In Opensignal’s newest analysis, we looked at the network experience of our smartphone users in Switzerland, when they connected to 4G, 5G and Wifi. Our research demonstrates that our Swiss users saw much faster download and upload speeds connected to 5G than when using Wifi or 4G. Smartphone users also enjoyed a superior video streaming experience on their mobile phones on 5G, compared to Wifi. However, multiplayer mobile gaming and over-the-top (OTT) voice service experience was better on Wifi than on 5G, although the latest mobile generation offers a significant improvement in quality compared to 4G.
While Wifi networks — both public and private combined — had an advantage over 4G services, with 17% faster average download speeds, the arrival of 5G was a gamechanger. Our smartphone users in Switzerland enjoyed 5G download speeds clocking in at an impressive 180.3 Mbps, on average. This was a stunning margin of more than 100 Mbps over two other technologies — users on 5G experienced speeds three times faster than on Wifi and 3.5 faster than on 4G networks. This means a very strong improvement in the quality of mobile experience, making mobile services a strong contender to offer better connectivity in households and in public areas.
Our users also enjoyed significantly faster average upload speeds on 5G than on Wifi or 4G services — although the uplifts weren’t as spectacular as in the case of average download speeds. With a score of 37.9 Mbps, average upload speeds on 5G were 36.5% faster than on Wifi and 2.3 times faster than on 4G. Upload speeds are becoming increasingly important in mobile services, as mobile users now engage more on social media apps and are increasingly creating and sharing content, such as high-resolution images and videos, rather than just consuming it.
Turning to experiential categories — our smartphone users in Switzerland had a significantly better experience with video streaming services when connected to 5G than to Wifi or 4G. With a score of 81.1 points, 5G services in Switzerland rated Excellent (75 or above), meaning fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling. By comparison, Wifi and 4G services placed in a category below, Very Good (65-75). This translates to generally fast loading times and only occasional stalling but the experience might have been somewhat inconsistent across users and/or video providers/resolutions.
Looking at Games Experience, our smartphone users had an Excellent (85 and above) multiplayer mobile gaming experience in Switzerland when connected to Wifi. The vast majority of users deemed this network experience acceptable and there was not a noticeable delay in almost all cases when playing multiplayer games on Wifi. The experience on both 4G and 5G placed in the Good (75-85) category. The gameplay experience was generally controllable and most users deemed the experience acceptable and did not experience a delay in their actions and the game.
While the mobile gaming experience is still superior on Wifi, compared to mobile services, 5G has narrowed the quality gap substantially. Wifi commands a lead over 5G of only 3.7 points on a 100-point scale, compared to a much wider lead over 4G — 11.9 points.
We saw a similar story in Voice App Experience, which measures the quality of experience for mobile over-the-top (OTT) voice services — such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. While the experience of our smartphone users in Switzerland was better on Wifi, 5G managed to partly make up the difference between Wifi and mobile services — as Wifi beat 4G by 4.2 points, but 5G only by 1.2 points. Both Wifi and 5G placed in the Good (80-87) category, meaning that many users were satisfied, but some experienced minor quality impairments. By comparison, 4G rated as Acceptable (74-80) — some users were satisfied, but perceptible call quality impairments were experienced by some users.
5G has become a serious contender for Wifi in Switzerland
Opensignal has previously compared the experience of our smartphone users on Wifi and mobile networks in the U.S. and the Philippines and observed that the arrival of 5G has provided a solid upgrade over 4G, allowing mobile services to beat Wifi in a number of metrics. The situation is no different in Switzerland, as 5G has beat Wifi in Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and Video Experience — while it also had narrowed the gaps between mobile and Wifi services in Games Experience and Voice App Experience, compared to 4G.
5G did so, despite tight regulations on mobile network electromagnetic emissions hampering its performance in Switzerland, which do not allow it to realize its potential to the fullest. With potentially relaxed power regulations and more 5G Standalone deployments in the future, 5G is likely to increase its supremacy over Wifi.
Opensignal Limited retains ownership of this insight including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports and insights produced by Opensignal Limited may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent. Journalists are encouraged to quote information included in Opensignal reports and insights provided they include clear source attribution. For more information, contact [email protected].