The State Of Mobile Network Experience In 2020

Anil Prabha

August 20, 2020

OpenSignal recently published a report on the state of the mobile network experience in 2020, back in May, this year. Essentially, its a review of the state of affairs in the 5G arena, since its launch of services back in April 2019.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

  • Canada and South Korea are now joint top in download speed experience at average of 59Mbps
  • 15 countries are now rated with excellent video experience. Japan, Singapore and Australia have joined the list.
  • There are improvements in mobile experience across many countries.
  • Canada and Japan have accelerated further ahead of their G7 peers.

 

While mobile experience may have improved dramatically in the past year in all kinds of countries including those that ranked highly a year ago.

It is still early days for 5G despite launches in many countries, with increasingly significant user bases in a select number especially in the case of South Korea and rapidly growing ranges of 5G smartphones.

In reality, a good 5G experience depends to a large extent on the 4G foundation. The older 4G technology is still not up to par in many countries and this could be a barrier to the overall 5G experience in the future.

Interestingly, mobile operators in 2019 were seizing on mobile games to market 5G, and this looks set to continue given that spending on digital video games hit a record high of USD$10 billion in March despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using smartphones for mobile video streaming is now commonplace. In 2020, people are connecting through voice and video communications more than ever, and this highlights the importance of different ways of measuring the quality of real-world mobile experience.

 

Opensignal collects billions of individual measurements every day from over 100 million devices worldwide. They 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. Their data comes from actual smartphone users and they report users’ actual network experience, whether they are indoors or out, bustling in a busy city or trekking in the countryside.

They collect the vast majority of their data via automated tests that run in the background, enabling them 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.

 

According to 5GRadar, for each iteration of mobile technology, there are standards that are put in place by a group called 3GPP, and it makes sure the technology reaches a certain set of benchmarks to protect consumers and regulate how the technology is deployed and used.

The publication states that within the 5G standards, a minimum speed must be achieved for an operator to be classified as having a ‘5G network’ and this has been set at 20Gbps downlink and 10Gbps uplink per mobile base station.

In reality, the publication states that 5G speeds will be around 100MBps and 50Mbps upload speeds. LTE speeds already offer this, and they will likely be standard on 5G.

In May 2020, as reported by 5GRadar, Nokia broke the world’s fastest 5G speeds in Over-The-Air (OTA) network in Dallas, Texas, clocking in at an eye-watering 4.7 Gbps.

Apparently, the tests were  performed on base station equipment that’s currently being deployed in major US carriers’ commercial networks (including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon).

Sources: OpenSignal & 5GRadar

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About the author
Anil Prabha

Editor In Chief

Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.

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