State of Mobile Networks: Singapore (May 2018)

Very few countries can come close to matching in Singapore in mobile broadband speed, but in a country of fast operators, one ranked the fastest in our metrics. While StarHub ran away with our speed awards, M1 and Singtel can still count themselves among the fastest operators in the world, and they racked up plenty of other accolades in our metrics. In OpenSignal's first look at Singapore, we analyzed more than 185 million measurements collected between February and May to see how the country's three major operators stacked up.

Report Facts

185,297,150
Measurements
11,742
Test Devices
2018-02-01 - 2018-05-01
Sample Period
Singapore
Report Location

Highlights

StarHub monopolizes OpenSignal's speed awards

We measured the fastest 3G and 4G download speeds, the fastest overall download speed and the fastest 4G upload speed on StarHub's networks. Singtel and M1 may have had slower connections in our tests, but in Singapore's case, slow is a very relative term. All three operators averaged 4G download speeds greater than 40 Mbps, which puts them all among the fastest operators in the world.

Singtel stands out in 4G reach

Singtel won our 4G availability award as our users were able to tap into its LTE connections 89.3% of the time. M1 wasn't far off the leader, though. It provided a 4G signal to our testers 86.4% of the time.

M1, Singtel showcase lightning-fast response times

Rarely do we find an LTE network with sub-30-millisecond latency, which is the measure of a network's response time, but in Singapore's case we found two: M1 and Singtel. M1 won our 4G latency award with a round-trip ping time of 24.8ms, but Singtel took our 3G award with an HSPA latency of 39.2ms — measurements we typically see on highly responsive LTE networks.

Singapore is No. 1 in 4G speed, top 20 in 4G availability

With an average 4G connection speed of 44.3 Mbps, Singaporeans aren't lacking for fast mobile broadband. In our State of LTE report, Singapore topped the list of 88 countries we analyzed in LTE speeds. In 4G availability, Singapore hasn't yet made the LTE elite, but it still ranks highly in 4G reach.

Awards Table

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

M1

medal

Singtel

medal medal

StarHub

medal medal medal medal

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Performance by Metric

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.

Upload Speed: 4G

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

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.

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.

Analysis

Singapore was among the first countries in the world to embrace LTE, starting with M1's commercial 4G launch in June of 2011, and in the intervening seven years the island nation's three operators have taken every opportunity to build powerful mobile broadband networks. Singapore is the fastest 4G country in the world, according to our global measurements, and one operator, StarHub, averaged 4G download connections over 50 Mbps. But Singapore excelled in many more categories: 4G upload speed, 3G download speed, overall speed and both 3G and 4G latency. Though Singapore didn't top the charts in 4G availability as it did in speed, the tiny country's level of 4G access is nothing to scoff at. All three operators were able to provide a 4G connection to our users more than 80% of the time.

In OpenSignal's first look at Singapore, we examined more than 185 million data points to compare the 3G and 4G experience offered by M1, Singtel and StarHub. We found definite winners in each metric we measured, but the differences between leaders and followers in our metrics were really just a matter of bragging rights. We recorded excellent — in many cases exceptional — results for all three operators in every category.

Speed versus availability

No analysis about mobile broadband in Singapore can start without a discussion of speed. The city-state has come in No. 1 in 4G download speed for our last four State of LTE reports, a testament to the powerful LTE-Advanced networks its three operators have built. StarHub won OpenSignal's award for top 4G speed, averaging downloads of 51 Mbps, but M1 and Singtel's scores were nearly as astonishing. Our Singtel users were able to tap into 45.4 Mbps LTE connections, while our M1 testers saw average 4G speeds of 41.9 Mbps. To put those numbers in perspective, we measured the global LTE download average at 16.9 Mbps in our most recent global report. Starhub's 4G speed score is three times the global average, while Singtel and M1's scores are well beyond double.

4G download wasn't the only speed category in which Singapore excelled. All three operators easily surpassed the global 3G download average of 4.1 Mbps, and our 3G download speed award winner StarHub achieved average speeds of 8.6 Mbps in our measurements. We recorded a similarly impressive performance in 4G upload speed, though the three operators were more evenly matched. All three averaged upstream speeds of 15 Mbps or greater in our tests. StarHub ultimately won the award in this category with a 4G upload score of 17 Mbps.

Given StarHub's impressive wins in our 3G and 4G download metrics, it should come as no surprise that StarHub turned in the fastest speeds in our overall download speed metric, which measures the typical everyday speeds consumers experience across mobile data networks. StarHub's overall speed average of 38.1 Mbps beat out Singtel's average of 35.5 Mbps and M1's average of 33.9 Mbps in our measurements, but as with our other speed categories, all three scores were exceptional, exceeding the overall speeds we've measured on the vast majority of operators around the world.

One of the reasons for Singapore's high overall speed ratings is the prevalence of LTE signals across all three operators' networks. The more often consumers can connect to faster LTE networks, the better their overall speeds will be. All three operators had 4G availability scores over 80%, meaning our users were able to find an LTE connection in eight out of every 10 attempts. Singtel, however, was the standout leader in this metric. It's 4G availability was just shy of 90% in our tests.

Our final set of metrics, latency, measures the response time of data networks. A low latency connection means many applications perform better: web pages begin loading more quickly, streaming video begins playing more quickly and real-time communications apps like video chat experience less lag time. Latency, or ping, is also a key factor in voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services, which all three Singapore operators have launched. Rarely do we find one 4G network in a country with sub-30-millisecond latency, but Singapore happens to have two. We recorded average LTE response times of 27.1ms on Singtel's LTE network and 24.8ms on M1's network, which landed it our 4G latency award. Singtel, however, walked off with our 3G latency award with an HSPA response time of 39.2ms, a score we typically see reserved for 4G networks.

Chasing perfection

Singapore has clearly pushed the upper limits of 4G technology to create powerful LTE-Advanced networks, but if there is any weakness in its 4G rollout, it is in the reach of its 4G services. Though Singapore ranks among the global top 20 in 4G availability, it hasn't kept pace with the world's elite in this metric. South Korea, Japan, Norway, Hong Kong and the U.S. have exceeded the 90% 4G availability threshold, effectively making LTE connections almost as ubiquitous as 3G connections. Singapore isn't far off, but it's still 5 percentage points shy of hitting that mark.

That said, Singaporeans have little to complain about when it comes to their mobile data experience. Even when they can't find an LTE signal, they have extremely fast 3G networks to fall back on, and the country excels in every other performance measure we track. Singapore's operators have already set the 4G bar high. It will be fascinating to watch how much higher they can raise it in OpenSignal's future reports.

Our Methodology

OpenSignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 185,297,150 datapoints were collected from 11,742 users during the period: 2018-02-01 - 2018-05-01.

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.

©2018 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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