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The infantile argument between Vodafone and Telstra over who has the fastest 4G network has taken another turn, with Vodafone now restricting the claim to Sydney and Melbourne only after a complaint from Telstra.

It is relying on Ookla speedtests done by thousands of Samsung and HTC smartphone users in the first week of July. Ookla (www.ookla.com) is a major communications speed testing company.

Vodafone says its customers averaged a download speed of 48Mbps across ‘parts’ of Sydney, faster than Telstra and Optus, both of which had an average download speed of 26Mbps. In Melbourne Vodafone’s 4G network had an average data speed of 41Mbps, compared to Telstra with an average of 30Mbps and Optus with 23Mbps.

Until today Vodafone was not putting any qualifications on its claim to the fastest 4G network. The more limited claim comes after Telstra sent Vodafone a letter asking it to retract the assertion, after it restacked its spectrum in Brisbane and Adelaide to match Vodafone’s 2x 20MHz spectrum in those cities. Telstra was already on a par with Vodafone in Perth.

“Vodafone is proud to be able to offer our 4G customers in Sydney and Melbourne the fastest data speeds in town at an affordable price,” said Chief Marketing Officer Kim Clarke. “We only launched our brand-new 4G network last month, so customers can expect our coverage to grow. By the end of 2013 we plan to triple the number of network sites from launch. Our network is custom-built for fast data speeds and Vodafone has always had a reputation for offering competitive pricing.”

The Sydney and Melbourne tests reflect seven-day average results gathered on week commencing 1 July from the Ookla Speedtest app. Reference data was pulled from 2,933 speed tests on Android devices connected to Vodafone 4G.

It is unlikely Telstra will be satisfied with Vodafone’s more limited claims. Expect more bickering. Vodafone must be laughing at the free publicity it is getting from Telstra.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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