State of Mobile Networks: Mexico (March 2017)

The battle for 4G supremacy between Telcel and AT&T continued to rage in our latest testing results. This is one battle from which Mexico's mobile consumers only benefit. Mexico's 4G signals are making their way to more places, and the overall speeds available to most users are on the rise. Analyzing more than 547 million measurements, OpenSignal compared the mobile data experience on Mexico's three major mobile operators over the previous three months.

Report Facts

547,891,227
Measurements
31,577
Test Devices
2016-12-01 - 2017-02-28
Sample Period
Mexico
Report Location

Highlights

AT&T jumps ahead in our LTE availability rankings

After tying with Telcel in 4G availability in our last report, AT&T now tops our chart. Our users were able to latch onto an AT&T LTE signal 71.5% of the time compared to a Telcel LTE signal 69.4% of the time.

Telcel keeps the 4G speed crown

Telcel maintained its lead in our 4G speed tests, averaging download speeds of 24.8 Mbps whenever our testers connected to its LTE network. AT&T was second in our rankings, averaging 21.6 Mbps, but thanks to its higher 3G speed and 4G availability rankings, it won our overall speed award.

Telcel and AT&T see big boosts in overall speed

We saw a significant bump in overall speed in both our Telcel and AT&T tests, driven both by increases in our 4G speed and 4G availability measurements. Our users not only had access to faster speeds on their chosen LTE networks, but they were able to access 4G connections more often.

Mexico's 4G reach is growing

We saw improvement from all three operators in our LTE availability scores in the last six months, indicating mobile broadband services are becoming much more accessible to Mexico's 4G users.

Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G

AT&T

medal medal medal

Movistar

medal

Telcel

medal medal

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Performance by Metric

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Analysis

What a difference six months makes. Since OpenSignal published its last State of Mobile Networks report for Mexico, we've seen improvements in a number of mobile data metrics from the country's national operators. LTE signals are becoming more and more accessible across the country, while the overall speed available across Mexico's mobile data infrastructure is steadily rising.

In our third look at Mexico, OpenSignal examined more than 547 million measurements collected by 31,577 smartphone users between December 2016 and February 2017. We compared the 3G and 4G performance experienced by our testers on Mexico's three major operators: América Móvil's Telcel, AT&T Mexico and Telefónica's Movistar. We found a country that is quickly ramping up its 4G capabilities as well as facing an increasingly heated battle between its long-time local incumbent and a newly revitalized challenger.

LTE's growing reach

We measured increases in LTE availability across the board in our latest data, and not just slight upticks. All three operators saw their 4G availability scores jump by more than 4% since our last Mexico report was published in October. The biggest increase we measured, however, was on AT&T. Our users were able to tap into an AT&T LTE connection 71.5% of the time in our latest reporting period, as opposed to 66.6% of the time six months ago. That improvement was enough to boost AT&T over Telcel in our 4G availability rankings, while in our last report the two operators were statistically tied in the same metric. Our testers were able to get a Telcel LTE signal 69.4% of the time, while Movistar had a 4G availability score of 55.3%

That result may seem a bit surprising considering Telcel deployed LTE long before AT&T Mexico launched its first 4G network in late 2015, but it's important to keep in mind what our availability metric measures. Rather than measure geographic or population coverage, OpenSignal's availability metric tracks the proportion of time users have access to a particular network. Essentially we're measuring the typical consumer experience on LTE, and our most recent data shows AT&T's users are accessing its LTE service a greater proportion of the time.

Telcel maintains its 4G speed edge

We didn't just find enhanced LTE availability among Mexico's operators; we also measured increases in LTE speed from two of them since our last report. Telcel averaged download speeds 24.8 Mbps, up from 23.3 Mbps, in our tests, and it held on to the top prize for 4G speed. AT&T's average measured 4G speed jumped more than 2 Mbps to 21.6 Mbps. Meanwhile, the average download speed tests for Movistar dropped by a megabit between testing periods, landing at 14.1 Mbps.

We saw fairly little change in our 3G speed results between reports, though AT&T did hold on to our 3G speed award. Its HSPA download average of 4 Mbps was more than a megabit faster than its nearest rival in our tests. AT&T's higher 3G speed and 4G availability rankings helped it overcome Telcel's better 4G speed score in our overall speed category. Our users were able to connect to AT&T's data networks at an average speed of 13.8 Mbps, a nearly 3 Mbps improvement over the last reporting period. Telcel came in second in our overall speed rankings with an average of 10.3 Mbps, but that score also represented a sizable improvement over the 8.5 Mbps overall average we measured in our October report. Not only did 4G connections get faster on most of Mexico's LTE networks but 4G signals became more pervasive, which in turn led to a better overall experience for our testers.

The final metric we tested was latency, which measures the reaction speed of a network. A low latency score is key to good communications-app performance and better mobile-surfing experiences. Telcel had the best (lowest) latency score in our tests, averaging 55.4 milliseconds, while Movistar took our 3G award with an average latency of 138.9ms.

Mexico is making steady 4G progress. AT&T became the first Mexican operator to surpass 70% 4G availability in our testing, and Telcel is only a hair shy of the same milestone — both good indications that their LTE deployments are starting to reach maturity. In speed, most of Mexico's operators are outperforming many of their global peers. Our 4G speed measurements for Movistar fell short of the global average of 17.4 Mbps as measured in our State of LTE report, but both Telcel and AT&T well exceeded that benchmark. Both operators are now outperforming their U.S. operator neighbors to the north in our speed tests. The typical mobile data experience for Mexican consumers likely only will get better. Even if 3G and 4G speeds hold steady, Mexico's ever-increasing LTE signal availability will mean more people will more often have access to better performing connections.

Our Methodology

OpenSignal data is collected from consumer smartphones and recorded under conditions of normal usage. As opposed to drive-test data, which attempts to simulate what a user might experience by using the same devices to measure network performance in a small number of locations, we take our measurements from millions of smartphones owned by regular people who have downloaded OpenSignal’s apps.

Those measurements are taken wherever users happen to be, whether indoors or out, in a city or in the countryside, representing a mobile data service the way users experience it. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 547,891,227 datapoints were collected from 31,577 users during the period: 2016-12-01 - 2017-02-28.

All data has been collected from users of the OpenSignal mobile app for Android or iOS.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

©2017 OpenSignal, Inc. All rights reserved.

OpenSignal, Inc retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by OpenSignal, Inc may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.

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