At Opensignal, we analyze the real-world mobile experience of our smartphone users. Here we’ve examined the differences between the mobile experience of our Filipino users when they are on 3G, 4G or 5G connections in terms of their average download and upload speeds, their experience when streaming video and the quality of their mobile gaming experience.
We’ve previously seen when benchmarking the 5G experience internationally, that the Filipino experience ranks highly for the uplift that users connected to 5G saw in their experience compared to those with 4G connections. It’s important to remember that 5G today is still in its infancy — the 5G experience is set to improve greatly in the years ahead. So, we are comparing the early state of 5G to that of older 3G and 4G technologies that are at the height of their powers.
Starting with average download speeds, our users racked up an impressive 149 Mbps when connected to 5G which is 10.2 times faster than the 14.6 Mbps seen on 4G. The speed gap between 3G and 4G was smaller with 4G speeds a much lower (but still impressive) 3.5 times faster than 3G speeds.
Our users saw average upload speeds of 14.5 Mbps when connected to 5G or 10.5 Mbps higher than those seen on 4G. However, the ratio between 5G and 4G is lower than that between 4G and 3G: 5G upload speeds were 3.7 times faster than 4G, while average 4G upload speeds were four times faster than those seen when connected to 3G. This indicates that currently, the 4G/5G uplift on average upload speeds is less in percentage terms than the difference seen when moving from 3G to 4G. However, the boost that 5G provides is likely to make a noticeable difference to our users.
Looking at the experience of our smartphone users when streaming video over mobile connections, we found that our users enjoyed an Excellent (75 or above) video experience when connected to 5G, instead of the Good (55-65) video experience seen when connected to 4G. In contrast, with 3G they had a Fair (40-55) video experience.
An Excellent rating means that there was a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling. On the other hand, placing in the Fair category means that there was not a good experience either for higher resolution videos (very slow loading times and prolonged stalling) or for some video streaming providers. However, the experience on lower resolution videos from some providers might have been sufficient.
While the 5G Video Experience was 17.1 points (28.1%) higher than the 4G Video Experience, the video experience observed by our users when connected to 4G was 19.3 points (46.8%) higher than that seen when they were on 3G connections.
Multiplayer games are an increasingly important part of the mobile experience due to the growing popularity of eSports and mobile operator efforts to attract gamers to become customers because of 5G. Opensignal’s Games Experience measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-100, the metric analyzes how the multiplayer mobile Games Experience is affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter to determine the impact on multiplayer gameplay.
Our Filipino users had a Fair (65-75) games experience when connected to 5G and the 5G score was a startling 29.6 points (1.7 times) higher than the score for 4G Games Experience. The gap between the 3G and 4G Games Experience was not as large, as there was a difference of 9.9 points between the two scores and the 4G Games Experience score was 1.3 times higher than the 3G Games Experience. The games experience observed on 4G and 3G connections was Poor (40-65) and Very Poor (under 40), respectively.
A Fair Games Experience indicates that users found the experience to be ‘average’. In most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with most users reporting that they felt like they had control over the game. The majority of players reported that they noticed a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.
In contrast, a Poor rating means that most users found this level of experience unacceptable. The majority of users reported seeing a delay in the gameplay experience and they did not receive immediate feedback on their actions. Many users felt a lack of controllability in the Games Experience.
The 5G experience will evolve
We’ve seen that 5G already delivers significant improvements to our Filipino users’ mobile experience when compared to that seen when they only connect to 4G services, for video, multiplayer gaming and for speed. The improvements are just a start to the 5G era. Unlike 4G, 5G is not yet a mature technology, so the gap will likely widen between 4G and 5G in future.
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