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Local experience matters

In a world where we are more connected than ever, it can feel like the most impactful events and experiences are happening on a global scale. But in reality, local is as powerful as ever.

In our newest series, we are delving into the possibilities and potential of local experience in the realm of network connectivity. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon.

People's local area means a lot to them. It’s what they call home, but it also encompasses a lot more than that: it’s their local grocer or park, it’s their office and school, it’s where they choose to spend their time in the evenings and weekends. It’s the areas they care about:  volunteering at a local charity, spending an afternoon cleaning up the local beach or building a community garden are all experiences stemming from people’s inner motivation and care for their neighborhood, their city, their community. They provide meaning to our lives, and form an integral part of who we are. They are powerful because they are local.

What is local experience?

At a time when connectivity has become so critical to our everyday lives, the importance of local mobile network experience couldn’t be more relevant. The concept of "local experience" naturally differs from person to person, depending on their habits, daily routines, and the ways they choose to spend their free time; but having a reliable connection in the places they spend time in, that’s essential for all.  

The headlines of “99% national coverage” or “fastest speeds across the country” are impressive, but they are less relevant if a user lives in the 1% where the carrier fails to provide a connection or if their speeds are painfully slow on their morning commute.

While national results can provide a macro-level snapshot on the state of networks, there are numerous cases where regions or cities do not conform to national trends. In our latest report on the USA, AT&T won our national award for Availability - a measure of the percentage of time users are able to connect to their networks. However, at the state level, AT&T tied with Verizon across dozens of states, including Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts and New York, and Verizon came first in Availability in Minnesota. As we zoom into New York state and analyze experience on a county level we found T-Mobile win outright in Chenango as well as tie with both AT&T and Verizon across multiple counties including Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie. Looking at the cities across New York state, we found that in Buffalo and Staten Island for example Verizon was the outright winner in Availability. It’s clear that network experience varies greatly across states, counties, cities, and even from zip code to zip code. Recognising and understanding this variability is key in helping users make the right choices when choosing providers in their local area. At Opensignal, we have quantified competitive network experience across 25,000 zip codes and over 2000 counties, providing an accurate snapshot of local experience from the source that matters most: users. 

Mobile network experience is local experience

Analyzing experiences on a local level is particularly important when we consider the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Our analyses on Austria, Germany and Italy have shown that network experience can vary significantly between regions, but we’ve also looked at users’ experience at a much more granular level including MLB stadiums, Japanese transport hubs, Swiss ski resorts, and even New York City neighborhoods.

Local experience matters because it is real. It provides users with an accurate picture of their connection in their everyday lives: in their homes, on their daily commute, in their favorite coffee shops, or their weekend hiking trails. At Opensignal, our mission has always been to provide an independent and accurate portrayal of users’ actual network experience in the places that matter to them the most…and that, in fact, is local experience.