Level 1: Cadet

Telstra 5g mobile broadband upload speed slower than 4G

I've been using Telstra's Mobile Broadband (Large Data Plan) with an HTC 5G Hub for the last year after dumping Telstra's poorly performing orphan Velocity fibre-to-the-premises network. I'm in an excellent mobile reception area and have brilliant 5G download speeds, almost always over 300 Mbps and at times reaching 800Mbps. 5G upload speeds, however, are ok but not great, typically in the range 25-45Mbps.  When I switch the HTC 5G Hub to 4G only, download speeds are almost always 200-400Mbps, which is less than 5G, but still excellent. However, 4G upload speeds are typically 50-100Mbps, which is about twice 5G upload speeds. So, for all round performance on upload and download, I'm best off using 4G rather than 5G. This just seems plain wrong, especially as I'm paying Telstra for an expensive 5G mobile broadband modem. 


Is Telstra restricting/choking/shaping 5G upload speeds? If so, please stop doing this and make sure 5G upload speeds are faster than 4G upload speeds.


One other point is that I've used the HTC 5G Hub in other locations and both the 5G and 4G download and upload speeds fall away very rapidly as the quality of the mobile signal deteriorates. In my situation, Telstra's mobile broadband is a brilliant substitute for a fixed line NBN Internet connection (which I can't get anyway because of the Telstra Velocity service to my location). However, I wouldn't recommend mobile broadband as an NBN substitute without testing its performance in your location.

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Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Telstra 5g mobile broadband upload speed slower than 4G

Hi - I think that's good advice.  It's very early days in the transition from 4G LTE to the final future 5G New Radio (NR) technology deployment. Currently in Australia, we are seeing an initial hybrid implementation called 5G Non Stand Alone (NSA) which is an interim stage before the future 5G NR is deployed in conjunction with the 5G NSA mobile network. The 5G NR will use much higher frequencies than current 5G NSA and will be backwards compatible.


I am not sure if the current arrangement of the Telstra 5G NSA services use 5G frequencies for both their Downlink and Uplink (that may explain low Uplink speeds) or a combination of 5G NSA (3.5Ghz) Downlink and 4G LTE Uplink ( e.g. 1.8 Ghz and other) to deliver high speed services, however I would lean towards the latter. These Downlink and Uplink speeds are asymmetrical just like they are in previous generations of mobile technology. Depending on your location and local traffic demand, your connection may also vary between the two platforms i.e. you may be automatically swapped from 5G NSA to 4G LTE and vice versa. 


The 5G NSA 3.5Ghz signal has the advantage of being capable of very high downlink speeds, albeit at a low coverage distance, in comparison to 4G LTE but it's the HTC device that determines how much of the Cell Uplink offered capacity it can handle at the time. The HTC datasheet sheet list it as an idyllic 'not for this world' 2,630 Mbps Down / 287 Mbps Uplink - near to a 10:1 ratio.


The 4G LTE 1.8Ghz frequency has the added advantage of being a stronger signal, allowing the 4G LTE to operate at the CAT ratings it is designed to deliver. I don't know enough about how 5G NSA is being deployed by Telstra and whether, when in 5G mode, its 4G LTE Uplink is currently being capped for interim performance purposes i.e. stability testing. You are fortunate to have had the experiences listed - some people on 5G NSA have had drop outs or sometimes not been able to use 5G, falling back to 4G LTE in their area.


In the 4G setting, your speed results indicate the modem is operating in near to idyllic CAT9 (nominal theoretical 450/50 max) and CAT 11 (nominal theoretical 450/100 max) modes which tends to suggest good proximity to the local cell tower and ideal circumstances. I haven't been able to find a published table on the Internet that lists what we can expect from 5G NSA Downlink and 4G Uplink speeds to compare them to those that are published on 4G LTE data - I think there are too many variables and the location of the device being a major factor. 


This diagram gives a concept overview of the future 5G New Radio and how 4G LTE will still play a role in the future deployments. 


https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/5G-Implementation-Guideline-v2.0-July...  Page 19.



Level 1: Cadet

Re: Telstra 5g mobile broadband upload speed slower than 4G

The HTC 5G Hub is supposed to be a CAT20 modem, ie with maximum download/upload speeds of 2000/300Mbps. So the speeds I’ve been getting haven’t been anywhere near those limits. Even the excellent 800Mbps download speed I’ve had a couple of times on 5G isn’t anywhere the download speed capability of a CAT20 modem. I’m pretty sure that in early 2020 when 5G was first available in my area, I was getting up to 80-100Mbps upload speeds on 5G. Now I’m getting 25-45Mbps upload speeds. If I was dropping back to 4G LTE for upload as suggested by Mkrtich, I would expect to be getting the same upload speeds that I get when I set the HTC 5G Hub to 4G only, ie 50-100Mbps upload. So I think Telstra must be restricting upload speeds on 5G, ironically to less than 4G upload speeds when they’re promoting 5G for speed.

Level 21: Augmented
Level 21: Augmented

Re: Telstra 5g mobile broadband upload speed slower than 4G

Understood and I also find this very interesting. I don't have any insight into how Telstra is implementing their 5G around Australia, apart from the limited information I read on the web. There are many factors that determine customer experiences and they do not always match up with expectations given the nature of radio communications and the newness of 5G technology.


I haven't seen any speeds mentioned in Telstra's Critical Information Summaries on 5G Mobile Broadband however, their public information (29-09-2020) is usually conservative with rated typical download speeds for 5G being quoted as between 50Mbps and 300Mbps - location has a lot to do with it and we are still in very early days of adoption.




Telstra has also published a report in July 2020 by an independent organisation called 'umlaut' after they conducted extensive in field testing on all 5G offerings in all capital cities around Australian following their 2019 report. There is a link to the full report in the URL below. These results indicated that Telstra had a 'real world' average download speed of 220 Mbps and the highest peak speed achieved was 900 Mbps (dark blue and light blue section in bar chart); similar to your experienced peak. They also compared the availability of 5G around Australia in another graph and the interesting note there indicated two configurations i.e. 5G and 5G-LTE Mixed Session, so it may be  customers location dependent. Unfortunately they do not list Upload speeds in their report.




I am not sure about the HTC Hotspot CAT 20 capability as it appears to currently support the N78 band (3500Mhz) only, however its Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G CPU is capable of supporting the future 5G millimetre Wave (mmWave) frequencies when they will become available in Australia; perhaps a firmware upgrade. Telstra has started to experiment with this technology in their labs and has achieved great results 4200Mbps/200Mbps, however I would expect these to be difficult to replicate in the real world for everyone. 


Telstra has not supplied extensive information regarding the HTC Hotspot's specifications, so I don't know if the current product has the capability of using 5G sub-6 Ghz @100Mhz using 4x4 MIMO to achieve the claimed speeds of CAT20, however I would expect that theoretical or marketing claim may be possible if it was the only device connected near to the cell base station?  




Given that you were an early adopter, it could be that more customers are now competing for limited bandwidth. Carriers typically control upload speeds so as to allow more customers to access upload resources whilst maintaining higher download requirements, however speeds will always be determined by the demand load placed on the cell; seems that 10:1 ratio is near to real world usage ? - again subject to location and demand load.

Level 21: Augmented

Re: Telstra 5g mobile broadband upload speed slower than 4G

It's the same old story, increased frequency reduces the range..  so unless RF power is increased (hard to do on a mobile) device) performance at a distance suffers..  the end result will be a swarm of transmitters - won't the conspiracy theorists jut love that!


Great information in you posts @Mkrtich 

Stevo 52
Too many devices, probably an addict :-) also a tinkerer and developer of stuff..
Not with Telstra, just another customer like you!

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