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Numbers of Wireless Network Quality Problems Differ Considerably

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Telstra Ranks Highest in Wireless Network Quality Performance in Australia

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 30 May 2012 — Overall network quality performance levels for wireless carriers differ depending on whether mobile devices are used for calling, text messaging or data service, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Australian Wireless Network Quality StudySM released today.

The inaugural study measures the most recent usage activities by wireless customers in three categories that impact network performance: calling, messaging and data.  Overall network performance is based on 10 problem areas that affect the customer experience: dropped calls; calls not connected; audio issues; failed/late voicemails; lost calls; text transmission failures; late text message notifications; Web connection errors; email connection errors; and slow downloads.  Network performance issues are measured as problems per 100 (PP100) network connections, where a lower score reflects fewer problems and better network performance.

Overall network performance varies widely by the type of activity being performed on the mobile device, with a higher number of problems experienced by wireless customers conducting data-related activities, compared with placing calls and text messaging.

Overall, customers most often cite problems with data-related issues, such as: Web and email connection errors and excessively slow downloads (22 PP100).  In comparison, the number of calling-related problems--such as dropped calls, initial disconnect and audio issues--is 20 PP100.  Messaging problems, such as transmission failures and late text messages, has the lowest incidence, at only 5 PP100.

Additionally, the specific types of problems experienced vary greatly within each usage type.  Among customers who experience data-related issues, there are more reported problems for excessively slow downloads (24 PP100), compared with Web connection failures (14 PP100) and email connection failures (7 PP100).  The same holds true for specific problems associated with making calls.  There are more reported problems related to general audio issues, such as interference or voice distortion, compared with failed/late voice messages (10 PP100 vs. 5 PP100, respectively).  

The study also finds that the PP100 scores in the Australian market mirror those in the United States overall and in most network problem areas except in the area of excessively slow downloads, in which wireless customers in Australia experience a higher number of problems than do their U.S. counterparts (24 PP100 vs. 21 PP100, respectively).

"Like the U.S. market, Australian wireless customers experience varying degrees of consistency with their overall network quality," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.  "Wireless customers rely on their phones to do everything, from providing them with driving directions to sending picture messages and downloading applications and services, as well as placing calls.  Therefore, it's imperative that service providers continue to invest in improving their networks, especially those related to increasing network capacity, as data-related issues like excessively slow downloads greatly impact future switching."

According to Parsons, wireless network carriers may realize financial benefits by providing high-performing networks.  Among customers who selected their current carrier to obtain better network coverage, average monthly spending is $16 higher, compared with customers who selected their carrier for other reasons.

Among the four carriers included in the study, Telstra ranks highest in overall network quality (10 PP100), achieving fewer customer-reported problems in all 10 network quality problem areas compared with the study average.  Telstra also performs particularly well in limiting data-related issues, such as slow downloads and Web and email connection errors.  

Virgin Mobile follows Telstra in the rankings at 13 PP100, performing particularly well in the call quality category.

The 2012 Australian Wireless Network Quality Study also finds the following usage trends among wireless customers in Australia:

  • On average, wireless customers make/receive 15 calls within a 48-hour period.  This activity rate is identical to that in the United States.
  • Wireless customers in Australia use their mobile device less often for text messaging, compared with customers in the United States.  The study finds that, on average, wireless customers in Australia sent/received 17 text messages during a two-day period.  During the course of a month, this equals more than 255 incoming/outgoing text messages, compared with more than 500 incoming/outgoing text messages in the United States.
  • On average, customers with smartphone devices continue to experience more problems than do those with traditional handset devices--15 PP100 vs. 11 PP100, respectively.  However, the largest gaps in reported problem rates occur in calling-related areas.  In this area, problem rates among smartphone customers average 5 PP100 more than among traditional handset device customers.
  • Average problem rates are lowest among wireless customers in the South and Western Australia regional areas (11 PP100 each), and highest among wireless customers in the New South Wales and Victoria regions (15 PP100).

The 2012 Australian Wireless Network Quality Study is based on responses from more than 1,900 wireless customers across Australia's seven main states.  The study was fielded between February and March 2012.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218;
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103;

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.

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