OpenSignal Blog

Data Dive: What are the best performing 4G cities in Europe?

Next week, Barcelona hosts the biggest wireless networking show in the world, Mobile World Congress, so we thought it would be an apt time to focus on some of the more interesting 4G trends in Europe. This week, OpenSignal released its Global State of Mobile Networks report, which details mobile data speeds in countries around the world, but today we thought we’d drill down to the city level, looking at the fastest and most accessible LTE infrastructures in the European Union.

Our first chart looks at average 4G availability in 30 of the top urban areas in the EU. Rather than measure geographic coverage, our availability metric tracks the proportion of time our users can connect to a particular network. That makes it a particularly useful metric for metro areas, as geographic reach is no guarantee you’ll be able to latch onto a 4G network in crowded urban canyons of our modern cities. Our second chart tracks the average LTE download speed our users experienced when they were able to establish those 4G connections. All of our data was collected between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 by hundreds of thousands of OpenSignal smartphone users in Europe.

Budapest and Rotterdam are the obvious standouts in our measurements. They held the No. 1 and No. 2 slots in both our  availability and speed rankings respectively. Our testers were not only able to connect to an LTE signal in nearly nine out of ten attempts in those two cities, but once connected they also experienced some of the fastest 4G speeds in the world. Budapest and Rotterdam were the only cities in our analysis with an average download of more than 40 Mbps. Other cities to note are Stockholm and Amsterdam, which scored highly in both of our metrics.

MWC host city Barcelona didn’t do too shabbily either. While roughly in the middle of the table in speed, the Catalan capital rated high in availability. Spain’s operators supplied an LTE signal to our Barcelona testers more than 78% of the time. And though Barcelona’s speeds may have only been average compared to the big EU markets, its score of 29.1 Mbps is nothing to scoff at. In fact, big European cities generally delivered fast speeds across the board. All 30 of the markets we looked at were well above the global 4G download average of 17.4 Mbps as measured in our recent State of LTE report.

Fast networks don’t equate highly available networks though. In ten of the 30 metro areas, our users weren’t able to maintain consistent LTE connections more than 70% of the time, and one market — the Ruhr urban conglomeration surrounding Essen and Dortmund — had a 4G availability of just 55% in our tests. German cities overall fared the poorest in our results. While Spanish, U.K. and Italian cities generally performed well in either the speed or availability category but not the other, German cities routinely fell to the bottom of the table in both metrics.

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Looking at 3G and 4G speed together

Our 2nd Global State of Mobile Report published today, tracking overall mobile data network performance we measured in more than 80 countries. Unlike our LTE report, which looks solely at 4G performance, this analysis examines the combined speed of 3G and 4G networks, which gives a more rounded picture of they typical mobile data experience. We found the fastest networks in the world remain in East Asia and Northern Europe, but we see speeds steadily increasing across the globe. Now 13 countries average overall speeds of 20 Mbps or more. You can find the full analysis on our reports page.

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MWC 2017 Fiesta Time! Parties & Networking Events

It’s that time of the year once more: MWC is upon us and OpenSignal will be there! Find us in the UKTI Innovation Pavilion, or meet us at one of the many parties taking place in Barcelona — we’ll try to go to as many as we can!

To make sure you’re well informed as to the who, the what and the when, we present you OpenSignal’s 2017 map and calendar for the parties in town during the event. Have fun!

For the map: Number in marker indicates day of event  (e.g. 1 = 26 February 2017); Green – Free; Dark Blue – Pay to Attend; Red – Invite Only; Multiple-day events are indicated by a mobile phone marker. Events with multiple venues or where location is TBA are placed at Fira Gran Via.
Click here to see the map in your browser.

And here is the calendar view:

Multiple-Day Events

Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival
“Founded by mobile media industry veteran, Helen Keegan, Heroes of Mobile is about knowledge and networking events and other initiatives to help people get their heads round what to do when it comes to mobile. Whether it’s the whole of your job, part of your job or you just have an interest in the sector, there’ll be something for you here.”
Time: 26 February – 2 March
Where: Multiple venues

4YFN
“4YFN is the fastest growing digital startup event in the world! The home of the growing global tech startup community, creating lasting connections among startups, investors and corporations during the GSMA Mobile World Congress Barcelona, the world’s largest mobile industry exhibition.”
Time: 27 February – 1 March
Where: Fira Montjuic Barcelona, Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, s/n, 08004 Barcelona

GSMA Global Mobile Awards
“The Glomo Awards this year includes the broadest range of categories than ever before, with 39 awards across eight umbrella categories. These include seven new awards that highlight the latest mobile trends, technologies, products and services impacting the mobile industry, as well as those of adjacent (or vertical) industries.”
Time: 27 February – 2 March
Where: Fira Montjuic Barcelona, Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, s/n, 08004 Barcelona

Sunday, 26 February 2016

ShowStoppers
“ShowStoppers @ MWC 2017 is an invitation-only media reception that enables exhibiting companies to directly meet with more than 1,000 pre-qualified journalists, analysts and key industry influencers. For the ninth consecutive year, utilize the unique ShowStoppers experience to deliver your message, your way.”
Time: Afternoon before Mobile World Congress Opens
Where: University of Barcelona – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585, 08007 Barcelona Registration: Invite-only

Innovation on the Fringe
“Short talks, demos and plenty opportunities to mingle with your fellow mobilists, this relaxed session should whet your appetite for what will be a fantastic week in Barcelona.”
Time: 16:30-19:00
Where: NUMA —  Palau de Mar, Plaça de Pau Vila, 08003 Barcelona
Registration: €5

Mobile Sunday Barcelona
“It’s the perfect opportunity for local and visiting entrepreneurs, investors and other mobile industry stakeholders to get together for inspiring talks and lively discussions, and wrap it off with beers and great food in a fantastic setting.”
Time: 18:00-22:00
Where: Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm – Carrer del Rosselló, 515, 08025 Barcelona
Registration: €37.26 – €78.47

Welcoming Party
“Kick-off Mobile World Congress 2017 with tapas, an open-bar, a chair massage, and networking with the best in the business at Marmalade – a Barcelona favorite. Hosts Adscend Media and Newzoo invite you to join them for the second annual Welcoming Party, convening 200 special guests from around the world as they arrive to Barcelona for MWC17.”
Time: 20:00-24:00
Where: Marmalade – Carrer de la Riera Alta, 4-6, 08001 Barcelona
Registration: €50.00

Monday, 27 February 2017

12th Annual Ladies Lunch Barcelona
“Yes, it’s that time of year again when we all descend on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. And this lunch, which forms part of the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival, is a chance for us ladies to get together for an hour or so over a relaxed lunch and chew the fat with our peers.”
Time: 13:30 – 15:30
Where: Quinto Quinta — Arenas de Barcelona, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 373, 08015 Barcelona
Registration: €32.00

360Live
“The night begins with a panel discussion representing a wealth of industry experience on the international stage. With a rapidly changing political landscape we can expect a lively debate about the impact this will have on the industry and the regulatory environment that is so important to the adoption and proliferation of new technologies.”
Time: 18:30-22:00
Where: TBA upon registration
Registration: Invite-only

IoT Stars
“10 startups will be pitching in front of a top-notch jury at the amazing Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona on Monday, February 27, 2017. It’s a unique opportunity to meet and network with C-level industry leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, investors, press & media working in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.”
Time: 19:00-22:00
Where: Antiga Fàbrica Estrella Damm – Carrer del Rosselló, 515, 08025 Barcelona
Registration: €35.00 – €50.00

Mobile Focus Global
“MobileFocus® Global is Pepcom’s annual international media event held during the Mobile World Congress® tradeshow. The event showcases the latest innovations in smartphones, tablets, apps, laptops, GPS, Bluetooth devices, wireless services and more.”
Time: 19:00-22:00
Where: Palau de Congressos de Catalunya — Avinguda Diagonal, 661-671, 08028 Barcelona
Registration: Private event for companies and journalists

MEF Connects
“In association with American Express and supported by Syntonic, CLX Communications and RealNetworks the premier networking event on the first night of Congress brings together over 400 members and industry guests from across the mobile ecosystem for an exclusive evening of networking.”
Time: 20:00-23:00
Where: University of Barcelona — Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585, 08007 Barcelona
Registration: Member and Invite-only event. Non-members can register on the website their interest to attend.

AfterBLE February 2017 Edition
“Come to the february edition of the AfterBLE, the monthly networking and afterwork event for entrepreneurs making business in Barcelona. This month the AfterBLE focuses on the mobile industry and will be held on Monday, February 27th (during the Mobile World Congress’ Week 2017).”
Time: 20:00-22:00
Where: Bar BonaVida — Carrer de Casp, 22, 08010 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Dutch Mobile Community
“Wouldn’t it be nice to relax with drinks and food after a long day at the Mobile World Congress? Join our legendary Dutch Mobile Community event at the renowned lounge club Shôko in Barcelona on Monday 27th February starting at 8.30 pm. At our relaxed and informal event you can connect with Dutch and international business men or women and discuss the inspiring day you had at MWC 2017.”
Time: 20:30-23:30
Where: Shôko Club, Passeig Maritim, 36, 08003 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

DrinkEntrepreneurs Barcelona MWC 2017
“Join 200+ entrepreneurs for a special MWC/4YFN edition of local DrinkEntrepreneurs meetup. Perfect place to start the night and meet with fellow entrepreneurs and startupers. Drinks, light buffet and music, perfect to mingle and relax from the day :)”
Time: From 19:00
Where: TBA
Registration: Free (sold out) to €1,032.04

TechCrunch Meetup+Pitch-Off Barcelona
“TechCrunch’s legendary Meetup + Pitch-Off event is coming to Barcelona! Join us for drinks, good conversation, and pitch-off battle to see which entrepreneurs can dazzle and excite the judges in under sixty seconds.”
Time: 19:00-22:00
Where: Mobile World Centre (Auditori Movistar – Planta 2), Carrer de Fontanella, 2, 08002 Barcelona
Registration: Email events@techcrunch.com

Women In Mobile
“All around the world, there are amazing women behind mobile startups, key leaders in the app industry. This event is the perfect opportunity to learn from some of these leaders and listen to their mobile success stories. Our speaker line-up is 100% women. We also appreciate our male colleagues, who are more than welcome to attend and contribute.”
Time: 19:30-23:30
Where: Espai Francesca Bonnemaison – Sant Pere Més Baix, 7, 08003 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Mobile Marketing Mixer Party 2017
“Where will the high-fliers of mobile marketing be networking at this year’s Mobile World Congress? Look no further than Mobile Marketing Magazine and Masterclassing’s Mobile Marketing Mixer event, which will be hosted at the spectacular Cerveceria Moritz – a unique building, transformed from the old Moritz beer factory – located just down the road from Plaça Universitat. An open bar, light buffet and great music will be sure to make it a night to remember.”
Time: 20:00-24:00
Where: Fàbrica Moritz — Ronda de Sant Antoni, 39-41, 08011 Barcelona
Registration: Free (sold out) or £53.69

You are invited to CARTO & Marfeel bash! | MWC 2017
“Come and join the professionals that are changing the Mobile world, Business & Location Intelligence experts, top publishers, and an interesting crowd that will be sharing ideas and doing networking with us.”
Time: 21:00-23:00
Where: Marfeel Offices — Rambla Catalunya, 35, Principal 2a, 08007 Barcelona
Registration: Free

MWC Mobile World Congress Executive Dinner hosted by the VR/AR Association
“Dine at Barcelona’s best in an intimate setting dinner while you get news & insights from high-profile VR AR industry experts and leaders. Join your peers for a round table discussion on VR AR market and trends, and issues affecting your company, project, or role.”
Time: 21:00-23:00
Where: TBA
Registration: Free for VR/AR Association members, €200.00 for non-members

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Female Founder Happy Hour @ Mobile World Congress
“Join us on Wednesday, March 1st for tapas and cocktails and get to know your fellow bad-ass women who are in Barcelona for the conference.”
Time: 18:30-20:30
Where: Pasapalo — Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 6, 08004 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Swedish Beers – #12 Barcelona Edition
“Like our previous events, this is a relaxed evening, no formalities, no presentations. Just come with an open mind, be prepared to see friends old and new, chat, enjoy a drink or three (courtesy of our sponsors) and have yourself a good time. Oh, and leave the ties, the corporate personas and the sales spiel at the door please.”
Time: 19:00-2:00
Where: Carrer del Carme, 40, 08001 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Cocktails & Friends – QUOBIS MWC2017
“Quobis invites partners and friends to enjoy Barcelona by night on Wednesday.
We’ll be spending some days at the Mobile World Congress (do not hesitate to visit us at the booth CS60 !!!) On Wednesday we will try some amazing cocktails and a great surprise: our friends of Collage have created a cocktail called QUOBIS.”
Time: 20:00-22:30
Where: Collage Cocktail Club — Carrer dels Consellers, 4, 08003 Barcelona
Registration: €64.42

Mobile Apps Party
“Join hundreds of mobile leaders at the third-annual {un}Official Mobile World Congress Mobile Apps Party. This year we’re moving to one of Barcelona’s trendiest venues – Fàbrica Moritz Brewery – located in the heart of the city. With a VIP Lounge, full open-bar, delicious tapas, games, entertainment, and networking with the industry’s finest, this is a party you don’t want to miss. Reserve your ticket now before we sell-out.”
Time: 20:00-01:00
Where: Fàbrica Moritz — Ronda de Sant Antoni, 39-41, 08011 Barcelona
Registration: €50.00 – €99.00

The Beautiful Business Party with MLove
“Together with our friends from MLove, we will celebrate purpose, craft, and romance with a networking evening rich with art, food, and drinks. Because if software is eating the world, we might as well have a glass of wine with it.”
Time: 20:30-23:45
Where: Casa de La Seda — Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt, 1, 08003 Barcelona
Registration: Free

4YFN Closing Party 2017
“All are welcome to enjoy the night with drinks, great music and the opportunity to network with attendees from the startup event of Mobile World Congress and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, 4YFN. Relax, have a drink and listen to great music brought to you by ‘Plan B’ DJ.”
Time: From 21:30
Where: Sala Apolo – Carrer Nou de la Rambla 113, 08004 Barcelona
Registration: €13

Thursday, 2 March 2017

High Impact Technologies, How to build the future now
“Let’s gather all the exponential brains in Barcelona and build a creative high tech community. We’ll build, we’ll share, we’ll learn and we’ll create impact. But we won’t just be learning about technology, we’ll actually be making it, getting our hands dirty and creating it.”
Time: 19:30-22:30
Where: MOB — Carrer de Bailèn, 11, 08010 Barcelona
Registration: Free

Anything missing from our list? If so, let us know and we’ll make sure to add it. And keep watching this space for more MWC-related news.

See you in sunny Barcelona!

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LTE: How US operators stack up by region

usa-region-report-v2

Last week OpenSignal released its semi-annual State of Mobile Networks report for the U.S., comparing the 3G and 4G performance of the big 4 nationwide. As we’ve done in previous reports, we also looked at LTE speeds and availability in the biggest metro markets, but we thought it would be interesting to make another pass at our geographic data, this time breaking down operator performance in the fourth quarter by broader region. We split the fifty states and the District of Columbia into five zones: The Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and West. Then we let the data fall into place. Here’s what we found.

It’s plain to see Verizon’s lead in 4G availability isn’t just an overall national trend or big city phenomenon. It handily won first prize in all five of our regions, providing an LTE signal to our testers more often than any other operator. T-Mobile came in second in our 4G availability rankings in four regions, while in Southwest AT&T and T-Mobile ran neck and neck for second place. Sprint ranked the lowest in our LTE availability tests in every region.

While our regional availability rankings didn’t reveal any big surprises, the data definitely got interesting when we started comparing regions to one another. First off, there appears to be a weak spot in 4G availability in the Southeast region. For every operator except AT&T, it was the lowest performing region in our tests. As for the best performing region for each operator, the results were more diverse. We measured the highest 4G availability for Verizon in the Midwest, where our users were able to latch onto a Verizon LTE signal 89.2% of the time. T-Mobile’s forte was the densely packed Northeast corridor, where it scored 87.1% in LTE availability. AT&T shone brightest in the Southwest region, home to its corporate HQ, with a score of 84.8%. Sprint’s best 4G availability in our tests was also in the Southwest. Our testers on Sprint were able to find an LTE connection 78.8% of the time within Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona.

Just as we saw in our national rankings, we had a real contest in 4G speed across the five regions. T-Mobile and Verizon split the awards down the middle. T-Mobile topped our LTE speed meter in the Northeast and Southeast, while Verizon won the Midwest and West. The final region, the Southwest, was an extremely close race, resulting in a statistical tie between the two operators.

In Speed, the regional differences in operator performance were starkly apparent. Verizon, for instance, was able to maintain an impressive 20 Mbps LTE download average across the Midwest in our tests — that’s a full 3 Mbps higher than its national average. Meanwhile T-Mobile performed the equally impressive feat of averaging more than 18 Mbps in our measurements across three of the five U.S. regions. AT&T’s best test speeds were in the Northeast at 15.2 Mbps, while Sprint’s best measured performance was in the Midwest, where it averaged 10.7 Mbps. The worst performing region was the Southwest, where we measured average speeds no greater than 14.4 Mbps on any of the four operators’ networks.

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4G speeds are on the rise in US cities

The Motor City had the fastest LTE speeds in our new U.S. report (Photo courtesy of Flickr user pparasurama)

The Motor City had the fastest LTE speeds in our new U.S. report (Photo courtesy of Flickr user pparasurama)

Today OpenSignal published its State of Mobile Networks report for the U.S., breaking down the network performance of the four major operators both nationwide and in cities across the country. While the report explores general 3G and 4G trends in the U.S. – including the ongoing battle between Verizon and T-Mobile over speed – I thought this would be a good opportunity to explore some of the more specific trends we’re seeing on the local level.

In the report we looked at 36 different cities in the U.S., comparing 4G availability and 4G speed among the four operators, but here I’ll dive a little deeper into comparisons across these cities. One thing to note is that the average 4G speed we recorded in most cities is significantly faster than the average nationwide speed. For instance, in 25 of the cities on our list, one or more operators delivered average LTE speeds greater than 20 Mbps in our tests, and in eight of those markets at least two operators surpassed the 20 Mbps bar. That’s quite a bit faster than national averages of all four operators which topped out at 16.9 Mbps in our measurements.

Now let’s compare the city-by-city speed results in our August report. In that report, 18 cities had one or more operators with an LTE speed of 20 Mbps or better, and three cities had two operators with 20 Mbps or greater averages. We’re obviously seeing 4G speeds increase in our major metro areas, so what’s the cause? Verizon recently began upgrading its networks with LTE-Advanced technology, which definitely explains some of the big jumps in Verizon’s speed we’ve seen in the last six months in cities like New York and Orlando. But we see speeds improvements from other operators as well as the industry goes through the methodical process of tweaking LTE performance across the country. For instance, AT&T and T-Mobile have been deploying LTE in new frequency bands and in many cases are using old spectrum they no longer need for 2G or 3G services.

If you’re looking for the fastest 4G city in the U.S., that honor goes to Detroit. Both Verizon and T-Mobile averaged more than 25 Mbps in our LTE download tests there. There were two other cities where we found one operator with average 4G speeds of 25 Mbps or greater: Minneapolis and Chicago. We’re still a long way away from having a consistent national average of 25 Mbps, which has become the norm in dozens of other countries. As has long been the case, U.S. consumers enjoy widespread access to LTE signals, but the speed at which they’re connecting is still relatively slow.

Posted in LTE, Networks, Reports | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our second look at Canada’s Big 3 operators

Our newest mobile performance report for Canada is out today, and if there is one overarching conclusion to be reached, it’s that the 3 national operators are very evenly matched. No matter what speed or availability category we looked at we saw extremely tight races between Bell, Rogers and Telus. The results weren’t just close. They were impressive. In 3G speed, 4G speed and 4G accessibility Canada’s operators scored among the world’s best.

In 4G speed, all three Canadian operators were able to provide download averages over 27 Mbps in our tests, with Bell and Telus tying for fastest performance. Our users were able to get an LTE connection on all three operators’ networks more than 78% of the time, with Rogers and Telus tying for best availability. For our overall speed award, we did have a single winner. Telus beat out both Rogers and Bell in our tests with an average download speed of 24.1 Mbps across its mobile data networks. Telus gained an edge in our overall performance metric by maintaining a combination of slightly better 4G availability than Bell and faster 3G and 4G speeds than Rogers.

You can reach the complete analysis and view our interactive charts in our full State of Mobile Networks: Canada report.

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Claro Brazil leads the medal count in OpenSignal’s Olympics

The Rio Olympics may be over, but OpenSignal still has a few medals to award. In our first look at Brazil’s mobile networks after the chaos of the games, we found that Brazil’s five major operators all represented their country well, but there was one operator that wound up on top of the medal podium more than others. That operator was Claro.

Photo courtesy of the IOC

Photo courtesy of the IOC

In OpenSignal’s State of Mobile Networks for Brazil, released today, Claro won all three of our speed awards, an impressive feat considering Vivo dominated those categories in our July report. Claro, however, was one of the Olympic sponsors, and it made quite the fuss about making the Rio games the most connected Olympics history. It seems to have backed up those claims with some big capacity and speed upgrades to its LTE network. In our last report (which covered February through April), Claro’s LTE download speed average was 2 Mbps below the global 4G average in our measurements. In this report, though, our tests (conducted between September and November) show Claro’s LTE download speed at 27.5 Mbps, 10 Mbps faster than the global 4G average. Claro ranked highest in 3G speed and overall speed as well.

The other operators didn’t leave the OpenSignal games empty handed. Oi and Nextel split our latency medals, while Telecom Italia Mobile had the best 4G availability in our measurements. Though Vivo didn’t win the gold any of our categories, it took silver in several, including 4G availability, 4G speed and overall speed.

Overall, we’re starting to some fast 4G networks emerge in Brazil, but one area in which Brazilian operators still lag is 4G availability. No operator was able to deliver an LTE connection more than 60% of the time in our measurements, and our testers were able to find a LTE signal on Claro and Oi less than 50% of the time. Brazil’s 4G networks are getting faster, but operators clearly need to work on expanding 4G’s reach.

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Free 4G means Jio users have little need for Wifi

It’s only been a few months since Reliance Jio launched its new LTE-only mobile service in India, but it’s already causing quite the stir. Jio has tapped into a pent-up demand for inexpensive mobile data services, not just by offering extremely cheap plans, but also by throwing out an introductory offer that includes free 4G data for the remainder of 2016. It’s since extended that deal into the beginning of 2017, though it will begin limiting customers to 1 GB a day.

As you might imagine, that offer has had a big impact. Since September it has signed up 50 million customers and has triggered a price war among India’s established mobile operators. At OpenSignal, we first caught sight of Jio’s LTE network in February (when Jio trial users started downloading OpenSignal’s test app), and since then more than 70,000 Jio smartphone users have joined the OpenSignal community, running millions of 4G availability, speed and latency tests. We plan on examining Jio’s performance — along with those of India’s many other operators — in a report sometime in the future, but we thought it would be interesting to point out one particularly interesting trend we’ve already noticed among Jio subscribers: a very low usage of Wifi.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Arian Zwegers

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Arian Zwegers

Along with tracking the performance of their chosen mobile networks, our users also collect data on the Wifi connections they make with their smartphones. Wifi has become an important mobile technology in much of the world. Our recent Global State of Mobile Networks report shows that in 46 countries smartphone users spend more time connected to Wifi than they do to mobile data networks like 3G and 4G. But that’s not the case for Jio users, who almost seem to be deliberately shunning Wifi. Looking at our data from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 (the three months in which Jio has been available to the widespread public), Jio users connected to Wifi networks on average 8.2% of the time. That’s well below India’s 29.8% average time on Wifi from our global report. Here’s how the major operators in India compared in Wifi usage:

Time on Wifi by operator

  • Jio                  8.2%
  • Idea               24.1%
  • Telenor          24.3%
  • Aircel            24.9%
  • Airtel             27.1%
  • Reliance        28.1%
  • Tata DoCoMo 30.4%
  • BSNL             31.1%
  • Vodafone      31.3%

So why is Jio’s number so low? There’s no way to say for certain, but there are a few likely explanations. One of the biggest drivers of Wifi usage on the smartphones is the cost of the mobile data. If you have an expensive data plan, you tend to look for cheaper connections to offset your mobile bill and in most cases Wifi is just the ticket. But what if you get 4 GBs of 4G data daily for no additional charge as Jio users now receive? There’s not much incentive to seek out a Wifi link.

Another big factor in encouraging smartphone usage is performance. Everything being equal, people tend to gravitate toward the fastest connections as services like video streaming perform better on high-bandwidth links. When confronted with slow 2G or 3G data connections, smartphone users will hunt for Wifi to improve their data experience. But in Jio’s case it has no 2G or 3G networks. Also, Wifi is only good as the broadband link that serves it, and India’s average broadband speeds are the slowest in Asia. Since Jio’s users are by default contending with 4G networks only, they have little incentive to seek out Wifi, especially if those Wifi connections might turn out slower than LTE.

Whatever the reason, Jio’s users see little reason to seek out Wifi connections today. It will be interesting to see if that mindset changes once Jio’s free-4G promotion expires in March.

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Argentina begins spreading its 4G wings

As 2016 comes to close, OpenSignal has published one last report for the year, and we’re happy to return to one of our first subjects, Argentina. The South American powerhouse only launched LTE in December of 2014, and in the three State of Mobile Networks reports we’ve produced since, we’ve tracked Argentina’s 4G growth from infancy. It’s still a bit too early to say Argentina’s 4G market is fully mature, but we’ve definitely seen some big growth spurts.

In our last two reports we saw Argentina struggling to deliver a consistent LTE signal, but in our most recent tests it’s plain that the country’s operators have made their 4G services a lot more accessible. OpenSignal’s 4G availability metric measures the proportion of time our users are able to connect to an LTE network, and Claro, Movistar and Personal were all able to deliver a 4G signal more than half that time. The leader in this category, however, was Movistar, with an availability score of 73.6%. Argentina has now closed the gap with most of its South American peers in LTE availability.

Buenos Aires at night (Photo Credit: Flickr user Rodrigo Paredes)

Buenos Aires at night (Photo Credit: Flickr user Rodrigo Paredes)

Speed, however, is still a weak area for Argentine operators. The fastest LTE download speeds we found were on Personal, which averaged 16.1 Mbps in our tests, more than a megabit slower than the global 4G average. We measured average 4G speeds on Claro and Movistar of 13 Mbps and 9.3 Mbps respectively. While we’re seeing Argentina’s operators invest more in expanding their 4G reach, they haven’t yet made similar investments in growing capacity, which would boost the speeds their customers see. That could change soon, however, as operators build new LTE systems in the 700 MHz band.

Be sure to check out the full report containing all of our metrics and interactive charts.

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4G around the world: OpenSignal’s State of LTE report returns

In OpenSignal’s latest State of LTE report, we once again look at the speed and accessibility of the world’s LTE networks, this time examining 78 different countries. While we find the usual suspects in the top rankings — for instance Singapore, South Korea and the Netherlands – there are some new faces as well, showing that LTE networks are evolving at different paces across the globe.

State of LTE 11-2016 Map

We’re starting to see LTE download speeds in Singapore, South Korea and Hungary push well over 40 Mbps, and several more countries now have average connections in excess of 30 Mbps. While the average for most countries falls in the 20 Mbps to 25 Mbps range, the global average LTE connection is 17.4 Mbps, reflecting the fact that the most populated nations often have rather sluggish LTE services. For instance, average 4G speeds in India were 6.4 Mbps, and the average for the U.S. was 14 Mbps.

As for 4G availability, which is the proportion of time users have access to an LTE signal, we see 3G receding as the driver of mobile data connections in much of the world, but it still fills in the key connectivity gaps between 4G signals. Two countries, South Korea and Japan, had availability numbers over 90%, but a good third of the countries we examined were able to deliver an LTE signal more than 70% of the time, reflecting well developed LTE infrastructures. An equally large group of countries fell below the 60% mark though. These low-4G-availability countries weren’t just developing nations; several of the biggest countries in western Europe fell into this group.

To see OpenSignal’s full analysis and interactive charts, check out the new report.

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