Who Has The Best Mobile Coverage In Australia? | Canstar Blue (2022)

When it comes to choosing a phone plan, for some of us, mobile network coverage is high on the priority list. If you live in a more densely populated area, it’s likely you’ll not have an issue finding good mobile coverage. But, for those in regional and remote areas, and even some metropolitan areas which somehow seem to miss out on a solid connection, finding good network coverage is vital.

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So, if you’re looking for a new phone plan, or are perhaps fed up with your current plan’s dodgy connection, we’ll take a look at the different mobile networks in Australia and hopefully help you to find which network is right for you.

What mobile networks are there in Australia?

There are only three mobile networks in Australia: the Telstra network, Optus network and Vodafone network. Each of these telcos build their own mobile network throughout the country with different technology types. While 4G networks are the most widely available (with 3G still also available), 5G networks are the latest technology type being rolled out on the three mobile networks in Australia.

Keep in mind that not all areas will be covered by all three mobile networks. Likewise, not all areas will currently have access to the different mobile networks, with 5G still being progressively rolled out by the three telcos. For regional and remote areas, the Mobile Blackspot Program is a government-run initiative in cooperation with the three mobile networks, which aims to extend coverage by building and upgrading more mobile base stations.

Which carrier has the best mobile coverage in Australia — Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone

When it comes to the ‘best’ mobile coverage in Australia, there isn’t an easy answer. Clearly, the best coverage for you, might not be the same as the best coverage for someone else. However, coverage can be measured by how much of the population is covered by that network.

Using that metric, Telstra is the clear winner when it comes to mobile coverage with 99.5% of the population covered by the Telstra mobile network (3G and 4G) and 10,700 mobile base stations across the country.

Optus comes in second with 98.5% of the Australian population covered by 3G and 4G (with 97.3% covered by 4G Plus), while Vodafone trails behind the others with 23 million (out of 25 million) Australians covered, which includes 96% of the metropolitan population.

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Of course, the best mobile coverage will depend on what coverage you can get where you live and any areas you frequently travel to. It’s for that reason that you should check your address (and other areas you travel to) on the maps the telcos provide on their websites, to see what networks have the best coverage in your area.

Optus offers a Coverage Commitment, so if you have coverage issues on its network, you can cancel and Optus will cover any cancellation fees and any remaining device charges (granted you return the device in good working order).

If you want to compare plans from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, the following table shows a selection of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard advertised monthly cost, lowest cost first, then by data allowance. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products which may contain links to referral partners.

Best mobile phone coverage in regional Australia

All three of the mobile network providers have worked at improving regional mobile coverage, particularly in conjunction with the government’s Mobile Black Spot program.

As for which provider has the best regional coverage, since Telstra does cover the widest portion of the population, it does have the widest regional network covered. Telstra also runs a ‘blue tick’ program, where mobile devices have receiver sensitivity tested to see how devices perform for call quality. Devices deemed to provide good voice coverage are given the ‘blue tick’. However Optus is not far behind, with Vodafone still not quite at the same numbers when it comes to reaching regional Australia.

Which carrier has the best 5G coverage in Australia?

When it comes to the rollout of the 5G network, all three telcos have come a long way since 5G first went live in Australia back in 2019.

Telstra is also leading the way with 5G coverage, with 75% of the population covered by Telstra 5G as of June 2021. Optus was the second telco to launch its 5G network, and has over 1,200 5G network sites live as of May 2021, along with one million devices connected to 5G. Vodafone was the last to switch on 5G in March 2020, and states that its 5G rollout is on track to cover 85% of the population in 10 of the largest Australian cities and regions by the end of 2021.

Each of the three networks have rolled out 5G coverage in most of the capital cities and more populous areas and towns. Since 5G is still not quite to the same level of coverage as 4G, if you are looking for a 5G phone plan, you might want to look at coverage maps from each of the telcos first and see which telco has coverage in your area.

How good is mobile coverage from smaller telcos?

Smaller telcos, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) are able to offer phone plans to customers using parts of one of the three mobile networks. Typically MVNOs won’t have full access to the whole mobile network, so you might need to check the network coverage map on the MVNO’s website before signing up.

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If you’re looking for providers offering Telstra coverage, Boost Mobile is the only MVNO to be given full mobile network access — in this case, the full Telstra 3G and 4G networks. Other MVNOs may only have access to parts of the network they offer plans on, although most Vodafone and Optus MVNOs should offer full 4G and 3G coverage.

In the case of MVNOs using the Optus mobile network, Optus is currently the only big telco to offer 5G network access to MVNOs, so you can pick up a 5G plan with a smaller telco. However, there currently aren’t too many smaller providers offering 5G at this stage, so choices are limited.

Typically though, in areas where you have easy access to mobile networks, you’ll most likely find that the MVNO covers you pretty well. Regional and remote areas might have a harder time finding if they will have reliable coverage from an MVNO available to them.

To compare plans from smaller tables, the following table shows a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB data, listed in order of standard advertised monthly cost, lowest cost first, then by data allowance. Use our comparison tool to see a wider range of plans from other providers. These are products which may contain links to referral partners.

The best mobile network — the verdict

Considering how wide the coverage from all three of the mobile networks is now compared to a decade ago, there’s a bit more competition than there used to be. While many people might have the idea that one mobile network provides better coverage than another, it’s worth checking the coverage maps of multiple providers. Just because you only had one network available to you a fair few years ago, doesn’t mean that this is still the case.

Overall, the best mobile network will be the network that gives you the best coverage in areas where you live, work and frequently visit. In order to find the best provider and plan for your needs, it helps to compare not only mobile coverage, but also plan prices and inclusions, to find the right plan for you.

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FAQs

Is Telstra better than Vodafone? ›

Usually, Telstra is the more expensive option in relation to the amount of data you get with your plan, while Vodafone generally offers the most amount of data in relation to price. Optus sits more in the middle ground.

Which network is best in Australia? ›

How can I check which network is best in my area? ›

Tiktik App Can Help Find the Best Network in Your Area
  • Tiktik is a free app that finds the best networks in your area.
  • It uses data from the TRAI Myspeed app.
  • The app is well designed and easy to use.
12 Oct 2017

Which carrier has best signal? ›

Without question, Verizon's 4G LTE network has the best coverage, with 70% nationwide coverage, followed by AT&T with 68%, T-Mobile with 62%, and Sprint with 30%. Because of Verizon's robust network coverage, Let's Talk ranks Verizon as the winner, with the most coast-to-coast coverage.

Is Optus faster than Vodafone? ›

More broadly though, Optus has the edge when it comes to speed. According to OpenSignal's latest Mobile Network Experience Report, Optus ranked second-place overall behind Telstra with average download speeds of 48.3mbps. By comparison, Vodafone lagged behind at 43.4mbps.

Why is Vodafone so cheap? ›

It has massive scale, serving around 270 million wireless customers globally, which few of its competitors can match. Vodafone networks also tend to rank highly in terms of quality, meaning that customers are willing to pay a premium. These factors combine to give the company a narrow economic moat.

Is Telstra faster than Optus? ›

However, Optus was awarded the Fastest 5G Mobile Network in the Ookla speedtest awards for the Q1-Q2 2021 period, with a speed score of 296.47 and median download speed of 323.94Mbps. In the same awards, Telstra ended up with a 280.42 speed score with a median download speed of 304.14Mbps.

Does Vodafone use Telstra towers? ›

Vodafone and TPG will soon use Telstra's network to improve regional coverage. Telstra and TPG have today announced a new deal which allows the two major telcos to share network access, greatly improving the latter's coverage in regional and rural areas, which has been a sore point for the network to date.

Does Vodafone use Optus towers? ›

Vodafone uses its own network to operate. Every Australian mobile relies on either the Vodafone, Telstra or Optus network. A considerable number of mobile providers rely on the Vodafone network, making it a major network provider in Australia.

How can I check mobile Signal Strength in my area? ›

For Android

Android users have the signal strength feature hidden deep down in Settings. Go to the Settings app > About phone > Status > SIM status > Signal Strength. You will see numbers expressed in dBm (decibel milliwatts).

Which network is best? ›

In 2022, T-Mobile isn't just America's fastest network, it's also the best.

How do I check Signal Strength? ›

Another sequence for some Android phones is:

Settings –> More Options (or More Settings) –> About Phone –> Mobile Networks On this screen, view Signal Strength.

Which phone has the best signal strength? ›

According to SmartphonesReveales, Samsung S21 has the best score in signal strength based on antenna quality. The S21 smartphone tops the list with a score of 9/10, which is much higher than the OnePlus, Motorola, and iPhone 12 that have 7/10.

Do newer phones get better signal? ›

As cellular networks evolve, smartphones on the market improve as well. Account issues, network settings, hardware damage or outdated software could all contribute to poor signal on older models. Newer devices tend to have better reception because they tap into more parts of the signal spectrum.

Which smartphone is best for signal? ›

  • Samsung Galaxy S22+ ...
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro. ...
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. ...
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini. Best Small iPhone. ...
  • OnePlus 10T. Best Mid-Band 5G Reception. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22. Best Small Android Phone. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Best for Super Zoom and Built-In Stylus. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy A53. Best Midrange 5G Reception.

What is the fastest mobile network in Australia? ›

Telstra is Australia's Speedtest Awards Winner for mobile network speed during Q3-Q4 2021. To win this award, Telstra achieved a Speed Score of 102.55, with median download speeds of 78.32 Mbps and median upload speeds of 11.67 Mbps.

What network does Optus use in Australia? ›

The Optus network operates on the following bandwidth frequencies across Australia: 3G UMTS 900/2100 MHz. 4G LTE 700 / 1800 / 2100 / 2300 / 2600 MHz network which has been in progressive rollout since 2012.

Which network has the best speed? ›

Vodafone topped the chart in the upload segment, with a network speed of 6.7 Mbps. It was followed by Idea with an upload speed of 6.1 Mbps, Jio 4.2 Mbps and Airtel 3.9 Mbps.

Is Vodafone worth buying? ›

Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) shares have risen strongly in value in 2022. While the broader FTSE 100 is down 2% since the start of the year, Vodafone has risen around 16%. The falling Footsie means dividend yields have surged across much of the index.

Which is the better network Three or Vodafone? ›

Winner: Vodafone generally have better 4G coverage than Three. Vodafone's 4G coverage consistently ranks above Three's, especially when we move away from urban centres and look at rural coverage instead.

Does Vodafone have good coverage? ›

Network coverage

Vodafone has at least 99% UK 4G population coverage across thousands of towns, cities and villages, and has also started rapidly rolling out 5G. It's important to remember that if you want EE's good coverage, you don't necessarily need to take out a contract with EE.

Who has the fastest 4G in Australia? ›

Telstra customers are getting faster speeds than both Optus and Vodafone users with 4G and 5G Australia-wide, based on the latest Speedtest data. It's official: Telstra is Australia's fastest mobile network, clocking in at a speed score of 102.55Mbps.

Is Telstra or Optus 5G better? ›

Optus now holds the crown for fastest 5G speeds, while Telstra has the widest 5G coverage. Australia's 5G race continues to heat up as the latest Systemics-PAB report indicates Optus 5G average download speed is 22 percent faster than Telstra's.

Is Optus owned by Telstra? ›

Optus is owned by Singtel (Singapore Telecommunications Limited), which is one of the four major telcos in Singapore.

Is TPG better than Vodafone? ›

So which is better, TPG or Vodafone? After deep-diving into both home wireless offers, TPG comes out on top compared to Vodafone. It's offering unlimited data with up to 20Mbps speeds for $54.99. Vodafone only has data-capped plans that once you cross will give you only 1.5Mbps speeds until your next month.

What network does Woolworths mobile use? ›

Woolworths Mobile uses parts of Telstra's 5G, 4G and 3G* mobile networks. With our top-rated Mobile App, Olive our virtual assistant, online self-service tools, plus our Australian based call centre, we make managing your mobile plan as easy as doing your grocery shopping.

Does Aldi use Telstra network? ›

Big telco coverage

We use parts of the Telstra 5G, 4G and 3G network to deliver ALDImobile coverage to more than 98.8% of the Australian population.

How can I improve my Vodafone signal? ›

Try these device settings troubleshooting steps:
  1. Check device settings. Check your device is set to automatically select a network.
  2. Turn on 5G/4G. If you're using a Vodafone 5G approved device or a 4G device, check that you have 5G/4G turned on.
  3. Update device software. ...
  4. Turn off airplane mode.

Who owns Telstra Australia? ›

In 1998, a further 16% of Telstra shares were sold to the public, leaving the Australian government with 51% ownership.

How do you find the strongest cell signal? ›

How to Read Your Android Cell Signal?
  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap About Phone.
  3. Tap Status or Network.
  4. Tap SIM Status.
  5. Your dBm is under Signal strength.
17 May 2022

How can I increase my mobile signal strength? ›

Articles
  1. Remove any type of cover, case or hand blocking the antenna of the smartphone. ...
  2. Remove obstructions between your smartphone and the cell tower. ...
  3. Conserve your cellphone battery. ...
  4. Check your SIM card for any damage or dust. ...
  5. Switch back to 2G or 3G network.
9 Nov 2021

What causes poor signal strength? ›

But weak, inconsistent, or poor-quality signals can happen for a number of reasons. Averse weather, interference from building materials or terrain, distance from your nearest cell tower, or network overload can all contribute to poor signal.

Who has better 5G? ›

And that's good news if you're getting your wireless service from T-Mobile. According to the latest report from RootMetrics (opens in new tab), T-Mobile retained its spot as the best 5G network in the U.S., thanks to both speed and availability.

Who is the best 4G network? ›

India's 4G-only operator, Jio, is victorious on 4G Availability as our users on its network spent the greatest proportion of time connected to 4G services — 99.5%. Airtel is in second-place with a 4G Availability score of 98.3%, followed by Vi's score of 92%, while BSNL lagged further behind with 63.6%.

Which Sim is best for data? ›

The best unlimited data SIMs to buy
  1. iD Mobile: The best budget unlimited data SIM. ...
  2. EE: The best unlimited data SIM for speed. ...
  3. Three: The best-value unlimited data SIM. ...
  4. Vodafone: The most versatile unlimited data SIM. ...
  5. O2: The best unlimited data SIM for extras. ...
  6. Smarty: The best unlimited data SIM with a short plan.
5 days ago

Why do I only have 1 bar on my phone? ›

Why Do I Only Have One Bar on My Phone? Usually, one bar of service on your phone means you're receiving poor signal because you're too far from the nearest cell tower or something is blocking the signal from getting to your device.

How can I get a better signal on my iPhone? ›

How Can I Increase My Mobile Signal Strength?
  1. Method 1: Remove Your iPhone's Case.
  2. Method 2: Turn Off 5G.
  3. Method 3: Find a Better Location.
  4. Method 4: Disable Wi-Fi.
  5. Method 5: Use Wi-Fi Instead.
  6. Method 6: Update Your OS and Apps.
  7. Method 7: Reset Your Network Settings.
  8. Method 8: Buy a Cell Phone Signal Booster.
18 Jun 2021

What is the best signal strength for 4G? ›

Excellent signal strength for 4G is around -90 dBm.

Which cell phone has the best reception 2022? ›

So, which 5G network is the best right now, in 2022? The short answer is: T-Mobile, which has the best overall 5G coverage and the fastest average 5G speeds, according to OpenSignal.

Does iPhone or Samsung have better reception? ›

The PCMag Article

In it, they say that iPhones consistently place second behind Samsung Galaxy phones in speed tests. After looking at their findings, it's hard to argue with the data. It appears that, depending on strength of signal and the device you're using, yes, Android phones get better reception.

Do 5G phones get better reception? ›

That's why the carrier won our Fastest Mobile Network award for the first time in 2021. And as we've tested T-Mobile 5G phones in New York over the past year, we've found that 5G speeds can be anywhere between three and 10 times faster than what we're seeing on the carrier's 4G system.

Which phone has best signal strength 2021? ›

Smartphones with the best antennas
  • Motorola Edge 20 (2021) 128 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 128 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 256 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 512 GB. ...
  • OnePlus 10T (2022) 128 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 128 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 (Android) 128 GB. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 (Android) 256 GB. Test Score 78/100.

Which is the best Android phone in 2022? ›

  • Google Pixel 6 Pro. ...
  • Google Pixel 6a. Best for Elegance on a Budget. ...
  • Moto G Power (2022) Best Battery Life. ...
  • Moto G Pure. Best Affordable Android Phone. ...
  • OnePlus 10T. Best Reception. ...
  • OnePlus Nord N20. Best Value for Speedy Performance. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22. Best Small Phone. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Best for Artists and Photographers.

How do you fix bad phone signal? ›

Make Sure Your Phone is in Peak Working Condition
  1. Update your software. ...
  2. Turn off any services you're not currently using. ...
  3. Change your Voice and Data settings. ...
  4. Turn airplane mode on and off. ...
  5. Reset your network settings. ...
  6. Manually re-select the network operator. ...
  7. Have your phone checked for damage.

Is buying an unlocked phone a good idea? ›

Since it's unlocked, it usually has a higher resale value. The caveat is that you might not get every network feature, like Wi-Fi calling or HD voice, and the carrier won't guarantee that the voice or data network will work perfectly on your phone. In other words, you're on your own.

Do cell phones lose reception over time? ›

Most phones that are over several months old will start to lose the quality of battery life from everyday usage. A low battery can impact the quality of your signal because it has to work significantly harder to communicate between your phone and the cell tower.

Are all new phones 5G? ›

Most new phones, including mid-range options like the OnePlus Nord N200, support 5G now, but there are still many cheap phones that don't. So if you're looking to save some money on your phone, leaving out 5G is a good way to save.

Does Vodafone use Telstra towers? ›

Vodafone and TPG will soon use Telstra's network to improve regional coverage. Telstra and TPG have today announced a new deal which allows the two major telcos to share network access, greatly improving the latter's coverage in regional and rural areas, which has been a sore point for the network to date.

What is the fastest mobile network in Australia? ›

Telstra is Australia's Speedtest Awards Winner for mobile network speed during Q3-Q4 2021. To win this award, Telstra achieved a Speed Score of 102.55, with median download speeds of 78.32 Mbps and median upload speeds of 11.67 Mbps.

Does Vodafone have good coverage? ›

Network coverage

Vodafone has at least 99% UK 4G population coverage across thousands of towns, cities and villages, and has also started rapidly rolling out 5G. It's important to remember that if you want EE's good coverage, you don't necessarily need to take out a contract with EE.

Which carrier does Vodafone use in Australia? ›

What network does Vodafone use? Vodafone uses its own network to operate. Every Australian mobile relies on either the Vodafone, Telstra or Optus network. A considerable number of mobile providers rely on the Vodafone network, making it a major network provider in Australia.

Is TPG better than Vodafone? ›

So which is better, TPG or Vodafone? After deep-diving into both home wireless offers, TPG comes out on top compared to Vodafone. It's offering unlimited data with up to 20Mbps speeds for $54.99. Vodafone only has data-capped plans that once you cross will give you only 1.5Mbps speeds until your next month.

What network does Woolworths mobile use? ›

Woolworths Mobile uses parts of Telstra's 5G, 4G and 3G* mobile networks. With our top-rated Mobile App, Olive our virtual assistant, online self-service tools, plus our Australian based call centre, we make managing your mobile plan as easy as doing your grocery shopping.

What network does Optus use in Australia? ›

The Optus network operates on the following bandwidth frequencies across Australia: 3G UMTS 900/2100 MHz. 4G LTE 700 / 1800 / 2100 / 2300 / 2600 MHz network which has been in progressive rollout since 2012.

Which SIM card is best in Australia? ›

  • Best overall SIM. : Boost Mobile.
  • Best big data SIM. : amaysim.
  • Best budget SIM. : Lebara.
  • Best SIM for the Outback. : Telstra and Boost Mobile.
  • Best SIM for a quick trip. : amaysim.

Is Telstra 4G faster than Optus? ›

Telstra customers are getting faster speeds than both Optus and Vodafone users with 4G and 5G Australia-wide, based on the latest Speedtest data. It's official: Telstra is Australia's fastest mobile network, clocking in at a speed score of 102.55Mbps.

What phone company has the fastest data? ›

Fast download speeds

Verizon clocks in around 30.2 Mbps. T-Mobile currently owns the fastest data speeds at 54.1 Mbps, and AT&T comes in second at 35.3 Mbps. Instagram stories, YouTube videos, and online gaming apps should all pull up quickly and smoothly on Verizon's network.

Which network is best Vodafone or Idea? ›

Vodafone is also rated excellent in terms of connectivity and 4G availability, with a slight drawback that the cost is higher. Most users have carefully considered airtel vs Vodafone network coverage and suggested that Vodafone Idea provides better 4G coverage.

How much of Australia does Optus cover? ›

With Optus covering 98.5% of the Australian population, how do the other major telcos compare? According to their websites, Telstra covers over 99% of the total Australian population, while the Vodafone network covers 96%.

What network uses Vodafone? ›

Overview Of Networks Using Vodafone. Besides Vodafone themselves, there are currently four other mobile networks using coverage from Vodafone in the UK. They are ASDA Mobile, Lebara Mobile, Talkmobile and VOXI. If you're using one of these networks, you'll get the same coverage as customers on Vodafone.

What happened to Vodafone Australia? ›

Vodafone is the third-largest wireless carrier in Australia, with 5.8 million subscribers as of 2020. Vodafone Australia became a subsidiary of TPG Telecom after the merger between Vodafone Hutchison Australia Limited and TPG Corporation Limited, in July 2020.

Will Optus match Vodafone plans? ›

We'll match any competitor's upfront retail price on the same 5G mobile phone provided it is in-stock and the upfront price is not tied to any other offer. The 5G Phone Price Match discount is available with upfront purchase or can be split over 12, 24 or 36 months on a device payment plan.

How can I improve my Vodafone signal? ›

Try these device settings troubleshooting steps:
  1. Check device settings. Check your device is set to automatically select a network.
  2. Turn on 5G/4G. If you're using a Vodafone 5G approved device or a 4G device, check that you have 5G/4G turned on.
  3. Update device software. ...
  4. Turn off airplane mode.

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