In this insight, Opensignal has reviewed the progression of mobile network user experience through 2023, looking at overall download speeds. Substantial improvements in speeds have been observed in most markets, with analysis having looked at selected markets in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa, and Asia Pacific. Those improvements seen by our users can be largely attributed to the continued deployment of 5G, rising 5G adoption and improved use of available spectrum assets. We have therefore also reviewed our users’ experience across the same regions specifically on 5G networks, as of the end of 2023, to add context to the overall experience.
By examining the year-end Download Speed Experience during both 2022 and 2023, measured by our users on all mobile network operators within their respective markets, we have identified a clear positive trend in network performance across the regions:
- European markets saw an improvement of 7.4Mbps on average — with Denmark, Finland and Norway at the forefront of these speed increases, with improvements of 25.5Mbps, 17.7Mbps and 16.5Mbps among them, respectively.
- Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) markets saw an improvement of 2.6Mbps on average — Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar registering the highest increases in the region of 15.1Mbps, 11.4Mbps and 7Mbps, respectively.
- Asia Pacific (APAC) markets saw an improvement of 5.2Mbps on average — India, Malaysia and South Korea saw the highest speed increases in the region of 36.1Mbps, 17.9Mbps and 14.8Mbps, respectively.
Note: Network experience data may reflect year-on-year negative trends due to increased network congestion, particularly at peak times which account for a significantly higher share of readings, but also due to the variability inherent in the methodology of crowdsourced measurements.
While a positive trend is evident across all regions, the extent of improvement in network experience has varied significantly between individual markets. The disparities in network experience seen in 2022 have been further amplified over the past year.
For example, in Europe, Denmark and Norway have made remarkable progress to their already leading download speeds, with speeds increasing from 73.4 to 98.8 and 85.8 to 102.3 Mbps, respectively. In contrast, major markets like Italy and the United Kingdom have experienced more modest gains, with increases from 30.5 to 32.4 and from 29.8 to 33 Mbps, respectively. These figures underscore the varied rates of advancement across different markets.
A similar pattern is observed in the MENA region, where the markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have achieved significant improvements in download speeds thanks to their significant investments in rolling out some of the most sophisticated 5G networks in the region. This has propelled Download Speed Experience on their networks further ahead of the rest of the region. In APAC – South Korea, in particular, has further distanced itself from its peers, with its Download Speed Experience score increasing from 125.3Mbps to 140.2Mbps over the past year, far ahead of Singapore with 71.1Mbps at the end of 2023. India stands as an outlier of all the countries we looked at – the average overall download speed of our users has more than tripled, increasing from 15.4Mbps to 51.5Mbps, due to the market’s rapid 5G rollout. Opensignal has previously looked at how 5G was lifting mobile experience in India’s most populous cities.
To put the overall experience seen by our users into context, we looked at the state of 5G networks across the covered regions, looking at two metrics: 5G Download Speed, as measured by our users when they were connected to 5G networks, and 5G Availability — the proportion of time our 5G users spent connected to 5G networks.
The improvements seen in the overall mobile experience have been driven primarily by rapid expansion of 5G and user adoption of networks over the past year – reflecting in the substantial real-world impact measured among our users. Opensignal has previously demonstrated the considerable uplift that 5G brings over 4G networks, across a variety of use-case scenarios, across all the markets worldwide we have analyzed where 5G has launched.
The significant variation in mobile speeds measured across our users in different markets within the same region can be attributed to the varying development levels of 5G networks and the extent of user adoption in these markets. Differences in our users’ 5G experience, stem from disparities in the availability of spectrum and the pace of infrastructure roll-outs, but also due to differences in regulatory environments and government-led investments in mobile network availability for the less populated areas.
Opensignal is dedicated to evaluating the real-world network experiences of users and has consistently led in developing innovative measurement methodologies. While metrics such as Download Speed Experience and Availability are straightforward and easily understood, they do not fully encompass the complexity of user experience. Opensignal will continue to publish research using a wide range of metrics’ methodologies with the aim of conveying the full story of users’ mobile network experience.
Find us at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024, from February 26-28, where Opensignal will showcase new groundbreaking solutions designed to empower operators to enhance network user experience. To explore these innovations, schedule a meeting with us or visit our hospitality suite 2A80 in Hall 2.
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