In this new analysis, Opensignal has compared the 5G experience of our smartphone users in Brazil’s 27 capitals — federal capital Brasília and 26 state capitals. While our users across different capitals enjoy average 5G download speeds of over 250Mbps, there are substantial differences between the cities, up to around 150Mbps. We also see large differences in 5G Upload Speed and 5G Games Experience across these 27 capitals.
In July 2022, Brazilian operators commenced their accelerated 5G standalone access (SA) deployments, using the 3.5GHz band, across the Brazilian capitals. The roll-outs started in the federal capital Brasília, with those in the state capitals gradually approved by the regulator ANATEL between July and October 2022.
While Brazil’s operators initially launched 5G services in 2020, they had to rely on Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology which uses existing 4G spectrum for both 4G and 5G connections. This limited the quality of the 5G experience for our Brazilian users and made the market trail behind the global leaders, as shown in our June 2022 analysis. However, the 5G roll-outs in the 3.5GHz band offer the high capacity that is essential for faster speeds. Our Brazilian users saw a colossal difference in the quality of their 5G experience shortly after the SA launch in the 3.5GHz band, with 5G metrics rocketing, as our analysis comparing Brasília to other world capitals demonstrates.
Looking at 5G Download Speed across all 27 Brazilian capitals, several months after ANATEL greenlit all of them for 5G deployments in the 3.5GHz band, we observe impressive average 5G download speeds exceeding 250Mbps in every city. Porto Alegre, Teresina, Curitiba, and Florianópolis rank the highest for 5G download speed in the country, with scores of 391.4 - 408.9Mbps.
The federal capital Brasília is right behind the highest scorers, with average 5G download speeds clocking in at 388.4Mbps — ahead of statistically tied São Paulo and Campo Grande. Overall, our users in 21 out of 27 Brazilian capitals enjoy average 5G download speeds above 300Mbps. We recorded the lowest 5G Download Speed score in Macapá — the capital of Amapá state — of 257.8Mbps, 20Mbps behind Manaus.
The impact of 5G speeds on the overall Download Speed Experience of our users heavily relies on the time they spend with an active 5G connection. 5G Availability scores in Brazil’s capital city vary from 5.8% in Aracaju to 14.8% in Rio de Janeiro.
Turning to 5G Upload Speed, Belo Horizonte is the highest scorer out of all 27 Brazilian capitals. Our users in the capital of Minas Gerais state enjoy average 5G upload speeds clocking in at 39.1Mbps — 3.6-6.2Mbps ahead of Porto Alegre, São Paulo, and Vitória which are tied for second place among Brazilian capitals.
Brasília follows closely with a score of 32.7Mbps. São Luís — the capital of Maranhão state — comes last with a score of 18.8Mbps, with average 5G upload speeds less than half of what our users in Belo Horizonte enjoy.
We looked at how 5G speeds compare to 4G across Brazilian capitals and highlighted top 10 capitals in terms of 5G to 4G uplifts for average download and upload speeds.
Our users in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, enjoy a stunning 5G to 4G uplift in average download speeds of nearly 18 times. Meanwhile, Teresina, São Paulo, and Fortaleza observe nearly 16 times faster download speeds on 5G than on 4G. Macapá sees the lowest — yet still very impressive — an uplift of 10.2 times.
4G to 5G uplift is substantially smaller for average upload speeds, compared to download speeds. Our users in Belo Horizonte and Maceió enjoy 3.5 times faster average upload speeds when on 5G than on 4G. The lowest 4G uplift observed across Brazilian capitals was 2.4 times, in Palmas.
One of the key features of SA is improved latency — the measure of network responsiveness — which relies on using a 5G core network. Low latency is essential for multiplayer mobile gaming, as it ensures a sense of control over the game and no noticeable delays for the gamers.
With this in mind, Opensignal analyzed the results of 5G Games Experience across 27 Brazilian capitals. São Paulo comes first with a score of 88.1 points on a 100-point scale. Users in this city — and their peers in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, and Curitiba — enjoy an Excellent (85 or above) mobile gaming experience. This means the vast majority of users deem this network experience acceptable and nearly all respondents feel like they have control over the game and receive immediate feedback on their actions.
Users in 12 capitals, including Brasília, have a 5G gaming experience rating as Good (75-85), while users in 10 cities — as Fair (65-75). Macapá comes last, scoring 62.6 points, and places in the Poor (40-65) category. We observe substantial differences between Brazilian capitals, with a score spread of 25.5 between the highest and lowest score, on a 100-point scale.
In terms of improved latency on SA that contributes to the better games experience — Aracaju and Boa Vista are the state capital cities that see the highest uplift in 5G Games Experience score compared to 4G Games Experience, of more than 24%. They are followed by Maceió, Rio Branco, Recife, São Luís and Salvador with improvements in 5G to 4G gaming scores exceeding 20%.
Brazilian operators will continue 5G roll-outs in other municipalities
The progress Brazil has made since our analysis published in June 2022 is truly stunning, with the 5G deployments in the 3.5GHz band catapulting the 5G experience to a new level. While users in Brazilian capital cities already enjoy lightning-fast 5G download speeds, ANATEL continues to approve 3.5GHz SA deployments in smaller municipalities on a rolling basis. By late April 2023, the regulator had authorized these deployments across 964 towns and cities — which are home to 62% of Brazil’s population — with plans to greenlight a total of 1,610 municipalities by the end of June 2023. However, the coverage obligations for a number of authorized municipalities do not come into force until 2025, so the actual coverage depends on operators’ own roll-out strategies.
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