Opensignal analyzes the real-world mobile experience of its smartphone users. Here we’ve examined the differences between the mobile experience of our Chilean users when they are on 3G, 4G or 5G connections across different measures of the mobile experience including: average download and upload speeds, users’ experience when streaming video and the quality of users’ mobile gaming experience.
It’s important to remember that 5G in Chile 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 existing 3G and 4G technologies that are fully developed and at the height of their powers. Entel, Movistar and WOM activated their 5G networks in December 2021.
However, our Chilean smartphone users are already seeing an impressive improvement in their average download speeds from 5G. When connected to 5G, users reported speeds of 171.6 Mbps — 153.7 Mbps or 9.6 times faster than the 17.9 Mbps they observed when connected to 4G. Chilean users’ 4G download speeds were 13.4 Mbps or four times faster than their 3G speeds.
To put Chile’s average 5G download speeds of 171.6 Mbps into context, they were 22.8 Mbps (15.3%) faster than those seen by our users in Mexico (148.8 Mbps), but 81.3 Mbps (32.2%) slower than those observed by users in Brazil.
As with download speeds, our Chilean smartphone users experienced much faster upload speeds when connected to 5G. The country’s 5G Upload Speed score of 20.8 Mbps is 12.1 Mbps or 2.4 times faster than that for 4G Upload Speed (8.7 Mbps). While this uplift is significant it’s much smaller than the uplift seen for download speeds, due to operators and network vendors focusing on the downlink side of network deployments. However, social media and the way it encourages users to create and share content online is increasing the importance of upload speeds for consumers.
There is more to the real-world user experience than speeds alone. When we looked at the experience of our Chilean users when streaming video over mobile connections, we found that they enjoyed an Excellent (75 or above) experience when connected to 5G. This compares favorably against the Fair (40-55) experience seen when connected to 4G and the Poor (under 40) experience they had when connected to 3G.
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. The experience on lower resolution videos from some providers might have been sufficient though.
While the 5G Video Experience was 30.5 points (67.5%) higher than the 4G Video Experience, the video experience observed by our users when connected to 4G was 28 points (162.7%) 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 Chilean users had a Fair (65-75) games experience when connected to 5G, but the 5G score was 11.9 points higher than the score for 4G Games Experience. The gap between the 3G and 4G Games Experience was larger, as there was a difference of 22.3 points between the two scores and the 4G Games Experience score was 1.7 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 5G 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 for 4G Games Experience 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.
This is only the beginning
It is worth noting that as impressive as the improvements we’ve discussed are, our Chilean 5G user only spent 17.6% of their time with an active 5G connection in the 90 days starting on 1 July 2022 and ending on 28 September 2022. As 5G rollouts progress and networks become denser, this will increase. Rising 5G Availability in connection with greater 5G adoption will also work to reduce the difference between our users’ 5G experience and the overall experience of users across all generations of mobile technology (overall experience) as shown in our mobile network experience reports.
We’ve seen that our Chilean smartphone users are already seeing significant improvements on 5G versus 4G in their download and upload speeds, along with their experience when streaming mobile video and playing multiplayer mobile games. However, more is in store given that work is well underway on newer 5G standards — 3GPP Releases 17 and 18 (5G Advanced) — that aim to further improve the 5G experience.
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