Consumers value network reliability more than any other factor besides cost
According to the Opensignal US Household Survey of 55,322 individuals, mobile users attribute greater value to reliable network services than to faster speeds, and considered Reliability second only to cost. 19% of respondents point to Reliability as the key aspect of carrier evaluation vs. only 7% pointing to upload/download speed.
Our users in Denmark enjoy the most reliable mobile services in the world
Denmark tops the global ranking for Reliability Experience with a score of 934 points on a 100-1000 point scale. Japan and South Korea are in a statistical tie for second place.
Chile, Türkiye, and the U.S. lead in their respective regions
Türkiye is the highest-scoring market from the Middle East and North Africa region for Reliability Experience. Our U.S. users enjoy the most reliable mobile services in North America — meanwhile, Chile has the highest score in Latin America alone.
Markets with a higher growth rate of mobile customers have lower Reliability scores
Markets that show stronger annual growth rates for the number of unique mobile internet subscribers generally had lower Reliability Experience scores compared to those seeing slower growth. This is likely because operators in fast-growing emerging markets are not building out network infrastructure fast enough to sustain the increased capacity and coverage needs of a quickly expanding customer base.
Past 50 Mbps, faster speeds do little to improve reliability
Opensignal observed a diminishing influence of average overall download speeds on the overall Reliability Experience scores. Reliability Experience scores grow at a much faster rate for markets with average download up to 25Mbps, then the increase in scores continues at a slower pace up to Download Speed Experience of 50Mbps. After that threshold, the impact of faster speeds is not as substantial for Reliability Experience scores.
Reliability Experience measures how much consumers can depend on their mobile operator’s network
In a world where smartphones are used for everything from instant messaging for work to video calls with family to navigating unfamiliar neighborhoods, the reliability of mobile data services is essential for mobile users. According to the Opensignal US Household Survey of 55,322 individuals, mobile users attribute greater value to reliable network services than to faster speeds, and considered Reliability second only to cost when deciding on a wireless carrier. 19% of respondents point to Reliability as the key aspect of carrier evaluation vs. only 7% pointing to upload/download speed.
Opensignal research has also shown that users experiencing poor connectivity spend much less time in apps and are less likely to retain apps on their devices. Users moving away from apps means fewer in-app purchases and lower subscription and advertising revenues for app developers.
In this new report, Opensignal analyzes the reliability of mobile networks as experienced by our mobile users across nearly 40 mobile markets worldwide. Reliability Experience measures to what extent users stay consistently connected to their mobile network and whether they can continue to do typical tasks like email, watching videos, and using navigation apps while connected. Reliability Experience therefore measures every aspect of the user’s experience of their carrier’s mobile data network: when it’s working flawlessly, when it’s working erratically, and when you can’t connect at all.
The Opensignal approach towards reliability is more user-centric than network operators’ internal views of reliability. A network operator is likely to consider their network "reliable" if there is zero downtime, but an end-user wouldn't find it reliable if they can't send an email, exchange instant messages, use their device for navigation or browse simple websites.
For more detail on Opensignal’s Reliability Experience metric, please see the Appendix.
Opensignal analyzed Reliability Experience across multiple global markets — including the majority of the top 30 markets with the highest number of total mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence. Danish users enjoy the most reliable mobile services in the world, as Denmark ranks first globally with a score of 934 points on a 100-1000 point scale. Japan and South Korea are in a statistical tie for second place, with scores of 913-914 points, while France and Slovakia jointly take fourth spot with scores of 905-906 points.
For context, a network that has a total and complete one-day outage during our 90 day reporting period would lose 44 points, but a network that chronically and repeatedly fails to meet sufficiency thresholds is penalised much more heavily. Reliability is not only about the occasional, large-scale outages. It is also about the everyday situations when a user cannot do what they want on their mobile device, because of poor mobile network performance. The more our users have poor signal, struggle with congestion or fail to maintain connections when moving between places the worse their reliability experience becomes.
Türkiye is the highest-scoring market from the Middle East and North Africa region (886 points), followed by Oman (873 points). Saudi Arabia scores 745 points, lagging behind other markets in the region. South Africa has a score of 831 points.
Meanwhile, our U.S. users enjoy the most reliable mobile services in North America (878 points) — slightly ahead of their Canadian counterparts. Chile has the highest score in Latin America, with 843 points, ahead of Brazil’s 824 points.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore ranks first with a score of 867 points, ahead of Thailand’s 841 points and Indonesia’s 831 points, while both Malaysia and the Philippines score below 800 points. In the East Asian markets, Japan and South Korea are both global frontrunners, while Taiwan also places in the global top 10. Australia makes it to the global top 20 with a score of 851 points.
In Europe, Scandinavian markets with widespread 5G such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway score highly, with all of them placed in the global top 10. France is also a global leader, but other European G7 members rate lower for Reliability Experience. Italy has a score of 862 points, Germany 854 points, and the United Kingdom 847 points, seeing one of the lowest scores among the European markets — ahead of Greece’s 838 points.
Opensignal compared country-level Reliability Experience scores to data from GSMA Intelligence on the pace of mobile broadband adoption among individuals (ie, unique mobile internet subscribers). We observed that markets that are growing faster generally have lower Reliability Experience scores compared to slower-growing markets. These are usually emerging markets, with a lower market penetration of unique mobile internet subscribers, like Bangladesh or Pakistan.
Operators in emerging markets with fast-growing subscriber bases are likely struggling to maintain highly reliable networks for two reasons: one, they need to make regular network investments to keep up with customers’ growing and rapidly evolving mobile data demands, and two, their networks are not built to anticipate the coverage and propagation requirements of new neighborhoods and new construction. Conversely, mobile operators in markets with high levels of mobile internet penetration and slower relative annual growth of unique mobile internet subscribers can more easily predict demand for their services and can focus more on optimizing and fine-tuning the experience they deliver.
Opensignal also investigated the relationship between the share of prepaid connections in observed markets and Reliability Experience scores. In general, we observe a negative correlation between a high proportion of prepaid connections in the market and Reliability Experience scores. Postpaid connections generally come with higher ARPUs vs. prepaid connections and are mostly associated with lower churn. Lower churn translates to longer customer lifetime values, which helps operators better forecast their future revenue streams, so they can plan their network investments and improve the reliability of their services.
We also analyzed how markets’ Reliability Experience scores relate to another Opensignal metric — Download Speed Experience. We observed a diminishing influence of average overall download speeds on Reliability Experience scores. We can see that as Download Speed Experience scores increase, Reliability Experience scores grow at a much faster rate until the markets have average download speeds of up to 25Mbps. Then, the increase in Reliability Experience continues at a slower pace up to Download Speed Experience of 50Mbps. After that threshold, the impact of faster speeds is less substantial.
Quantifying Reliability Experience
Opensignal Reliability Experience measures the ability of Opensignal users to connect to and complete tasks on communication service providers’ networks, such as video, over-the-top voice calls, and web browsing. Opensignal is aligned with how the International Standardization Organization (ISO) defines reliability, which states it as “the ability of a functional unit to perform a required function under given conditions for a given time interval”.
This definition also aligns with the U.S. National Advertising Division (NAD) guidelines — which state that a claim about reliability must reasonably convey the message that consumers can use the network and stay connected for their intended purpose or to complete their tasks. As per a NAD statement: reliability involves connecting to the network and staying connected for the duration of an intended activity/task.
Calculated on a scale of 100-1000 — with higher scores indicating better experience — Reliability Experience consists of the following components, with higher proportions of successful components resulting in a higher score:
- Signal Availability — the proportion of time users can successfully connect to a mobile network
- Data connectivity — the proportion of time when the network is available and the device can connect to the internet
- Task completion — whether tasks initiated by the user’s device are completed
- Sufficiency — the probability that tasks will be executed sufficiently well for the user
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