Kevin Fitchard, Principal Analyst
In the 103-year history of the Copa América, no team outside of CONMEBOL has won South America's most prestigious national football tournament, despite the fact that squads from other federations have been participating in the competition since the 1990s. This year, expectations haven't changed as incumbent footballing giants Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay take on invited nations Japan and Qatar, neither of which made the top 25 in FIFA's World Rankings.
But what if the Copa América wasn't decided by sports prowess, and instead winners were determined by mobile broadband capabilities? Suddenly Japan and Qatar stand more than just a chance of lifting the cup. One of them could win it all.
Keeping with the tradition we started last summer for the FIFA Men's World Cup, Opensignal is hosting its own version of the Copa América, inviting the same 12 countries participating in the real tournament to battle it out in our metrics. We follow the same format as the actual Copa América, starting with a group stage and then moving onto the knockout rounds. For each stage we pit the competing teams against each other in one of our metrics, with the winning squads moving on to the next round and the next metric. Without further fanfare let's blow the starting whistle on Opensignal's Copa América 2019.
Our first round consists of three groups, each with four teams. The highest point-getters and the second-place finishers in each group move on to the knockout rounds, along with the two best-performing of the three third-placed teams. For our group stage we went with Opensignal's Download Speed Experience metric to determine the winners as it measures the overall download speed consumers see across a country's mobile broadband networks.
To win a group stage in football, a nation needs to show an impressive range of skills, just as Download Speed Experience brings to bear many mobile broadband factors: 3G Download Speeds, 4G Download Speeds and 4G Availability. Invitees Qatar and Japan won their respective groups as both countries put their powerful 4G networks on display. Brazil won its group, while Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Uruguay rounded out the knockout field of 8 countries with 2nd-or 3rd-placed finishes.
The first knockout stage of any football tournament is always a rather muted affair. After surviving three games in the group stage to earn their spots, the last thing national teams want is to exit in the next round. The quarter-finals of the actual Copa América will likely be full of defensive formations with teams seeking to dispossess their opponents, move the ball quickly upfield and score. That's why we picked Upload Speed Experience as the metric of our quarterfinal round, as it's the mobile broadband equivalent of the counterattack. Again we see Qatar and Japan turning in impressive results, beating their opponents Uruguay and Peru soundly in Upload Speed Experience. But Chile, the winner of the last two Copa Américas, turned in an impressive overall upload speed of 5.8 Mbps to beat Brazil, while Bolivia shocked South American giant Argentina with a score of 6 Mbps.
With our semi-final matches set, we now turn to Latency Experience for the deciding scores. Latency can have a subtle yet key impact on the consumer mobile experience like a talented midfield player on a match. A low latency connection can mean the difference between a perfectly clear video chat session and a completely garbled conversation, just as a perfectly timed and weighted pass can mean the difference between a win or a loss. When it comes to that kind of nimble networking, we had two clear winners in our semi-final round. Japan's impressive run ended as it fell to fellow invitee Qatar's sub-40 millisecond Latency Experience score. Meanwhile Chile continued to dominate its half of the draw, beating Bolivia 52.2ms to 60.6ms.
Our final wound up being a rather dramatic one as it pitted current Copa champion Chile against the next FIFA World Cup host Qatar. As this is a final, it's all about highlight reel. With the cameras rolling and the world watching, players look to shine in moments of football brilliance that will forever be immortalized on YouTube. That's why we picked Video Experience for our final metric.
Qatar really picked the right moment to excel as its Video Experience score of 64.8 earned it a Good rating in our 100-point scale. Meanwhile Chile's momentum petered out. The typical consumer Video Experience in Chile couldn't stand up to Qatar's, earning it a score of 49.3 and a Fair rating. In short, video on Chile's networks experienced longer load times and more frequent interruptions than on Qatar's networks. And with that we proclaim Qatar our Opensignal Copa América winner.