3G and 4G networks remained widely available during Argentina's blackout

Francesco Rizzato, Senior Technical Analyst

Opensignal observed an impact on our Argentinian users’ experience following the massive electrical failure which occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, 16 June. However, despite the blackout affecting all of Argentina, our smartphone users could connect to 3G and 4G networks more than 84% of the time throughout the power outage.

Argentina's 4G Availability during 16 June power outage

While our users could on average access 3G and 4G networks more than 95% of the time before the blackout, once the power outage occurred, they saw their combined 3G and 4G availability gradually drop to 84% around noon. Mobile service then steadily recovered and returned back to normal by 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Opensignal measured the biggest impact on 4G services as our users experienced a drop of 20 percentage points in availability at 11 a.m. on Sunday. During this event, Argentina’s smartphone users on average were able to connect to 4G services only 61% of the time, compared to normal conditions when they could access 4G networks more than 80% of the time. Besides, as the number of live 4G cell sites dropped during the power outage, our smartphone users who connected to the remaining active cells experienced mobile congestion: 4G Download Speed and 4G Upload Speed dropped, likely because users were sharing limited network resources.

Power failures are among several factors that can cause mobile network outages. Last year we observed concurrent network outages across several countries due to a faulty software installed in the networks, but we also measured what impact a natural disaster can have on mobile services. Sunday’s power outage could have had a much more dramatic impact on mobile services if the failure had lasted longer. However, Argentina’s mobile networks showed resilience, maintaining reliable service for most of our users, likely thanks to backup power generators.