Broadband snapshots: Germany

Key points

  • The real-world broadband experience is highly dependent on the location of users’ homes, and users care about the experience where they live, and not nationally. Users’ speeds are higher on almost every ISP in urban districts.

  • Our Vodafone users generally experienced the fastest average download speeds across both urban and rural areas, followed by 1&1, Telekom and O2. However, we found few exceptions where our users on smaller regional operators have similar or faster experience, like on EWE-Tel in the urban districts of Lower Saxony and Deutsche Glasfaser in the rural districts of North Rhine-Westphalia.

  • Our Vodafone users on average experienced the fastest download speeds in Hamburg, Cologne and Dortmund, and they were only behind cable provider PYUR in Berlin and Munich. We haven’t seen the same dominance in upload speeds by any single operator.

 

Analysis

Opensignal looked at Germany’s broadband market and analyzed our users’ real-world experience when they connected using a selection of the country’s major Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Since users’ experience will vary depending on the location of their home and the broadband infrastructure that is available, which will not necessarily be the same across the country, we analyzed our users’ experience across a number of geographies to assess how the broadband experience on the same ISP varies across different locations. 

First, we looked at our users’ average experience across the urban and rural districts of Germany’s most populated states on a selection of the country’s largest ISPs, then we analyzed the average download and upload speeds our users experienced in five of the largest cities in Germany by population. We included regional operators where they accounted for at least 3% of our user base in that area.

Our users generally experienced faster speeds in urban districts, although we observed a few exceptions. For example, in Baden-Wurttemberg our users on 1&1’s network on average saw 28.3 Mbps in download speed across the urban districts and 44.4 Mbps download speed in the rural districts. 

Our Vodafone users on average experienced the fastest average download speeds across the urban and rural districts of the five largest German states by population except for the urban districts of Lower Saxony and the rural districts of North Rhine-Westphalia — with average scores ranging between 63.9 Mbps and 85.2 Mbps. In the urban areas of Lower Saxony our Vodafone users’ average download speed of 71.1 Mbps was matched by EWE-Tel while in the rural districts of North Rhine-Westphalia our users on Deutsche Glasfaser saw the fastest average speeds we have seen across all geographies included in this analysis — 93.2 Mbps in average download and 61.6 Mbps in upload.

We haven't seen a single operator across most of the ten locales dominate in upload speeds as we have seen Vodafone do in download speeds. Instead, we often observed a regional operator ahead in upload speed in an area where we included them. In North Rhine-Westphalia our users on NetCologne and Deutsche Glasfaser on average experienced the fastest upload speeds of 22.5 Mbps and 61.6 Mbps in the urban and rural districts, respectively. Meanwhile, in the urban districts of Lower Saxony, our users on EWE-Tel experienced the fastest speeds of 37.4 Mbps.

Our 1&1 users on average experienced download speeds ranging between 37.8 Mbps and 54.2 Mbps across the urban and rural districts of the five states, except for the urban areas of Baden-Wurttemberg where our users saw on average 28.3 Mbps in download.

On the other hand, our Telekom users on average experience download speeds ranging between 32.5 Mbps and 38 Mbps across the rural districts of the three states, and between 41.7 Mbps and 46.6 Mbps in the urban districts.

Finally, our O2 users on average experienced the smallest variation in speed between urban and rural districts, with their average download speed ranging between 26.6 Mbps and 34.9 Mbps in all the locales of our analysis, except for the urban districts of Lower Saxony where our O2 users saw average download speed of 44.9 Mbps.


We also looked at our users’ experience in five of the largest German cities by population — Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Dortmund. We found that our users on PYUR on average experienced the fastest download speeds in Berlin and Munich, while our Vodafone users saw the fastest download speeds in Hamburg, Cologne and Dortmund, and were behind only to PYUR in Berlin and Munich.

Vodafone users saw fairly high download speeds compared to most other operators, ranging between 58.8 Mbps and 81.2 Mbps across the five cities, but they did not experience the same lead in the upload speeds. It was our users on Telekom, 1&1 and NetCologne who experienced the fastest average upload speeds in those five cities.

We noted that Germany’s broadband market is extremely different to the mobile market, with multiple new factors determining users’ broadband experience. For example, the technology type of the broadband connecting a house — ADSL, VDSL, G.fast, cable, wireless or fiber to the premise (FTTP) — will determine the maximum speed a user will be able to access with their internet service provider. Additionally, not all ISPs provide their services using the same broadband technology, which means that smaller ISPs specialized on a single technology — such as FTTP provider Deutsche Glasfaser and cable provider PYUR — will generally have a different average experience compared to ISPs operating with different types of technologies. 

Moreover, in the broadband market it is much more common than in mobile to have unlimited packages with speed tiering, which means that users’ composition and choice of broadband packages will inevitably affect their download and upload speeds. The quality of home Wifi can also affect users’ experience which is why many ISPs supply home broadband routers that include Wifi to their customers to help them enjoy a good broadband experience. These and other factors help explain the variation in users’ real-world broadband experience.