Analyzing 5G mobile experience at Serie A stadiums in Italy

The 2021/2022 football season is the first full season where there is widely available 5G from all four national mobile operators. In this analysis of Italian sports venues, we have analyzed our users’ 5G mobile experience on the four national operators during the 180 days starting on September 1 2021 and ending on February 27, 2022 at and around the 17 stadiums that host the 20 Italian Serie A football teams.

When it comes to attendance at a sporting event, the Italian Serie A football league has one the largest average attendance of any sports league in the world, attracting an average of 25,237 fans per game during the 2018/19 regular season. While the 2020/21 season was played almost entirely without spectators following the pandemic, in this latest season fans were once again admitted into the Serie A stadiums, although subject to capacity limitations which are now being gradually lifted.

As tens of thousands people again crowd into stadiums sharing pictures and videos, watching highlights and instant replays, or streaming their experience online, these sporting events can prove an exceptional opportunity for mobile operators. However, such events are also a challenge given the need to provide a great mobile network experience despite there being such large amounts of mobile usage from so many people at once.

We found that our users saw the fastest 5G Download Speed of 334 Mbps using TIM, which was more than twice as fast as our users’ average experience on Vodafone (158.2 Mbps), as well as four times or more faster than the speed our users experienced on Iliad (83 Mbps) and WindTre (64 Mbps). TIM 5G users also experienced the fastest 5G Upload Speed of 29.9 Mbps, compared with 17.3-18.2 Mbps experienced by our Vodafone and WindTre users, and 8.9 Mbps seen on Iliad. 

Our TIM users enjoyed the highest score in 5G Video Experience (81.6 on a 100 point scale), and TIM was the only operator placing in the Excellent category (75 and above). Our TIM users also had the best multiplayer mobile gaming experience when connected to 5G networks together with our WindTre users as the two operators had statistically tied 5G Games Experience scores in the 74.4-77.4 range. Finally, we observed no statistical difference in the 5G Voice App Experience of our users on the four operators as they had statistically tied scores in the 77.3-79.3 range.

On the other hand, our WindTre and Vodafone 5G users enjoyed a statistically similar 5G Availability of 26-27.5%, meaning that they spent more than a quarter of their time with an active 5G connection when in and around the Serie A stadiums. TIM and Iliad’s 5G Availability scores were statistically similar in the 5.6-7.2% range.


5G is especially important for stadiums because of the large numbers of users

As fans flock back to Serie A stadiums to cheer and support their favorite teams and players, having a strong mobile experience is key for attendees to enjoy and share their experience with family and friends online. Unlike the previous seasons, 5G is now becoming commonplace across Italy, and plays a key role in supporting the growing demand for data at sporting venues.

Opensignal data shows that 5G users at and around Serie A stadiums spent the highest amount of time connected to 5G when on WindTre and Vodafone’s networks. However, it was TIM 5G users who enjoyed the fastest average 5G download and upload speeds, as well as the best 5G Video Experience.