In the two years and a half since Peru's first 4G network went live, the country's major operators have been busy. All three have some of the most available LTE networks in South America, while speeds are not far from international standards. Drawing on 6 million measurements collected by 5,000 OpenSignal users between Jan. 1 and March 31 2016, we examined the performance of Peru's LTE networks.
Less than 2 years after starting its LTE rollout, Entel has managed to build an impressive network. It won hands down all three of our awards for 4G performance in the first quarter: highest availability (82.1%), best download speeds (19.0 Mbps), and lowest latency (31.3 milliseconds).
Given how new LTE is in Peru, its operators have managed to build out quite the 4G footprint. Even Claro, which came in at the bottom of the table, had a respectable 4G availability metric of 59.2%. Entel's LTE availability of 82.1% is remarkable both by Latin-American and international standards.
When it comes to 4G download speeds, there are significant differences among Peruvian operators: Entel, in first place, had download speeds (19.0 Mbps) over four times faster than Claro at the bottom of the table (4.7 Mbps).
Having won spectrum allocations in 2013, Entel and Movistar are off to a good start in the LTE race. They both outperformed in speed their competitor Claro, who lost out in the spectrum auction.
|Download Speed: 4G||Latency: 4G||Availability: 4G|
This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.
This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.
This metric shows the proportion of time Opensignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.
For a country where LTE has only been around for a couple of years, Peru can boast of some impressive availability and speeds, especially when it comes to the performance of one particular mobile operator, Entel. Indeed, the Peruvian subsidiary of the Chilean telecoms group won all of our 4G awards in OpenSignal's first State of Mobile Networks report for Peru. We measured 4G performance of all three of Peru's major operators in the first quarter and found Entel delivered the fastest mobile internet, most accessible 4G service and most responsive network. Though it couldn't quite match Entel, Movistar also performed well in LTE reach and speed, but it's clear that Claro needs to improve if it hopes to match its 4G networks against its two major competitors'.
Let's start by looking at 4G availability. Our availability metric tracks the proportion of time OpenSignal users spend connected to a particular network. There were considerable differences in performance between Entel and its rivals, but all three Peruvian operators surpassed the 50% mark, with users on Claro seeing an LTE connection 59.2% of the time, those on Movistar 69.0% of the time and Entel customers spending an outstanding 82.1% of the time connected to an LTE network. The national average of 66% that we measured in our last LTE report makes Peru one of the countries with the highest 4G availability in Latin-America — only surpassed by Uruguay — and puts it on a par with the likes of Austria, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.
In terms of 4G speeds, both Entel and Movistar fared well. Entel took the crown with an average download speed of 19.0 Mbps, followed by Movistar at 14.0 Mbps. Claro came a distant last with speeds of 4.7 Mbps — much closer to the global average for 3G (3.5 Mbps) than that of 4G (13.5 Mbps), according to our measurements in our last LTE report. The fact that Claro's LTE is between three and four times slower than its competitors' is likely due to a significant difference in spectrum holdings: in 2013, Entel and Movistar won in auction spectrum allocations in the AWS band (1700MHz and 2100MHz), while Claro missed out and had to resort to repurposing 1900MHz frequencies from its 2G network. As a result, globally Peru ranks in the bottom half of the table for 4G speeds. Claro's sluggish performance dragged down the overall national average, even while Entel provided one of the fastest 4G data connections in South America.
The final metric we considered was 4G latency, which tracks the response time of a network. Low latencies equate to faster reaction times when clicking on a link and less delay in real-time communications apps, which makes it particularly important for voice-over-LTE services. With an extremely low latency of 31.3 ms, Entel performed between three and four times better than Claro (97.7 ms) and Movistar (130.0 ms). Though Movistar had the highest latency, it is the only operator going forward with VoLTE, with plans to launch the service in Lima this year.
In addition to the arrival of VoLTE to Peru's 4G scene, we could soon start seeing further LTE network deployments from all three major operators, who were recently awarded new frequencies in the 700MHz spectrum band. The auction winners are required to roll out 4G services in over 190 towns. If operators deploy these networks sooner rather than later, they could add more capacity and even introduce LTE-Advanced. Our next Peru report may show the first effects of these developments in the country's 4G speeds and availability.
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