Mobile Data Speeds

Mobile Data Speeds in Australia

What Determines Mobile Data Speeds

So what does determine mobile data speeds? The internet speed you experience on a mobile network is determined by several factors:

Mobile Data Speeds affected by environment

The Mobile Network

  • The data speed of the base station - HSPA, HSPA+, LTE etc.
  • The capacity of the base station - how many users it can handle at a time.
  • The backhaul capabilities of the base station - the connection speed between the tower and the network.
  • The amount of frequency channel bandwidth the carrier is using. The wider the channel bandwidth, the wider the pipe is to send data. Standard channel bandwidths used by the carriers in Australia are 10 MHz or 15 MHz. Vodafone plan on using 20MHz of bandwidth for 4G.

The Environment

  • The terrain between the user and the base station - trees, buildings, water, hills can degrade the signal.
  • Weather conditions - rain, wind, snow can degrade the signal.


  • Amount of devices connected to the base station at one time - the greater the number using internet the slower the data speed.
  • The distance between the base station and the user - the further the distance the slower the speed can be.
  • Signal level on the users device - the lower the signal the slower the speed can be.
  • Signal quality received by the users device - the lower the quality of the signal the slower the speed can be.
  • The mobile device being used - data speeds supported, amplifier power, MIMO antenna support.

Mobile Data Speeds In Australia

When referring to mobile data speed there are a number of terms that are used to describe the technology:

Downlink Speed*
Uplink Speed*
CSD (circuit switched data)
9.6 Kbps
used for telemetry applications
GPRS (general packet radio service)
114 Kbps
EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution)
237 Kbps
384 Kbps
HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)
7.2 Mbps
384 Kbps
HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access)
14.4 Mbps
5.76 Mbps

21 Mbps

5.76 Mbps
DC-HSPA (Dual Channel / Dual Carrier HSPA)

42 Mbps

22 Mbps
LTE (Long Term Evolution)
100 Mbps
50 Mbps

*The above information is based on the typical speeds used by module manufacturers in mobile devices and also carrier network speeds. It may not be the maximum speed achievable by each data protocol.