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Tutela's March 2021 mobile snapshot

Spark tied with 2degrees for first place, out of three, for Excellent Consistent Quality in the latest mobile snapshot. Vodafone has the fastest data speeds, 2degrees has the most responsive network.

In other words everyone comes away with a prize from the Tutela’s March 2021 New Zealand Mobile Experience Snapshot. Even when they don’t, there’s not much separating the three mobile carriers.

Take the consistent quality measurements. Tutela measures the performance of the networks in places where all three offer coverage. Excellent Consistent Quality is where users have a network experience suitable for 1080p video streaming, real-time mobile gaming or HD video calling.

Spark and 2degrees hit the standard more than 80 percent of the time, while Vodafone hits the standard 77.2 percent of the time. Vodafone was slowest in last year’s mobile experience report.

That’s not far behind. In practice casual users moving around New Zealand might not notice any difference. Although the variation will matter a lot for people living in those pockets where Vodafone doesn’t hit the standard.

Tutela New Zealand mobile snapshot consistent quality percentages.

While the absolute numbers on the download and upload speed tests show more variation. Once again, it’s unlikely everyday users will notice much. Unless you are running a speed test app, you might struggle to notice the difference between Vodafone’s 26.9 Mbps download and 2degree’s 21.8 Mbps. The gap between Spark on 19.7 Mbps and 2degrees would be even harder to spot.

That’s not to say these kinds of comparisons are meaningless. They serve to keep carriers on their toes and highlight potential problems. And if the difference between Vodafone’s average of 26.9Mbps and Spark’s 19.7Mbps is important for your applications, then these results are helpful.

Tutela New Zealand mobile speed test results.

Tutela found 2degrees has the lowest latency – that’s usually the time taken for a signal to travel there and back. In this case the researchers compare the median one-way journey time. There’s not much in it, 2degrees is on 23.2ms while Vodafone is 24.6ms. Spark is 29.4ms. Again, most people will not notice the difference.

Unless you have specialist needs, there is nothing in the Tutela data to make you switch from one carrier to another. No single carrier has a significant lead over its rivals. This may change as 5G networks roll out. If you do have specialist needs, it’s worth downloading the full report (although they are now no longer online) as this includes performance broken down region by region.