Australian 4G climbs global ranks: OpenSignal

Australia's 4G networks now provide average speeds of 36.08Mbps, according to OpenSignal, ranking seventh globally behind Singapore, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, and Belgium.

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Telecommunications coverage mapping company OpenSignal has released its LTE report for the final quarter of 2017, revealing that Australia climbed the ranks across both speeds and availability.

According to the report, Australia rose by three places to rank seventh globally in terms of average download speeds, and rose six places to come 13th worldwide in terms of 4G availability.

Between October and December, Australia's 4G speeds averaged 36.08Mbps, behind Singapore on 44.31Mbps; Netherlands on 42.12Mbps; Norway on 41.20Mbps; South Korea on 40.44Mbps; Hungary on 39.18Mbps; and Belgium on 36.13Mbps.

According to OpenSignal, Australia's improved speeds were due to "big network investments from ... Telstra and Vodafone".

New Zealand followed directly behind Australia, with speeds of 33.52Mbps, while the United States trailed with less than half of these speeds, at just 16.31Mbps on average.

The report added that Australia ranked 13th on availability, with 4G networks available to consumers 86.48 percent of the time, behind South Korea's 97.49 percent; Japan's 94.70 percent; Norway's 92.16 percent; Hong Kong's 90.34 percent; the US' 90.32 percent; Netherlands' 89.64 percent; Hungary's 89.26 percent; Kuwait's 88.40 percent; Lithuania's 88.40 percent; Czech Republic's 87.37 percent; Sweden's 87.31 percent; and Taiwan's 87.08 percent.

New Zealand ranked 65th on availability, at 69.07 percent.

India came just behind Australia in terms of availability, at 86.26 percent, but ranked last on speeds, averaging just 6.07Mbps; while the United Kingdom averaged speeds of 23.11Mbps at availability of 77.28 percent.

An OpenSignal report from November had ranked Australia's three mobile telcos, finding that Telstra has the highest average 4G speeds while Optus has the best 4G latency and Vodafone Australia the highest 4G availability.

Telstra's average 4G download speed between July and September was 37.82Mbps, OpenSignal said, with Vodafone clocking in at 35.21Mbps and Optus following on 30.22Mbps.

Optus led on average 3G speeds, at 6.53Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 6.27Mbps and Telstra at 5.66Mbps.

The overall average download speed for each telco was 30.88Mbps for Telstra, 29.44Mbps for Vodafone, and 24.85Mbps for Optus.

On speeds, OpenSignal pointed towards Telstra aggregating five 4G channels, Optus aggregating between two and four, and Vodafone doing the same though over less spectrum.

Telstra and Optus also use 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (256 QAM), the report said, meaning speeds will climb even higher across Australia once more consumers begin using compatible devices.

Overall, OpenSignal said Australia's mature mobile market is a prime area for moving to 5G as seen in trials by Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone.

"With such a mature and competitive mobile market between three carriers, it's nearly time to look ahead at what's next in Australia. And the operators are doing just that, leading trials of advanced technologies as we transition towards a 5G future," OpenSignal said.

"Regardless of future plans, Australia's mobile broadband market today is already among the best in the world when it comes to 4G. Strong signals abound with download speeds are some of the fastest in the world. If any country is building a testbed for future 5G services, it's Australia."

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