State of Mobile Networks: Belgium (March 2018)

The three-way race in the Belgium operator community is a close one. BASE, Orange and Proximus all performed admirably in all six of OpenSignal's 3G and 4G metrics, and in every category we recorded close draws between two or more operators. Analyzing more than 101 million measurements, OpenSignal drilled down into 3G and 4G experience offered by Belgium's three nationwide operators to see how their mobile data services stacked up.


BASE and Orange share OpenSignal's 4G speed crown

We recorded a draw between BASE and Orange in 4G speed as both averaged LTE downloads over 38 Mbps in our measurements. The contests for OpenSignal's 3G and overall speed awards were even closer. In both categories, we found three-way ties between BASE, Orange and Proximus.

Orange and Proximus tie for the lead in 4G reach

In our 4G availability metric, Orange and Proximus ran neck and neck. Our testers were able to find an LTE signal on both of their networks around 86% of the time. BASE wasn't far behind the two leaders, though, with an availability score of 83.1%.

Brussels region beats national averages in nearly all 4G metrics

In the capital and surrounding region, we saw 4G availability for all three operators jump past 89%. In addition, both Orange and Proximus improved on their national 4G speed and latency scores in the Brussels region.

Belgium can lay claim to some very fast LTE networks

In OpenSignal's latest State of LTE report, Belgium ranked among the top 10 countries in 4G speed. It's easy to see why in our operator-by-operator breakdown. Even the slowest operator in our measurements had an average 4G download speed of 34 Mbps, and because of the Belgium's high level of 4G access, all three operators had extremely fast overall speeds.

Opensignal Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G


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Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by Opensignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Latency: 4G

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.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G 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.

Availability: 4G

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.

Regional Performance

This chart shows the regional winners in each category Opensignal measures. Click on the icons to see a more detailed graph showing each operator’s metrics in a particular region.

Legend: Proximus Orange BASE
Region Download Speed: 4G Latency: 4G Availability: 4G

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When it comes to speed there are few countries that can match Belgium in the raw power of its LTE networks. The Northern European nation is also blessed with widespread 4G availability, which means few mobile data users go lacking for a fast network connection. In its inaugural State of Mobile Networks report for Belgium, OpenSignal parsed more than 101 million measurements collected by 9,579 users in the 90-day period ending Jan. 31. We compared the 3G and 4G experience offered by Telenet's BASE, Orange Belgium and Proximus, but we didn't stop there. We broke down our 4G data to the regional level to see how those three operators stacked up in Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels capital region.

In 4G speed, there was a tight race between BASE and Orange, both averaging LTE downloads higher than 38 Mbps in our tests. But that's not to say third-place finisher Proximus was slow. With an average download of 34.2 Mbps, Proximus joins its two competitors among the global elite in LTE speed. All three competitors were offering 4G connections more than double the global average of 16.9 Mbps, and overall Belgium landed in the top 10 for 4G speed in our most recent State of LTE report, which compared LTE performance in 88 countries.

All three operators had impressive 3G speeds to boot. BASE, Orange and Proximus provided HSPA downloads between 7.4 Mbps and 8.1 Mbps in our measurements — well above the global 3G average speed of 4.1 Mbps. In our latency tests, Proximus and Orange stood apart, drawing in both our 3G and 4G categories. Latency measures a network's response time, and the two operators had measured 4G latencies just a hair of 30 milliseconds, both excellent results. Their 3G connection times were also impressive, clocking in at 55ms in our tests.

One can't only judge a network by the power and responsiveness of its connections, however. The prevalence of those connections is equally as important. Luckily Belgium excels in this category as well. In our 4G availability tests, all three Belgian operators scored above 83%, meaning our users were able to tap into their 4G signals in more than eight out of every 10 attempts. Orange and Proximus had a slight edge over BASE, tying for our 4G availability award with scores around 86%.

From a global perspective, Belgium ranked in the top 20 in 4G availability in the State of LTE report with an overall 4G availability score of 85.1%, and it was definitely a leader in Europe. In a recent 4G analysis of Europe, only seven other countries were able to provide 4G connections more consistently: Norway, the Netherlands, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

Belgium's high level of 4G access was a major contributor to each operator's overall speed score, which factors in 4G speeds, 3G speeds and the availability of each type of network. We recorded a three-way tie in overall speed, with BASE, Orange and Proximus all providing typical everyday mobile data speeds of 30 Mbps or better in our tests. Not only does each operator have impressively fast 4G networks, but the plethora of LTE access means consumers very rarely had to fall back on slower 3G connections.

In our regional analysis, we found some interesting differences in the three operators' 4G metrics. BASE's best speed results were in Flanders, where it averaged 4G downloads of 44.7 Mbps. In Brussels though, Proximus and Orange shared our 4G speed award, both with measured averages above 41 Mbps — more than 8 Mbps faster than BASE. But in our Brussels tests BASE managed to narrow the national 4G availability gap between itself and its competitors, tying with Orange and Proximus in the category. Overall, the Brussels capital region outperformed Flanders and Wallonia in our 4G metrics in nearly all of our speed, availability and latency measurements.

Brussels likely provides a good indication of what Belgium as a whole can expect in the future as the three operators spread their most advanced 4G networks from the big cities to the surrounding regions. A 40 Mbps connection and 90% 4G availability could soon become the norm for the entire country long before Europe sees its first 5G network. And if Belgium keeps up its steady 4G progress it will soon be vying for the top spots in Europe across our metrics.

Our Methodology

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 101,348,396 datapoints were collected from 9,579 users during the period: 2017-11-02 - 2018-01-31.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

Opensignal Limited retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by Opensignal Limited may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.

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