In partnership with Sutel, OpenSignal has examined more than 117 million measurements in Costa Rica to compare the 3G and 4G results of the country's three major operators. We found that Kölbi continues to set itself apart from its peers in 4G speed, while Movistar leads the country in 4G availability. (For a Spanish translation of this report click here.)
Kölbi's skyrocketing download speeds show no sign of abating. In the last six months, the operator's average 4G download connection rose by 28% to 20.5 Mbps in our measurements. Kölbi's 4G download speeds are now well ahead of the global average, and nearly twice as fast as its closest Costa Rican rival in our results.
Movistar led our 4G availability category with a score of 70.4%, meaning our users were able to find an LTE signal on its networks in seven out of every 10 attempts. Movistar is the only operator in Costa Rica to have crossed the 70% threshold in 4G availability.
The growth in Kölbi's 4G download speeds is separating the operator from the pack in our overall download speed metric. Average download speeds across its 3G and 4G networks rose more than 3 Mbps to 12.5 Mbps in our measurements. Kölbi won our 4G upload award as well.
Claro continues to languish below the 50% mark in our 4G availability metric, meaning our users could find a 4G signal on its networks less than half the time. Though our testers on Claro's networks spent most of their time connected to 3G, the operator had the lowest 3G download score in our measurements at 2.3 Mbps.
|Download Speed: 4G||Download Speed: 3G||Download Speed: Overall||Upload Speed: 4G||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 upload 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 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.
For this report, OpenSignal has partnered with Costa Rican regulator Sutel to analyze more than 117 million measurements collected from 10,783 devices between Aug. 1 and Oct. 29, 2018. We compared the 3G and 4G results from Costa Rica's three principle mobile network operators América Móvil's Claro, Grupo ICE's Kölbi and Telefónica's Movistar to see how each fared.
For the second report in a row, Kölbi's 4G download speed increased sizably in our measurements. Our analysis shows Kölbi's average LTE connection of 20.6 Mbps was nearly 10 Mbps faster than either of its competitors' averages. Early this year, Kölbi began implementing LTE-Advanced upgrades and those efforts are definitely paying off. In the space of 12 months Kölbi's 4G download speeds have more than doubled in our measurements.
4G download wasn't the only area Kölbi excelled in. It won three of our four speed awards, and even managed to draw with Movistar in our 3G download category. In 4G upload speed, we saw a much closer contest than in download speed, with Kölbi leading Claro by little more than a megabit in our results. In our overall download speed category, however, Kölbi was again the clear-cut winner. Its download average of 12.5 Mbps was twice as fast as its nearest rival Movistar's average in our analysis.
In 4G availability, we didn't see much movement in our metrics, leaving Movistar the uncontested winner of the category. The Telefónica subsidiary provided an LTE signal to our users 70.4% of the time, and is still the only operator to have exceeded the 70% 4G availability mark in our measurements. Kölbi came in second with a 4G availability score of 63.2%, and it has shown incremental improvements over the past year, but Claro was a distant last in our results with a score of 46.3%. Operators with 4G availability results below 50% are typically in the early stages of their LTE rollouts, but Claro's 4G networks are hardly young. It first launched 4G services in 2014, and after more than four years we would expect its LTE reach to be higher.
In our final category of metrics, latency, Movistar and Kölbi split our two awards. Kölbi won our 4G latency category with an average network response time of 43.5 milliseconds, while Movistar won our 3G latency category with a response time of 72.6ms.
For the time being at least, Kölbi and Movistar look secure in their leads in our respective 4G download speed and 4G availability metrics. But there are signs of LTE improvements on the horizon, especially in speed. Claro completed LTE-Advanced upgrades in 20 cities in June, while Movistar announced similar 4G network enhancements in September. As those improvements spread across the country in 2019, we could very well see Movistar and Claro start closing the now considerable gaps between themselves and Kölbi in 4G speed.
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