.
Australia’s operators have recently made a number of technical achievements. For example, in February Optus switched on dual-band support for 5G, allowing its use in both the 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands.
In early May, Telstra announced that its network can support 5G standalone access (SA), which allows the latest generation of 5G smartphones to connect to 5G services without assistance from a 4G network.
Telstra claims that it now covers a third of Australia’s population with 5G and is seeking to increase this to 75 percent by June 2021.
Opensignal tested 5G download speed to the typical content delivery networks used to host popular mobile apps and websites.
The report said current 5G download speeds are far short of the 1Gbps or higher speeds that are often associated with 5G technology. This is because these are average speeds, not peak speeds, and in tests users will experience much faster 5G speeds occasionally.
Australia will auction mmWave spectrum in early 2021. The mmWave spectrum is ideally suited to enabling even faster average 5G download speeds. Optus and Telstra have been testing mmWave technology. Vodafone said mmWave technology is part of its long-term network strategy.