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Telstra customer chews through 425GB of mobile data during free data Sunday

A screenshot of a speed test John carried out on Telstra’s 4GX network in Sydney. Photo: Imgur Telstra chief operating officer Kate McKenzie said Tuesday’s fault was caused by “an embarrassing human error”. Photo: Daniel Munoz

A Telstra customer ripped through a mammoth 425GB of mobile data during the telco’s free data offering on Sunday.

Telstra made the offer to its mobile customers as an apology for the “embarrassing human error” which caused widespread network outage last Tuesday.

425GB of data is more than enough to download all five seasons of Game of Thrones in high definition – four times over.

The data-hungry customer, John, from Rhodes in Sydney, said he downloaded all 25 seasons of the Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made; a “few other random TV show seasons”; and synced his entire Steam computer game library – 172 games in total – to a portable hard drive.

The lucky customer said he was using an LG G4 smartphone and was connected to Telstra’s 4GX network, which is multiple times faster than regular 4G.

A screenshot of speed tests throughout the day showed he enjoyed download speeds of 104Mbps to 168Mbps, and upload speeds of between 31Mbps and 42Mbps.

“The best I get on my normal wonder-copper at home is 1.5Mbps ADSL1 due to location [distance from exchange],” John said, clearly happy to be lapping up super-fast mobile broadband free of charge.

John told Fairfax he had tethered his own laptop as well as his girlfriend’s to the mobile phone using a Wi-Fi hotspot.

He said he was “very” happy with unlimited data on the 4GX connection.

“Because my home internet is slow, I would not be able to do this normally,” he said.

“So the moment I heard about the free data offer, I spent the week getting downloads ready in preparation for Sunday.

“I’m now caught up on about 3 months worth of downloads.”

By midnight, when the free data was due to switch off, he said he “ran out of things to download”.

John said Australia had some of the most expensive data in the world and it was nice to not be restricted for once.

Other customers bragged they had downloaded even more than 400GB, but did not provide any screenshots of their usage.

“Plenty of users including myself did more than 400GB (and I would have easily done more than 600GB if I was around to start the next batch of downloads after the previous ones finished earlier than I expected),” boasted one user on the Whirlpool forum.

Not everyone was happy with the day’s offering, with reports of slow speeds or interruption to data connections in some [email protected] hi Ivan calls and text worked, no 3G or 4G from 2pm when I looked til well after 7:30pm.— Katie (@KatieShakleton) February 14, 2016

But sentiment across Telstra’s customer base on social media was largely positive, with many reporting solid connections and speeds.

Telstra group managing director for networks Mike Wright said Sunday was Telstra’s “busiest day ever” in terms of data traffic, doubling the usual amount across the network.

By midnight Sunday users had collectively chewed through 1841 terabytes of data — equivalent to around 2.3 million movies.

“As soon as midnight [Saturday] ticked over we saw traffic jump up,” Mr Wright said.

“It reached weekday peak traffic levels by 8am and climbed rapidly from there.

“As we anticipated, the high demand meant some customers had slower than normal data speeds on 4G services, but overall the network performed as designed,” Mr Wright said.

Mr Wright said Telstra hoped the offer made up for some of the inconvenience caused during the previous week’s outage.

Some small businesses have not been happy with the free data compensation, which fell on a weekend, while the outage fell on a weekday, causing some to lose money.

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