OpenSignal Insights

India’s 4G download speeds are up to 4.5 times faster at night

OpenSignal has measured 4G download speeds across 20 of India’s largest cities and observed that smartphone users experience varying speeds depending on the city they live in: while Navi Mumbai scored 8.1 Mbps in average LTE download speed in our measurements, Allahabad came last with an average of 4.0 Mbps – half the speed.

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Understanding mobile experience in the growth continent of Africa

Across Africa, the download speeds experienced by smartphone users vary greatly, even for countries with similar 4G availability. While users in South Africa, Morocco, Senegal and Kenya connect to 4G signals on average between 72% and 75% of the time, download speeds vary from just 4.4 Mbps in Senegal to 14.4 Mbps in South Africa. This wide difference is because of a number of factors including the capacity of cell site backhaul most commonly used – microwave links are common in Africa yet support fewer users at high speed than fibre links – as well as the number of users and the quantity of mobile video consumption.

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Understanding mobile network experience: What do OpenSignal’s metrics mean?

In this blog post, we’re taking a deep dive into the very core of OpenSignal: explaining the metrics we use, what they all mean and what their roles are in measuring the real-world mobile network experience as users see it.

How do we collect the data in the first place?

We collect and analyze more than 3 billion measurements every day, from more than 100 million smartphones across the world. We collect data every day of the week, at all hours and in all the places people live, work and travel: no simulations, no predictions, no idealized testing conditions. Our data comes from actual smartphone users and we report users’ actual network experience, whether they are indoors or out, bustling in a busy city or trekking in the countryside.

We collect the vast majority of our data via automated tests that run in the background, enabling us to report on users’ real-world mobile experience at the largest scale and frequency in the industry. These automated tests are run at random points in time and therefore represent the typical experience available to a user at any given moment.

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What’s in store for mobile in 2019? OpenSignal’s predictions for the coming year

It’s been a pretty busy year here at OpenSignal. And 2018 was an interesting time in the mobile world overall, with data abuse and increased regulation casting something of a shadow over some of the top tech launches of the year. But what can we expect in 2019? We’ve cast a look into our crystal ball to bring you our top predictions for mobile in the coming year.

Crystal ball

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OpenSignal’s 12 days of Christmas — a review of 2018!

Xmas Happy Holidays 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve taken a bit of time to pause and reflect on what’s been a pretty crazy year here at OpenSignal. In March we were named to the TechCity Future Fifty list of the fastest growing UK headquartered tech businesses, and we’ve been expanding and growing the team — so much so that we’ve recently had to build some new meeting rooms in our London office!

But what’ve been our favourite articles and reports of the year? Get settled in a comfy chair, pop the kettle on and pull up a mince pie — for OpenSignal’s 12 days of Christmas!

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Voila! The fastest city in Canada for mobile speeds is Montreal

The fastest mobile data speeds in Canada have a particularly francophone flair. Montreal topped both our download and upload charts in OpenSignal’s analysis of fastest cities for overall speed in Canada.

OpenSignal’s overall speed metrics measure the average download and upload speeds users see across 3G and 4G networks, taking into account how often users are connected to each technology. They provide an excellent indication of the typical speeds users experience every day. Though overall speeds are usual much slower than the speeds customers would see over unfettered 4G connections, Canadian city-dwellers have little to worry about. We found that both overall download and upload speeds were superb in the country’s 12 largest metro areas. Overall download speeds averaged well above 30 Mbps in all 12, while upload averages in each city topped 7 Mbps.

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New Jersey offers the best video experience in the lower 48 US states

A few weeks ago, we examined how the lower-48 states in the U.S. stacked up in terms of overall speed, and we discovered an interesting pattern: The states with fastest download speeds were largely concentrated on the Eastern Seaboard along the Boston-to-D.C. corridor. Today we’re taking another look at our state map, but this time we’re examining the video experience offered in each state. And again, we find a similar pattern. Four of the five states with the highest video experience scores were all in the same region. The fifth? Well, the residents of North Dakota have some of the best mobile video quality in the country.

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OpenSignal’s Video Experience metric is a first-of-its-kind analysis tool, which uses a range of factors including loading time, video stalling rates and picture resolution, to determine the overall quality of mobile video offered by operators. Video Experience is calculated as a score from 0 to 100 — the higher the score the better the experience. In a recent global analysis of 69 countries, we found that the U.S. landed close to the bottom of our list with an overall video experience score of 46.8, putting it in the Fair range (40-55) of our scale. But that doesn’t mean that mobile video quality was uniform throughout the country or over all providers. When we looked at U.S. operators, we found that Verizon and T-Mobile both significantly outscored AT&T and Sprint in our video experience analysis. And as you can see from the map above, overall video experience differs from region to region.

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Singapore’s secret mobile broadband weapon: Latency

When it comes to download and upload speeds, few countries can match the raw power of Singapore’s LTE networks. But Singapore doesn’t just shine in connection throughput. It’s also a global leader in latency, which is effectively the response time of a network. The lower latency is on a network, the better experience you’ll receive on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice over IP to real-time multiplayer gaming.

Every time you click a link, press play on a video, or feint left in a server-hosted action game, your phone generates a data request, which must traverse the network, querying a server for content. The time it takes for that request to reach its destination and the data to be returned is the latency of the network. A similar principle applies to communications services like VoIP and video chat. The less delay the network introduces into the chat stream the more your session will behave like a real-time conversation, rather than two people talking over one another.

So what is a good latency? The lower the latency score, the better. Anything below 50 milliseconds is adequate for most applications we use on the mobile phones, but a latency of 30ms or less is exceptional. Very few of the 4G networks OpenSignal tracks are able to register sub-30ms latencies in our measurements, but according to our last State of Mobile Networks report, Singapore had two of them: M1 and Singtel. And their scores become even more impressive when we step back and look at overall latency. Users don’t always have access to an LTE connection, and as they go throughout the course of their days, they often find themselves falling back on 3G networks, which tend to have have much slower latencies than 4G networks. So the true test of an operator’s network response time is its ability to maintain a consistently low latency across its 3G and 4G data networks.

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Multiple operators across the globe hit simultaneously by Ericsson network outage

OpenSignal has identified that December 6th’s mobile network outage hit multiple operators at the same time across the globe.

Analyzing availability data for 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies across hundreds of networks, we found three operators where smartphone users experienced a significant and sudden drop in LTE availability: Mobifone in Vietnam; SoftBank in Japan; and O2 in the UK.

Smartphone users on O2 UK’s network suffered the worst hit with 4G/LTE services taking almost a full day to return to normal. By comparison, Softbank and Mobifone were able to restore normal service within six and seven hours respectively.

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Maxis leads in Malaysia peak download speeds — but Celcom is close behind

Not all LTE networks are created equal, and few countries exemplify that maxim more than Malaysia. In OpenSignal’s analysis of peak download speeds in Malaysia, we found that there were vastly different capabilities across the six major operators’ networks. The fastest 4G peak speeds we measured were well over 70 Mbps, while the slowest were under 25 Mbps.

Malaysia peak speed

First let’s discuss what we mean by peak speed. Our peak download speed metric takes the average of the fastest 2% of all connections our users find. The score represents the most optimized connections on an operator’s network — speeds unfettered by network congestion, service restriction or technical limitations. Though a subscriber might occasionally find themselves with a connection akin to their operator’s peak speed, the occurrence is likely rare. What peak speed gives us, though, is an indication of true technical capabilities of the network itself.

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