South Korea has the best mobile experience except for latency – Opensignal

Network measurement outfit Opensignal has published its latest ‘State of the mobile network experience’ report and Korea is mostly on top.

South Korea is well ahead of any other country in the world when it comes to download experience, with average speeds topping 50 Mbps, which most fixed broadband users can only dream about. Only Norway comes close, with even third-placed Canada a clear 10 Mbps behind. At the other end of the scale we inevitably have developing countries, but it’s surprising to see India still lagging at 6.8 Mbps average despite all the investment from Jio.

Download Speed Experience_Opensignal State of Mobile Network Experience 2019

It looks like all that Jio cash has been focused on coverage, with India doing a lot better in terms of 4G availability. Your average Indian punter get access to 4G 90% of the time, we’re told, but that’s still not good enough to challenge South Korea, which once more tops the list with 97.5% availability. Iraq, Algeria, Nepal and Uzbekistan once more prop up the table, as they did with download experience.

4G Availability_Opensignal State of Mobile Network Experience 2019

Intriguingly South Korea is nowhere near as good when it comes to latency experience, for some reason and is also dropping the ball in terms of video experience. We thought the two were related until we saw that Norway is top of the video experience pile in spite of being even worse than Korea when comes to latency, so maybe not. Europe is generally strong when it comes to latency and video experience.

Comparison of leading countries in Opensignal key metrics_Opensignal State of Mobile Network Experience 2019

EE the best, O2 the worst – RootMetrics

RootMetrics has released its bi-annual report detailing the performance of the UK’s MNO’s, with EE hitting top-spot across the board, and O2 wallowing at the bottom of the rankings once again.

EE collected the top award for each category measured by RootMetrics, with Three taking joint-first for the ‘Call Performance’ metric. While the margins of victory were certainly not a landslide, the fact that O2 sat at the bottom of the pile nationally, as well as pretty much every metric across the regions as well will possibly be more damaging for the brand than the rewards claimed by EE as the victor.

“We’re starting to see that capital expenditure in the latest network infrastructure, such as EE’s investment in VoLTE pays off in the form of improved customer experience,” said Scott Stonham, GM for RootMetrics in Europe.

“According to IHS Markit research, CAPEX is expected to grow moderately this year, and we will see the foundations being laid for fibre plant and 5G. It will be fascinating to see how the operators balance the creation of the networks of the future and maintaining and improving existing infrastructure.”

The rankings were calculated after RootMetrics took 708,000 tests over the second half of 2018 using a Samsung Galaxy S8, travelling more than 22,048 miles. These measurements also include 649 indoor locations across the UK and RootMetrics claim to have covered 100% of the population. The categories tested were overall performance; network reliability; network speed; data performance; call performance; and text performance.

Below, we’ve noted the performance of each of the brands:

UK England Wales Scotland Northern Ire
EE 1st 1st 1st 1st Joint 1st
Three 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd Joint 1st
Vodafone 3rd 3rd 3rd 3rd Joint 1st
O2 4th 4th 4th 4th Joint 1st

This is of course an overall summary of the performance of the brands, individual cities will vary. So if you are looking to change your contract over the next couple of months, the map below will tell you which provider you should go with depending on where you are in the UK.

Performance Map

Opensignal numbers call into question the future of Sprint

A new report into the performance of the major carriers into the performance of US carriers has given T-Mobile US more fuel to continue squawking, and another reason for Sprint to reach for the aspirin.

Opensignal’s ‘State of Mobile Networks: USA’ has been released for January, and just as the rise of T-Mobile US is becoming more predictable, the decline of Sprint to non-relevance is becoming more worrying. Such statistics will be worrying for the Sprint management team, but they should also be a concern for the consumer. Sprint’s woeful network performance essentially means competition is dwindling; who is going to actively pursue a subscription with such an underperforming product? Is the US becoming a three player market?

Looking specifically at the areas which were judged by Opensignal, using 5,928,296,946 measurements across the country, on 237,213 devices between October 1 and December 30, T-Mobile US leads the rankings. The magenta army took first place in five of the six categories, with only AT&T winning in the 4G Latency category.

Opensignal Awards

Not winning a single award wouldn’t be considered a massive disappointment, there are only six after all, but looking at the breakdown of each one would be a concern for Sprint. Sprint came last in four of the six, only beating Verizon in the 4G and 3G Latency categories. The phrase ‘one legged man in an ar*e kicking content’ comes to mind.

Of course, for every loser there has to be a winner, and T-Mobile US CEO John Legere doesn’t generally need too much encouragement to stick the boot into the ‘duopoly’. In most of the categories, you can see them all at the bottom of the article, T-Mobile US was a convincing winner.

“Wireless customers have spoken again, and it’s time for the Carriers to face facts! Billions of real customer tests prove we’ve built America’s best network!” said Legere. “That’s why T-Mobile customers are the happiest in wireless. We’ve built our whole company – including the network – around delivering the best experience, and we. won’t. stop.”

The report certainly adds fuel to the magenta fire, but it also raises another interesting question; how does Sprint actually have any customers?