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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
|Download Speed: 4G||Download Speed: 3G||Download Speed: Overall||Latency: 4G||Latency: 3G||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 download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by Opensignal users.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
|Region||Download Speed: 4G||Latency: 4G||Availability: 4G|
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.
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