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188 posts

Master Geek

  #1008965 19-Mar-2014 13:41
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When I ordered the connection, I wanted 100M SuperSpeed but the sales guy said that it comes free with the 500GB/month data cap bundle.

I guess it doesn't.

I actually used the MyTelstra service to upgrade the connection to "SuperSpeed" and got quite a decent 110/3 service out if it.  Decent for Australia, that is, that really should be the entry level speed for a HFC connection and way better upstream speeds.

Using always trustworthy SpeedTest it seemed that the bandwidth was pretty much static across Australia and NZ.  However going abroad the speed dropped quite dramatically, as it was very constant it was obviously being throttled down.

We paid for 500GB/month but our ordinary usage was around 200GB/month, nothing fancy, a few AppleTV HD movies, only one laptop in the house in addition to the tablet.  When I learnt how the data cap worked, I did spend the last few days downloading files from Finland to add a 100G or two to the usage.  Sorry, that how human mind just happens to work..

The case with the analog phone was quite funny.

Telstra kept leaving me several messages over xmas and NY that I should give them a call.  I simply ignored them.  Finally in mid-January I receive a text that my analog phone line will be installed a few days later, followed by another text that it's not connected.

I never used it nor I know where it was installed, I didn't check the apartment for telephone jacks.

We left Sydney already a few weeks ago and currently we are living in Buenos Aires.  Here the apartment comes with an uncapped broadband, not quite as fast as in Sydney but fast enough for casual use.

I called Telstra early February to cancel the broadband.  I offered to pay until the next invoice period but the guy offered to cancel the service the exact day we were moving out.  Good, he was very nice chap and spoke australian english, not indian.

As I received no confirmation, I used the Telstra 24x7 chat a few days before our departure to check if the service was really going to be cancelled.  After 10 minutes the chat person confirmed it with an order number for cancellation.  Good enough, I had already learnt to not expect anything but the bare minimum from Telstra.

Today, almost a month after leaving Sydney, I finally received a final(?) invoice from Telstra.  $12 AUD so no worries but there was a $99.999 charge for "Temporary Connection Charge Adjustment".  They also charged $43.793 back for the $50 of landline credit they had given me.  I couldn't help wondering what the $99.999 was so I contacted Telstra again.  Turns out that if you cancel a landline too early, there's a $100 fee for that.  I couldn't help laughing.  You pay for the installation, you pay for the device, you get a casual month-by-month contract, and there's still an early termination fee for something you never even wanted.

Considering that the Telstra store sales guy did pretty much everything wrong and didn't have a clue what he was selling, it's not really a surprise that no one bothered to mention this to me.

I told Telstra that they are a telco living 2014 like it was 1995 and I would never recommend them to anyone, $12 AUD well spent.

During our stay in Australia we never saw NBN anywhere.  I guess the australian billions are well spent as well.  Looking at this forum UFB in New Zealand is going forward much better.

We are now in Argentina which is obviously quite a different country from rich Australia.  Using HFC they're (Fibertel) are offering e.g. 12/1 for 200 ARS/month (29 NZD), uncapped.  Fastest is 30/3 for 320 ARS/month (47 NZD).  The price for ADSL (Telefonica/Speedy) is about the same, 179 ARS/month for 10/0.5, 3 month minimum.  With my non-existing spanish I don't want to try to order a fixed broadband, luckily it's included in the rent.

Prepaid data (Movistar) is crazy.  They charge 1 ARS/day for usage, that's only 0.15 NZD/day.  It's for unlimited data -- but after the first 15 megabytes (!), the speed is limited to 64 kbit/s.  Guess how well that works with anything..

Luckily free WiFi is quite easily available.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1076696 29-Jun-2014 21:20
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We returned back to Finland about 1.5 weeks ago, 10 months away from "home".  I guess somewhere around 6 months of travels one starts to forget what "home" actually means.  I guess under this topic is could mean high speed internet access :)

Can you expect something change back home in 10 months?  I'd say no, but I was surprised to be wrong.

The 10/10 basic broadband at home was really stable during the trip.  I have RIPE Atlas device on it and the total outages can be counted in minutes.  Even the Mac Mini acting as a server, without an UPS, was up all the time.

On thursday I called my carrier to get the speed back to 100/10.  To my surprise he also offered 350/20 for 19€/month (30 NZD).  Of course I'll take it.  He could see it available in one system and the other one didn't offer more than 100/10.  We agreed that I'll go with the 100/10 if the faster isn't available.  On monday (friday was a holiday so the next business day) the speed was upped to 100/10 and I learnt that the nearest switch doesn't support the 350/20 option.  I guess it's too old and the customer ports are 100M as my connection doesn't negotiate GE.

Of the two other fiber providers one does up to 250/20, and the other one up to 100/10, but they're more expensive than the deal I've got.

The biggest change has been on the 4G.  We arrived on wednesday afternoon and as my mobile had only the basic, free 256 kbit/s unlimited data I checked the offerings and opted for unlimited calls, texts, and unlimited 50 Mbit/s 4G for 20€/month (~30NZD).  10 months ago the 50 Mbit/s 4G went easily up to 100Mbit/s, but now it was really capped at 50 Mbit/s.

I seem to be getting about 50/25-35 pretty much everywhere in town.  10 months ago the coverage was spotty on other side of our home, now it's good everywhere inside.   The up to 150 Mbit/s 4G is offered only for data devices, not as part of a mobile phone package.  What is actually interesting is that if you buy a 4G SIM for your tablet or USB stick, the price is the same.  The cost for unlimited calls and texts is "the same" as increased usage from a tablet or similar device compared to a mobile phone.

We spent the midsummer weekend in the archipelago as always, on an island without running water, "natural" toilet but they do have electricity.  ~5 years ago there was only GSM EDGE, couple of years ago 3G arrived on the 900 MHz band.  Being me I checked the 4G coverage maps and I was surprised to see that it actually does cover the island.  It seems that my carrier has put more effort to increase the 4G coverage than add DC-HSPA+, the latter isn't that widespread.

That's the 4G I got on the island, pretty good I'd say for summer houses :)

On the way back home I wasn't driving so I was able to do my things and check the 4G speed again.  Driving 130 km/h on the motorway, in the middle of nowhere, what do I get?  The same as in the city.

These days one is always worried that the carriers forget their heritage and start to offer crappy service for frequently increasing prices, and always complain how bad the users are.  


I was happy to see they still take pride for building a decent network.  Such a big change in just 10 months.



188 posts

Master Geek

  #1085899 9-Jul-2014 18:04
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The 4G coverage has really improved, seems to be available "everywhere" I go.

I noticed that one of the carriers has started selling gigabit access for real in January.  It wasn't available in our place but it's no longer in "pilot".

They charge 40 €/month (62 NZD) for the 1000/100 service.  They don't really promise that you get full gigabit out of it, the service is described as "500-1000 Mbit/s" (our telco regulator is pretty tough on the service promises).


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1195226 10-Dec-2014 21:04
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Back here in the Antipodes..  We'll  be again spending the summer in Sydney (+neighbourhoods) and avoiding the Finnish winter.  Happy to have a beer or flat white with anyone who's around.

Here in Sydney I can't see much change in a year, I couldn't find a single apartment for us with NBN although I've noticed that they've been digging around Potts Point and Darlinghurst for cable conduits.  One day I guess..  The apartment we rent came with Telstra ADSL to our surprise, I was already ready to go through the horrors of Telstra Cable because mobile data capped at few GB's isn't good enough.  Now I'm trying to agree with the landlord to get from the smallest 50GB data-cap to the 200GB..

We wen't for Optus "$2 a day" mobile that includes 500MB/day of 4G data.  Good enough, the network is spotty but their 4G has been quite ok in the city areas.  The speeds aren't nothing to write home about, I've yet to see anything above 50 Mbit/s.  We had the same as 3G version last summer as it was unlimited data.

Back at home?  When we returned to Finland in June I upgraded the fixed broadband back to 100/10, took a few days, and now when we left to Australia in October I called again to drop to the free 10/10.  For mobile we went for a new uncapped 4G up to 50 Mbit/s, unlimited calls and unlimited texts plan at 25€/month (40 NZD).  When we left again in November, we moved to another carrier that offers a basic subscription at 0.90 €/month (1.50 NZD).  We'll switch back to something useful when we return, when you're abroad there's no difference anyway and we don't use the SIM's for much.

Overall the market has moved towards offering half-speed 4G, unlimited calls and texts around 25€/month with no-term contract.  The price is valid only for 12 or 24 months but you'll free to switch anytime.  If you prefer faster data, you can get uncapped, unlimited 4G (up to 150 Mbit/s), 100 min + 100 texts at 20€/month (32 NZD).  Term contracts seem to be gone, now they count on people forgetting their old subscription :)

For fixed fiber there are rumours that the carriers are slowing down the "free installs".  If you want it, you need to pay for the installation.  This is due to the fact that most of the high density areas are covered and they're moving to the suburbs with less and less potential customers.

I just noticed that at our home TeliaSonera, one of the three carriers who has installed fiber, is now offering gigabit ethernet.  I can get 1000/100 connection for 50 €/month (80 NZD).  It's pretty steep compared to what I currently pay for 100/10, 5x the price, but I might actually consider it when we return to Finland.  Just because it's available.  I should be able to negotiate ip-TV services included in the price, that's what they do elsewhere.  I'm curious how the performance is and what they promise out of it.


We switched to 65" UHD television during the summer and have been watching the little 4K material available on Netflix.  Not much to watch but at least technically it works like a charm.  Netflix is available locally already but I use unblock-us to access the US material, the content comes from Netflix's local boxes though.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1203494 25-Dec-2014 00:38
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Ok, had to report because something wonderful happened.

Nothing happened with the landlord about the idea to upgrade to the 200GB/month data cap.

Twin Connect was installing fiber to this building on 11th December here in Darlinghurst, Sydney.  I assumed it was for NBN but it was actually for TPG.  The way how they repair the sidewalks after the installation is really bad, it's everywhere around this area and they really make a mess.

On 17th December there was a letter in the mail offering the FTTB service from TPG.  I wrote to the agent telling about it, saying that it's a way better service than the existing Telstra ADSL and cheaper as well.  The next day they replied that the landlord has the Telstra ADSL contract until March but is happy to suspend it if I want to use something different.

Well, on 19th December Friday evening I ordered the TPG FTTB with a 6-month contract, it was just $99 installation fee on top of the usual $59.99/month with unlimited data cap.  My credit card was charged for the initial costs immediately.

On Monday 22th December I got e-mail that the VDSL modem package has been dispatched and I received it on Tuesday.  A few hours later I got text asking if installation the next day would be ok.  Of course!  On 24th December, Xmas Eve(!), around 1pm the TPG's VDSL FTTB was up and running and the technician was happy to leave the Telstra ADSL hanging..

The VDSL modem syncs at 100/40 and I get marginally less for Speedtest servers around Australia and New Zealand.  To the US west coast about 35/15 and 200ms latency.  IPv6 was enabled on the CPE (Huawei HG630) but it's not in use yet.

A friend lives just a few blocks away and TPG wanted to install fiber to their building some 10 months ago.  They didn't want any hassle and simply delayed the whole thing..  Now he's pushing the installation forward and wants to switch from Telstra/Bigpond Cable to FTTB as well.  He was really surprised about my installation experience, he wasn't anything to happen until early January.

Really happy to see such a fast installation, on xmas eve(!) around here, especially after the Bigpond Cable fiasco a year ago.  And I can't complain about the new Internet access either!

Happy Holidays to everyone!


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1316158 2-Jun-2015 12:59
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We are back in Sydney until late June, staying in three different Airbnb places this time.  Unfortunately one of them has no Internet at all and the two other have Vodafone 3G and Telstra 4GX MiFi devices.  The owner of the Telstra apartment is happy that I'll use all the data cap the device has (5GB?), in the place with the Vodafone 3G MiFi the owner sent a message after two days if I could use it a bit less..

I don't understand why these airbnb hosts just don't get a fixed broadband instead of these expensive, low data cap MiFi's.

Luckily we have a few Optus $2 a day SIM's so we are ok, we just keep the Apple TV disconnected and think about our usage.  I've heard that now that Netflix is in Australia, the pipes get pretty full in the evenings as the local infrastructure isn't up to such a usage.

But what's happening at home, back in Finland?   

The most interesting thing in the market is the 4G coverage being built in rural areas.  Two carriers have joined their forces, 20 MHz of license bandwidth from each, to build a shared network.  The area is half of the country but just 15% of the population.  The shared network will use 800 and 1800 MHz bands and be up to 300 Mbit/s in towns, up to 150 Mbit/s in rural areas.  It's really a win-win as there's little commercial potential in those areas and the carriers can continue to dismantle the rural copper networks there.

The New Zealand equivalent would be building a network on south island to cover all the mountains and unpopulated areas with a joint network by Spark and Vodafone.

In the bigger cities 4G has now gone up to 300 Mbit/s speeds.  As getting over 100 Mbit/s was quite possible in the 150 Mbit/s network, interesting to see how the "4G+" performs.

As we return to Finland in July, I need to get my broadband and mobile back there.

I checked the mobile options and I might have to change carrier as I'm tempted by the option of 300Mbit/s 4G and my old carrier is a bit expensive for it (unlimited everything, uncapped data @ 300 Mbit/s, ridiculous 90 NZD/month) -- they had a half price deal for it but I missed it.

The most likely option will be a data capped (!!) carrier, 30 NZD/month for 1200min/1200sms and 10GB/month data cap.  If I reach the 10GB, they'll make it unlimited for additional 9 NZD.  The nice thing is that there's no roaming charges for this subscription in the Nordic or Baltic states.

My Nexus 5 is now 1.5 years old so it's about time to think about a new phone, and no doubt I'm looking into the LTE Cat 6 capable phones.

The subscriptions are still quite reasonable, no fixed contracts but typically the price is just for the next 12 months and then it would change to the bit higher list prices.  One needs to be sharp every 12 months.

For fixed broadband -- not so good.  I have the free 10/10 and I used to pay 14 NZD/month for my 100/10 without a contract.

Now they offer 100/10 for 23 NZD/mo and 350/20 for 38 NZD/mo and both include a uncapped 4G mobile broadband -- with a 24 month contract.  I hate the idea of useless bundle and 24 month contract for fixed broadband.

One of the carriers did a nice move recently and changed the upstream speeds, mostly symmetrical.  They offer, with 24 month contract, 50/50 for 15 NZD/month and 100/100 for 30 NZD/month.  Quite reasonable.  But this is me and I'm tempted by their 1000/100 offer, yes, a gigabit downstream, for 76 NZD/mo and they'll throw an iPad Mini freebie to the deal.  I know people who operate their network and it's a global Tier 1 carrier (TeliaSonera), so it would be a good choice.

The third carrier who has fiber to the building fits between the two.

Overall it looks like that in 8 months I'm moving from uncapped mobile data and cheap, non contract 100/10 to capped mobile data and fixed contract 1000/100 or 100/100 (still undecided, gigabit is tempting but..).  I didn't expect that to happen.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1316873 3-Jun-2015 16:06
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I don't know how I managed to miss this.  I knew that they were a dying breed but..

You cannot buy a new landline in Finland any longer.  The local carrier stopped selling them beginning of 2014 already.

For the old customers the monthly fee is 35 NZD/month + usage.  That is a ridiculous price as it costs the same as a mobile subscription with unlimited calls and texts and uncapped data up to 50 Mbit/s.



188 posts

Master Geek

  #1319803 9-Jun-2015 01:04
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So we decided to go for the 20 €/month (31 NZD) mobile subscription with 1200 min of calls, 1200 texts and 10GB of data in a month for full speed.  If we hit the data cap, we can pay extra 6€ and it will be unlimited for rest of the month.  25€/month is the norm for unlimited, uncapped package.  I figured 50h of calls and 1200 texts is unlimited for us anyway.

My old mobile carrier has been trying to call me half a dozen times in order to make a "better offer".  I hate that.

The fixed broadband was more difficult choice.  I didn't get any response if the old 9€/month (14 NZD) for 100/10 is still available and if their 350/20 service would now be available.

So I made the decision to try the gigabit service, 50€/month (79 NZD) for 1000/100 and an iPad Mini freebie.  However it's a 24 month contract (if we move and they cannot deliver, the contract will be terminated).

Today I finally got a response from my old (current) carrier and yes, the 100/10 deal is still available and they can do 350/20 for  20€/month (31 NZD) as well.  The latter may require someone to visit the site and thus a two week delivery time.  As 350/20 wasn't available a year ago, I guess they have both old and new switch available.

I can still cancel the gigabit order (up to 14 days from delivery) so I need to make a decision to either save money and go for 350/20, or give the gigabit service a try.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1339646 9-Jul-2015 08:08
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I didn't get any response if the old 9€/month (14 NZD) for 100/10 is still available and if their 350/20 service would now be available.

They eventually answered and yes, 350/20 is available for 33 NZD/month but there's a up to two week installation time as they need to change my connection to another switch.  They are playing the annoying game where the web site tells that only fixed + mobile bundles are available but if you ask, you'll get the cheaper fixed-only prices as well.

But as mentioned earlier, I went for the 79 NZD/month gigabit service instead.

The installation before our arrival failed, our address is "93-94" but all the carriers have it as "94" in their system.  There were no cables for "94", just "93", so they didn't install it.  Yesterday I called to check the status of it and they promised to check it out.  An hour later a lady called and she was just connecting it (all the carriers have outsourced the ground work) and we checked out it was working during the call.

Looks pretty good!  And the upstream isn't capped at 100 Mbit/s which is great news.  The performance drops a bit as one leaves the country but I'm still getting several hundred Mbit/s across Europe, and I'm not sure if Speedtest is really that reliable over longer distances (delay).  I would assume the local SpeedTest servers are with 10GE interfaces.

I had a minor issue with my firewall/router, Ubiquiti's EdgeRouter Lite, as I was collecting netflow statistics from it.  It caused the packets to go through the CPU and it peaked around 170 Mbit/s.  Disabling the netflow helped and now packet forwarding is properly offloaded to the hardware.  It still runs a full set of firewall rules and IPv4 NAT, running full 900+ Mbit/s through it and CPU load doesn't change.

Unfortunately TeliaSonera doesn't offer native IPv6 to consumers yet, just 6rd.  But as it's local, it's better than a tunnel to HE in Stockholm and I get rid of the swedish localized content.  The carriers have started IPv6 deployment from the mobile networks and some have it enabeld on the HFC as well, but not on the fiber connections yet (by end of the year is the latest news).  TeliaSonera might keep it as 6rd for a while though.

I haven't been so lucky with the new mobile service.  My rule of thumb has been that for 4G, around 50 Mbit/s is the norm and with good reception one should get 70-100 Mbit/s.  Unfortunately it's not happening.  I've got 70-80 Mbit/s a few times in the city with the new carrier, and yesterday while on a highway driving 100 km/h I finally saw 115 Mbit/s downstream.

I'm most likely to switch back to my old carrier as soon as they have the 300 Mbit/s subscription on sale.  Probably in August, the carrier management has their bonus tied up to the subscription numbers and they always run a deal every quarter.  I don't have a LTE-A capable phone yet but..

I'll be testing it elsewhere in the country and in the archipelago the coming weeks.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1465534 8-Jan-2016 06:31
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Still rocking up here in north..  in a chilling -26 C winter day.

We finished our travels early December and we were supposed to have new SIM's waiting but that didn't quite happen (that's what you get when you order it already in September).  Now we're both back with the old carrier, the 300 Mbit/s capped subscription didn't come for sale but their telemarketer happened to call and I negotiated a deal with him.  I'm capped at 100 Mbit/s for 25€/month and she's capped at 50 Mbit/s for 20€/month, both unlimited calls and texts (40 and 32 NZD/mo respectively).  Both have a 5€/month discount on them, 17-20%.

I never had any issues with the Sonera's 10GB/month cap but their network didn't match my idea of 4G.  I got way too often DC-HSPA+ and sometimes even 2G.  The other carrier, Elisa, is much better with coverage and it's very easy to get 50+ Mbit/s on their 4G, 110 Mbit/s is the fastest I've seen over the last week or two.  I won't be seeing anything faster due to my speed cap.

Elisa has been advertising their services with slogans like "no stupid data cap" and "without stupid data cap".  Sonera sued them because Sonera is the only mobile carrier with a data cap at all so it was obviously referring to them.

They just won the case and they'll be fined 150.000€ (245000 NZD) if they use the slogan.  So now officially here one cannot call data caps stupid as it "has a negative emotion" :-)

Anyway, we didn't switch because of the data cap but because of the network coverage.  I don't like the idea of mobile data cap but I'd be fine with 10-20GB included and 5€ extra for unlimited if I hit the cap.

Baby Get Shaky!
1678 posts

Uber Geek


  #1465613 8-Jan-2016 09:07
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Interesting read (have been keeping up with your posts on this thread but I have to reread it every time to remember). Thanks for the updates. It's always good to get an idea of how it works in the rest of the world.


188 posts

Master Geek

  #1499499 26-Feb-2016 04:17
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Wow.   We were the biggest mobile data users already a year ago, but +61% puts Finland in totally different league.  Average of 4.3GB per month, per every SIM.  Unfortunately that includes only the largest carrier as the two others have not reported their 1H2015 traffic (yet?), one of them had higher usage than Elisa a year ago though.


Funny enough, Elisa itself isn't worried about the data usage -- they are more worried that European Union decides something that makes them to change the business model.


The "data only" SIM they have is a bit weird concept.  I do have a SIM in my iPad but it's an ordinary pre-paid SIM card that I figured was the best fit for my needs (read: ridiculously cheap and long lasting).  At least the concept of Data Only is getting more rare.


NZ isn't included but Australia is.




188 posts

Master Geek

  #1524123 1-Apr-2016 17:00
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Now with all the data in, looks like it's not 4.3 GB but 5.9 GB per any SIM in the country.   Sonera, the only carrier that has some kind of a cap, did 4.4GB on average but the others with uncapped data did 5.9GB and 5.6GB.


Could you imagine New Zealand with 4G networks that pretty much cover the whole country, running the latest Cat 6/9 or whatever speeds, uncapped data, and people doing 4G data more than people in Vodafone's network in India with 185 million customers?  That's possible.





188 posts

Master Geek

  #1524135 1-Apr-2016 17:16
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One more think, Apple style..   A friend was in Zugspitze, Germany, skiing.



Pretty good results on the T-Mobile's "LTE Max" network there.   Can you imagine doing 290 Mbit/s on a mobile network?



5730 posts

Uber Geek

  #1524317 1-Apr-2016 21:58
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I can imagine it, but I can also imagine prices here would skyrocket for 100% nationwide coverage.

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