I switched my mobile phone account back to Telstra

Much of my life is on the internet so slow network speeds really irk me. Which is why, two years ago, I moved my personal mobile account from Telstra to iiNet.

The need for speed

Back in 2016 the Optus mobile broadband network had among the best 4G data speeds: 21% faster downloads and 33% faster uploads compared to Telstra (when measured from my office). And the prices offered by resellers of that network, in my case iiNet, were significantly lower too.

I’d been with Telstra for ten years, but switching to iiNet — who were offering a clearly superior product — was an obvious choice. (I’d had iiNet as my home broadband ISP for over seven years by that point too.)

I need 4G at work

I currently spend about a third of my day in the office every single weekday. When I’m there I connect my work phone to the corporate Wi-Fi network. However, for various reasons, I don’t connect my personal phone to work’s guest Wi-Fi network. So, for over half of my weekday waking hours (more if you count my commute), I rely on my phone’s 4G connection.

This was all well and good till about two months ago.

We move to a new building

My office is in Collins Square, which is a five-tower complex in Docklands, Melbourne. Two months ago we moved offices from a tower at the front of the complex (adjacent Collins Street) to a tower at the back (overlooking the Yarra River). The views from this new building are much better, but the 4G download speeds for Optus mobile network users are much, much worse.

My work phone is with Telstra, so I was able to compare the 4G download and upload speeds I was getting from both Telstra an iiNet in this new building. The results speak for themselves.

The 4G speeds I was getting from iiNet were better than what they were in 2016, of course, but they were 8 times slower than what I was getting from Telstra.

Better coverage goes a long way

Telstra has always had better mobile and mobile broadband coverage in both urban and rural areas across Australia. That superior coverage was making all the difference here.

An investigation revealed that the the iiNet cell tower that gave me the best signal strength in the new office building was behind two of the other Collins Square buildings. Meanwhile the Telstra cell tower that gave me the best signal was just across the river.

So, yeah. The decision to switch back to Telstra was about as easy as it had been to switch away in the first place.

The good news is that, over the last two years, Telstra’s customer service has improved considerably. Ten minutes with an agent at one of their stores was all it took to make the switch back. And, as a bonus, I’m getting three times as much data from Telstra for the same monthly price I was paying at iiNet.

All is well again.

Update 4/2/19: Since publishing this post I discovered that Telstra has activated a cell tower at the top of Collins Square! Since that’s the tower my phone now connects to most often, my 4G connection is now even faster and is considerably more reliable from all corners of the office.