‘Free data guy’ takes Telstra to town with almost a terabyte of downloads

Gus Bruno with AAP

Telstra's recently troubled mobile network was tested again on Sunday as customers used a free data day - offered as compensation - to download and stream at record rates.

Customers downloaded 2686 terabytes of data - equal to 3.4 million HD movies - up 46 per cent from 1841 terabytes downloaded on a previous free data day offered on February 14.


Sydney resident John Szaszvari amassed a grand total of 994GB of data usage on Sunday. Photo: Facebook.

Sydney resident John Szaszvari was responsible for an incredibly impressive amount of that.

The 27-year-old amassed a grand total of 994GB of data usage on Sunday after he connected his laptop to his LG G4 phone via Wi-Fi hotspot and began downloading at speeds of close to 180Mbps.

He also took advantage of the opportunity to upload backups of personal files, photos and videos to the cloud.

It was a mission so impressive that Chief operations officer Kate McKenzie equated it to a typical user's downloads over 40 years.

Mr Szaszvari said that his quest to begin downloading 24 seasons of The Simpsons, 14 seasons of MythBusters, the ENTIRE Wikipedia database and a “lot of random other stuff” was born from his hobby of collection movies and TV series. Photo: Reddit

Mr Szaszvari said that his quest to begin downloading 24 seasons of The Simpsons, 14 seasons of MythBusters, the ENTIRE Wikipedia database and a “lot of random other stuff” was born from his hobby of collection movies and TV series.

"Believe it or not I actually intend to watch it all – it's going to take a while but at least it's ready on demand," he told Fairfax.

"It's always movie/TV night at my house at the moment.”



Mr Szaszvari also totalled more than 425GB on Telstra’s first free data day in February - a feat that allowed him to download all 25 seasons of the Discovery Channel’s How It's Made and all seasons of Stargate Atlantis, which he is slowly but surely getting through now.

"I'm thinking two Simpsons episodes per evening for the next foreseeable while to remind me of when I was a child,” he said.

Telstra, which has around 16.9 million mobile customers, has given away free unlimited data on a number occasions as apologies for recent major mobile network outages.

The carrier's reputation as Australia's premier telco has been tarnished by three major network problems in the past two months.

Telstra suffered a nation-wide network outage on February 9, followed by another major outage on March 17 that left around half of its 16 million mobile customers unable to make calls or go online.

A third incident, affecting service to around 500,000 of its pre-paid customers, occurred at the start of March.

On Sunday, some customers complained via social media about slow download speeds and Telstra conceded there were "a few hot spots where heavy users caused localised congestion."

COO Ms McKenzie said at a media briefing called on Monday that the network had performed well given the load.

"We were really pleased with the way the network performed given this absolute tsunami of data," Ms McKenzie said.

She said "traffic balancing mechanisms" were used during the day to "tune and optimise" the network and ensure all customers had an opportunity to download.

Telstra's first network outage in February - which affected about 15 per cent of the group's customers because of human error - led to a free data day on February 14.

The second outage was due to an overseas connection problem that affected international roaming customers, and then led to problems locally.

A third incident, which affected around 500,000 of its pre-paid customers losing service, occurred at the start of March.

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde doesn't expect the recent network problems to damage Telstra's reputation if they can limit the outages and solve the problems. "They've been pretty open about everything. I don't see a reason to not believe what they are saying," Mr Budde said.

"If they can solve the underlying problems than I think in a couple of months' time, no one will remember it anymore," Mr Budde said.

Telstra expects to complete a network review within the next month, with the group recently hiring David William from information-technology provider Tech Mahindra to help with the review.