State of Mobile Networks: Spain (June 2018)

OpenSignal's awards table for Spain remains dominated by one operator, meaning not a huge amount has changed in the six months since our last report. Vodafone won four of our categories outright, including the coveted 4G availability prize, and scored a draw in two of the others. However, the operator has somewhat failed to capitalize on the head start it built last year. Its growth has stalled across most of our metrics, allowing its rivals to close the gap. OpenSignal examined more than 1.8 billion mobile measurements collected between March and May 2018 to see how Spain's big four operators stacked up.

Report Facts

1,808,492,082
Measurements
165,167
Test Devices
2018-03-01 - 2018-05-29
Sample Period
Spain
Report Location

Highlights

4G download speed growth stagnates

Movistar and Vodafone drew in our 4G download speed category, which was won by Vodafone six months ago – but the draw was not due to Movistar's growth but rather Vodafone's decline. Vodafone saw average speeds in this metric fall by nearly 2 Mbps, while Movistar's was inert. Both Orange and Yoigo also saw their 4G download speed scores dip over the last six months.

Vodafone continues to dominate our speed metrics

Vodafone maintained its lead in our overall download speed category, but Movistar is closing the gap on the leader, and we can expect Movistar to start vying for the lead if this trend continues. This was reflected in our 3G download speed metric where Movistar has leapfrogged both Vodafone and Yoigo to take the lead.

Growth in 4G availability stalls

Vodafone kept hold of its title in our 4G availability category, but it failed to make any gains in this metric since our last report. Indeed, our measurements show that growth in LTE reach has somewhat stalled among Spain's national operators, with Movistar seeing the greatest increase of just 1 percentage point in 4G availability over the past six months.

Operators need to keep their feet on the 4G accelerator

Spain's national 4G availability stood at nearly 84% in our last global report putting the country among the most connected 4G countries in Europe. But we're seeing some signs of stagnation in both this metric and 4G download speeds. If Spain truly wishes to join the global 4G elite, its operators need to ensure they remain focused on network rollout.

Awards Table

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

Movistar

medal medal medal

Orange

Vodafone

medal medal medal medal medal medal

Yoigo

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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.

Regional Performance

This chart shows the regional winners in each category OpenSignal measures. Click on the icons to see a more detailed graph showing each operator’s metrics in a particular region.

Legend: Vodafone Orange Yoigo Movistar
Region Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: Overall Upload Speed: 4G Latency: 4G Availability: 4G
Barcelona
Madrid
Sevilla
Valencia

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Analysis

Spain has put some in impressive showings in our recent State of LTE reports, climbing up the global rankings ahead of many of its European peers. But over the past six months we've seen stagnant growth in both 4G download speeds and 4G availability for many of the country's operators. Spain's four national players need to stay fully focused on expanding and upgrading their networks if the country wants to remain among the global 4G elite.

In our most recent Mobile Networks Update on Spain published in January, we found Vodafone had pulled ahead of the pack, winning our key awards in the 4G download speed, overall speed and 4G availability categories. But the U.K.-owned operator has lost its lead in the 4G download metric, where it is now drawing with Movistar. And while Vodafone still leads the other two key categories, its growth has stalled as its rivals are catching up.

For this report, OpenSignal analyzed 1.8 billion measurements collected from 165,167 mobile devices between March 1 and May 29, 2018. We used that data to compare the 3G and 4G services of the big four operators in Spain on the national level, and we drilled down into that data on the regional level, examining 4G download, 4G upload and overall speed, 4G availability and 4G latency metrics for the country's four biggest cities: Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia. Let's start by looking at 4G speed.

Movistar catches up with Vodafone's 4G download speed

We recorded a draw in our 4G download speed category between Movistar and Vodafone, after Vodafone won this award six months ago. But the current draw is a result of a drop in Vodafone's score rather than a rise in Movistar's result. Both Movistar and Vodafone saw average speeds of just over 33.5 Mbps, and while Movistar's speed remained steady in the past six months, Vodafone's actually fell by nearly 2 Mbps from 35.3 Mbps in our measurements. In fact, three of Spain's operators Orange, Vodafone and Yoigo all saw their 4G download speed scores fall by over 1 Mbps. In Spain's top four cities, the spoils were shared as Vodafone won our 4G download speed award in Barcelona and Madrid, while Movistar came top in Sevilla and Valencia.

In our overall speed category, which factors in the combined speeds of operators' 3G and 4G networks and the level of access to each technology, Vodafone maintained its lead with an average speed of 27.2 Mbps, up by 1 Mbps in the last six months. But second-placed Movistar increased its own overall speed by nearly 3 Mbps to reach 26.7 Mbps and close the gap on the leader. If this trajectory continues Movistar may well take the lead in this category in our next report. In Spain's metro region, our overall download speed measurements mirrored our 4G speeds, with Vodafone and Movistar winning the same two cities each.

Indeed, this is what has occured in our 3G download speed metric. Vodafone and Yoigo shared the spoils in 3G speed in our last report six months ago, but Movistar leaped over both in this test period to take the lead. Vodafone comfortably led our 4G upload speed category, as its average speed of 12.5 Mbps was over 1 Mbps faster than its closest rival, while the operator came top in two of the cities we measured and drew in the other two. Vodafone also held onto its title in our 4G latency category, but Movistar is catching up in this category too. Vodafone's impressive score of 34.8 microseconds was enough to keep the crown, but Movistar saw the largest improvement in our measurements, cutting its latency by over 5ms to 41ms.

Growth in 4G availability stalls

In 4G availability, Vodafone kept hold of its title – but only just. Availability is as important as speed since it shows the proportion of time users with a 4G device and subscription can get an LTE connection – and if you can't get a connection, speed is irrelevant. In Spain, our measurements showed Vodafone's claimed our 4G availability crown with a score of 86.7%. But growth has somewhat stalled among Spain's national operators, with Movistar seeing the greatest increase of just 1 percentage point over the past six months to reach a 4G availability score of 82%.

Nonetheless, all of Spain's national operators scored well over 80% in our 4G availability metric, and these results were even higher in the country's four largest cities. Vodafone saw the highest 4G availability in Madrid with an impressive count of 89.4%, while the operator scored over 90% in both Sevilla and Valencia. The high level of competition in LTE reach was reflected in the availability draws we recorded in three out of the four cities.

Spain's strong showing in our 4G availability metric was reflected in our most recent global State of LTE report, which found LTE reach in the country stood at nearly 84%, putting it among the fastest 4G countries in Europe. While we've seen growth in 4G availability in Spain stagnate a little over the last six months, we tend to see availability growth come in spurts as operators launch new phases of network expansion and upgrades. The Spanish regulator CMNC is consulting on a sale of spectrum in the second digital dividend 700 MHz band, which would provide a serious boost to networks – but the auction process would likely take at least a year to complete.

Spain has seen an impressive climb up our global rankings over the past couple of years, as our State of LTE reports have illustrated, and remains way ahead of many of its European peers. But the stagnation of both its 4G download speeds and 4G availability is something to keep an eye on. The country's operators need to keep their foot on the accelerator and ensure they are fully focused on continued network rollout if Spain wants to truly join the global 4G elite.

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, 1,808,492,082 datapoints were collected from 165,167 users during the period: 2018-03-01 - 2018-05-29.

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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