OpenSignal Insights

LTE availability in India soars as impressive rollout of 4G continues

The remarkable spread of 4G across India continues. Our latest State of Mobile Networks report found LTE availability has increased for every major operator over the last six months, with all of them crossing the 65% milestone, while Jio managed an incredible 96%.

This level of 4G reach is astonishing for an emerging market such as India. In the six years since the launch of commercial LTE services in India in April 2012, the telecoms sector has developed at lightning speed, fuelled by fierce competition and heavy investment in 4G rollout.

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The mobile video experience in Mexico is good one – as long as you have a 4G connection

Imagine this: You’re watching the final game of the Apertura between Chivas and Club América on your smartphone, and just as América’s star striker receives the ball in front of goal — with no one but the goalkeeper in between — the video suddenly stops. After a few seconds, the video resumes play, but all you see is a bunch of players celebrating the goal you never saw. A lot of mobile users in Mexico probably don’t have to imagine this kind of situation as it’s already happened to them when watching a sporting event, streaming a TV show or surfing YouTube. Luckily, though, those situations are becoming rarer in Mexico.

As more and more Mexican consumers get access to faster 4G connections, they’re getting much higher quality video streams, according to OpenSignal data. We found that the mobile video experience on Mexico’s three major service providers was quite good if users were connected to 4G networks.

For this analysis, we availed ourselves of a new OpenSignal developmental metric called mobile video experience, which uses real-world tests to measure the loading time of video, the proportion of time a video stream stops during playback and overall image quality. Using methodologies vetted by the telecom industry, we aggregated those measurements to calculate a video experience score from 0 to 100, with 100 being a theoretical limit indicating a perfect video session, and 0 indicating an unwatchable streaming session. (For more information on how we test video experience check out our detailed metric description.)

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Patna beats the tech hubs in India 4G availability

The Indian city of Patna, once known as Pataliputra, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, and was once a capital on ancient India. History isn’t the only thing Patna should be proud of. Patna is currently top of OpenSignal’s league table for 4G availability. It’s jumped ahead of the trendy tech hubs in the south and west of India in our 4G availability metric, which measures where users can get access to an LTE connection more of the time.

 

India’s central and eastern regions saw more cities in the top ten of OpenSignal’s latest 4G availability metrics, as cities in other regions began to close the gap with the tech hubs of the south. In our latest measurements, which covers the 90 days from December 1, 2017, we looked at the user experience of 4G availability in 20 of India’s largest cities. Four cities from India’s central and eastern regions –  Patna, Kanpur, Allahabad, Kolkata, Bhopal and Lucknow – made it into our top ten.

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OpenSignal’s UK tests show EE has the best video experience

OpenSignal’s new State of Mobile Networks report for the U.K. shows that access to 4G signals is increasing at a rapid clip across the country, meaning more people have access to a fast mobile broadband connection more often and in more places. That’s particularly good news for those partial to using their phones as miniature TV screens. In a recent analysis of U.K. mobile services, OpenSignal found the video streaming experience to be a high quality one across all four operators’ 4G connections.

One operator stood above the rest, however. EE beat out 3, O2 and Vodafone in our video experience metric, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise since EE routinely leads the way in our 4G speed, 4G availability and 4G latency metrics. For this analysis, we employed a developmental OpenSignal metric called video experience, which uses real-world tests to measure the loading time of video, the proportion of time a video stream stops during playback and overall image quality. Derived from industry-vetted methodologies, our metric aggregates those measurements to calculate a video experience score from 0 to 100, with 100 being a theoretical limit indicating a perfect video session, and 0 indicating an unwatchable streaming session. (For more information on how we test video experience check out our more detailed explanation of the metric.)

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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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OpenSignal lands in Belgium

Set in the crossroads of Western Europe, Belgium is the latest addition to our growing list of countries we have included in our in-depth analysis of the mobile user experience.  A small and highly developed nation, best known for its culinary repertoire nothing short of pure hedonism, Belgians have plenty to be proud of. And we’ve just added another thing Belgians can boast about: exceptionally powerful LTE.

In our first report looking at the state of mobile networks in Belgium, we analysed 101 million measurements from over 9,500 users to find out which of the three national operators — BASE, Orange and Proximus — won our awards in 3G and 4G experience.

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Source: marius badstuber / Unsplash

Generally speaking we saw all three operators perform extremely well in our tests, so well in fact that we recorded two-or three-way ties across all of our key metrics.

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OpenSignal tests show Telcel has the fastest upstream connections in Mexico

Got a massive file to upload or want to stream live video from your phone? In Mexico at least, Telcel is the operator best equipped to handle either feat, according to OpenSignal’s latest tests. We put Mexico under the lens of our new experimental upload metric and found that in 4G, Telcel beats out both AT&T and Movistar, averaging upstream connections of 11.7 Mbps.

Our results showed AT&T was a close second to Telcel with an average LTE upload speed of 10.2 Mbps, while Movistar was much further behind, averaging 7.7 Mbps. Those rankings closely follow our rankings for 4G download speed in Mexico. In our last State of Mobile Networks report for the country, AT&T and Telcel were tied for 4G download speed with averages well over 22 Mbps, while Movistar brought up the rear at 14.5 Mbps. Such similarities shouldn’t be surprising. Speed is a function of capacity, and operators that typically have more capacity devoted to the network downlink also have more capacity allocated to the uplink.

This isn’t the first blog post in which we’ve examined upload speeds in an individual country on an experimental basis, but it may well be the last. We plan to move beyond this kind of case-by-case analysis and include 4G upload speed as one of core metrics in all future State of Mobile Networks reports very soon. So be sure to check out OpenSignal’s reports page as we continue to add new data and new areas of analysis.

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Imagine a World

We started OpenSignal eight years ago with a simple idea: The world needs access to independent and accurate data on mobile coverage and connectivity. Back then, if you wanted to find out which mobile provider would offer you the best service, the only option you had was to walk into one of the provider’s stores and ask. This experience usually involved seeing an overly optimistic network coverage map and very positive reassurance from the salesperson. Yet, we would never accept this situation in other parts of our lives. When choosing a restaurant, we don’t look to the chef for their opinion. When choosing a holiday destination, we don’t consult the local tourist board’s view. Instead we seek an independent third party that can provide informed and trustworthy advice. Why should mobile connectivity be any different?

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The 4G battle continues between T-Mobile and Verizon

Our latest national report on the State of Mobile Networks in the U.S. recognized T-Mobile as the winner in almost all of our categories, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of competition. Verizon took second place in several of our key metrics, in some cases by the narrowest of margins. This intense competition becomes even clearer as we zoom in on how the operators ranked across five regions: The Northeast, The Southeast, The Midwest, the Southwest and the West.  

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Source: OpenSignal

In our national report, released in January, we saw T-Mobile win our 4G availability award by just a hair: while its users were able to access 4G connections an average 93.1% of the time, Verizon was close on its heels with scores of 92.7%.

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Navi Mumbai the fastest 4G city in India

India has a new leader in terms of 4G download speeds – and it’s a case of out with the old, in with the new, as Navi Mumbai stole the top spot from its namesake, Mumbai.

 

Navi Mumbai registered average 4G speeds of 8.72 Mbps in OpenSignal’s latest measurements, which track average 4G download speeds among 20 of India’s largest cities between December and February. Elsewhere, second-placed Chennai saw its 4G speeds nearly double, jumping up from 4.4 Mbps in our last post in March 2017. At the other end of the scale, Allahbad was only city to register less than 4 Mbps with average speeds of just 3.5 Mbps.

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Posted in LTE | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

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