Mobile connectivity has become a higher priority to many people in the world than running water.
And even though we call our pocket devices "phones", phoning people is usually their least used feature.
Thus, how well a network performs in terms of internet connectivity is a very important factor when considering which telco to sign your soul over to for 24 months.
So we did some tests throughout the suburbs of Mandurah, measuring the internet speeds of the 4G/3G networks. The results are below. See the footnotes for an explanation of the data.
For the non-tech savvy... this is NOT a test of the home wifi speeds with each provider. This is just a test of the internet speeds a device will achieve when talking to the mobile phone towers around town.
For the tech savvy... We used the SPEEDTEST app, on iOS running iOS9.1. We ran up to three tests in each location. The results were an average of the three speeds measured. Tests on both networks were run simultaneously.
What about Vodafone? We didn't invest in a Vodafone sim to test their current speeds at this time. We've been burned pretty bad by Vodafone in the past in terms of network coverage and speeds. Their website states they have planned improvements to much of Mandurah within a few months, so we'll keep an eye on them and look at including them next time.
Please keep in mind there will of course be pockets around the place where one network or another has terrible or brilliant internet speeds. This test was done for comparative purposes, and doesn't claim to be a promise of the speed you will experience.
What's the difference between a download and an upload speed?
Here's a simplified explanation.
Download is how fast the information is sent to your device. For example, the quicker the speed, the quicker that photo on Facebook will load on your phone.
Upload is how fast your device can SEND information. For example, when you press a link to open a new page, you are UPLOADING a request to show you the page. The quicker the upload speed, the quicker your request will get to the website. Also, when you post a photo to Facebook, you are UPLOADING something, so upload speed will be important in this case.
So essentially, to have a decent internet experience you need both a decent download AND upload speed. And as most of us are now carrying around HD video cameras and sending high quality video and photos all the time, upload speed is more important than ever.
What's a good speed? These are just meaningless numbers to me.
Speeds are Mbps (Megabits per second).
To put it in comparison, the best you can get on your home internet with an NBN plan with iiNet is 100 Mbps down, and 40 Mbps up.
So the closer to those numbers, the better.
In my opinion, in 2015, a download speed lower than 10 Mbps is crap, and an upload speed lower than 5 Mbps is painful (even though most people with ADSL2 would love these speeds.)