Mobile Network Experience Report Brazil January 2019

Brazil

Mobile Network Experience Report
January 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Brazil
Total Devices
395,814
Total Measurements
7,158,392,598
Data Collection Period
Sep 01 Nov 29, 2018

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Kevin Fitchard Lead Analyst

Summary

2018 was quite the active year for Brazil's mobile industry. In the last 12 months, OpenSignal recorded big improvements in 4G Availability — which at one point was among the lowest in South America — as well as steady increases in mobile broadband speed in the country. Many of those improvements are due to an infusion of 700 MHz airwaves into operators' 4G networks, greatly expanding access to LTE services and boosting overall 4G capacity.

Mobile Experience Awards January 2019, Brazil Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
January 2019, Brazil
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image

While our speed and availability metrics are good indicators of progress in the Brazilian mobile sector, the true measure of a country's networks is seen in the performance of mobile applications and services used by consumers. Using our first-of-its-kind Video Experience metric, we've tracked the mobile video quality offered over all four major operators' networks. Our analysis found the mobile video experience in Brazil still leaves much to be desired. Most of Brazil's operators only rated Fair on our Video Experience scale. But there are signs that improvements are coming. One operator, Claro, managed to rise above the pack in Video Experience through its network investment. And in many of Brazil's largest cities we found a much better Video Experience than on the national level.

In fact, the progress we're now tracking in Brazil could just be the beginning of a larger trend. The 700 MHz airwaves driving many of these improvements haven't yet been fully tapped. Though those former TV airwaves were auctioned off in 2014, Brazilian regulator Anatel has been clearing those frequencies of analog broadcast signals on a city-by-city basis for the last four years. As of July, Anatel estimated 68% of the 700 MHz band was clear. That leaves a lot more spectrum into which operators can grow their LTE networks. Based on our data, Brazil's mobile broadband future already looks bright, but it could be brighter still.

Key findings

4G's wings spread wider in Brazil

The reach of LTE signals continues to expand in Brazil as more of our users were able to find a 4G connection more often than in our last reporting period. 4G Availability scores for all four operators increased in our measurements over the last six months, though the biggest gainers were Vivo and Claro, which saw their scores grow by more than 5 percentage points each. In Brazil's biggest cities, 4G Availability was particularly impressive with many operator scores exceeding 80%.

Claro lands in a Video Experience class of its own

Claro led all Brazil major operators in our Video Experience metric. Not only did Claro have the highest score, its rating of 55.7 was enough to elevate it above its peers into a higher category. Claro landed a Good rating in overall Video Experience while Oi, TIM and Vivo had to settle for Fair ratings in our measurements, indicative of longer loading times and frequent stalling, especially at higher resolutions.

TIM sets itself apart in our 4G Availability rankings

Though we saw improvement across the board in our 4G Availability metrics, the king of LTE reach in Brazil remains TIM. Its 4G Availability score of 78.6% was at least 10 percentage points higher than any of its competitors in our measurements.

Claro's speed dominance continues

The América Móvil subsidiary won both our Download Speed Experience and Upload Speed Experience awards with scores of 18.8 Mbps and 6.3 Mbps respectively. Claro's most impressive speeds, however, were in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Salvador, where it averaged overall download connections over 30 Mbps in our measurements.

Claro and TIM battle for supremacy in Latency Experience

Claro won our Latency Experience award, but only by a hair. TIM was only a millisecond away from matching Claro's overall score of 68ms.

National Analysis

4G Availability

4G Availability in Brazil is growing by leaps and bounds as operators expand their LTE reach and invest in new spectrum. In particular, the adoption of new 4G frequencies in the 700 MHz band seems to be having a profound effect on 4G availability scores both at the national level and in the cities where these 700 MHz networks have recently gone live. As 700 MHz operates at a relatively low frequency, signals propagate further, extending coverage in rural areas and improving indoor penetration in urban areas. All four major operators have seen their 4G Availability scores improve since our last Brazil report, but the gains have been particularly noteworthy on Claro, TIM and Vivo, all of which have been aggressively deploying new 700 MHz networks.

4G Availability
in %
TIM
78.6
Claro
67.9
Vivo
68.0
Oi
59.7
0 20 40 60 80
Download Image

TIM remains the operator to beat in our 4G Availability analysis. Its score of 78.6% was clear of all of its competitors by at least 10 percentage points. TIM may well face competition in this category soon, though. We measured the biggest improvements in 4G Availability on Claro and Vivo's networks — both saw increases of more than 5 percentage points over the last six months. Both Claro and Vivo recently upgraded their 4G networks in Brazil's two largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with 700 MHz airwaves in the last eight months, which helps explain the big boost in their LTE availability scores.

Meanwhile, Oi was the only nationwide operator in Brazil to sit out the 2014 700 MHz auction, and that decision does appear to be having consequences. Its 4G Availability score did increase by 3 percentage points in six months to 59.7%, an indication of continued network investment, but Oi finds itself being left behind by its larger competitors as they continue to utilize their 700 MHz assets to maximum advantage.

Video Experience

OpenSignal's new Video Experience metric measures the quality of mobile video streamed to devices, taking into account factors like video loading time, stalling during playback and the level of resolution supported. We calculate Video Experience on a 0-100 point scale, and our recent State of Mobile Video report found that Brazil overall fell into the Fair range (40-55) of Video Experience scores, indicative of longer loading times and frequent stalling, especially at higher resolutions. In our analysis of Brazil's nationwide operators, we found three of them had individual scores that fell squarely within the Fair range of overall Video Experience as well. But one operator, Claro, managed to rise above its peers with a score of 55.7, landing it a Good Video Experience rating (55-65).

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
TIM
53.2
Claro
55.7
Vivo
50.5
Oi
44.9
0 15 30 45 60
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
61.5 (± 0.34) 68.8 (± 0.31) 65.1 (± 0.32) 58.5 (± 0.63)
3G Video Experience
34.2 (± 0.94) 35.8 (± 0.78) 33.2 (± 0.56) 30.7 (± 0.93)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
62 (± 0.34)
69 (± 0.31)
65 (± 0.32)
58 (± 0.63)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
34 (± 0.94)
36 (± 0.78)
33 (± 0.56)
31 (± 0.93)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Claro's award-winning Download Speed Experience likely contributed to its superior score in Video Experience, but speed is only one factor in determining mobile video quality. Claro's good Latency Experience scores helped boost its video load times, and its improved 4G Availability results mean its customers are getting more consistent access to 4G signals.

We can see that having access to an LTE signal has a big say in video quality when we break down our metrics by 3G and 4G connections. Looking at 4G Video Experience alone, we see all four operators had scores much higher than their overall averages. Oi and TIM both had Good ratings, while Claro and Vivo were propelled into the Very Good category (65-75), where video generally suffers from minimal loading times and few playback interruptions even at higher resolutions. When we look at 3G connections only, however, every operator earned the lowest possible rating, Poor (0-40). Clearly having a 4G connection makes a huge difference, and as Brazil's 4G Availability continues to improve, so too will its Video Experience rankings.

Download Speed Experience

The 700 MHz airwaves aren't just making their mark on 4G Availability. Any time an operator boosts access to 4G signals it creates a carry-over effect to speed as users spend less time connected to slower 3G networks. The biggest gainers in 4G Availability in this report definitely benefited from that effect. Claro and Vivo both saw their Download Speed Experience scores grow by nearly 2 Mbps in our results, despite the fact that their 4G Download Speeds remained virtually unchanged since our last report.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
TIM
10.3
Claro
18.8
Vivo
13.0
Oi
7.7
0 5 10 15 20
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
13.0 (± 0.10) 28.1 (± 0.21) 20.9 (± 0.14) 12.7 (± 0.16)
3G Download Speed
4.1 (± 0.06) 4.7 (± 0.05) 3.7 (± 0.04) 2.5 (± 0.03)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Download Speed in Mbps
13 (± 0.10)
28 (± 0.21)
21 (± 0.14)
13 (± 0.16)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
4 (± 0.06)
5 (± 0.05)
4 (± 0.04)
3 (± 0.03)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Claro was again our runaway leader in Download Speed Experience, averaging connections of 18.8 Mbps, largely due to its powerful LTE network. Our analysis shows Claro's average 4G Download Speed was 28.1 Mbps, nearly 8 Mbps faster than its nearest ribal Vivo. In general, we saw very little change in the four operators' 4G Download Speed scores over the last six months. Brazil, however, seems to have found a different way of improving the Download Speed Experience of its consumers. By increasing 4G's reach, individual operators are steadily improving the everyday speeds their customers have access to.

Upload Speed Experience

As was the case with download, Claro was the standout operator in our Upload Speed Experience category. Its average uplink connection of 6.3 Mbps was more than 2 Mbps faster than second-place Vivo in our rankings. Again, Claro's powerful LTE network was the determining factor. The América Móvil subsidiary is just shy of breaking the 10 Mbps mark in 4G Upload Speed, which is notably fast by global standards.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
TIM
3.5
Claro
6.3
Vivo
4.0
Oi
2.8
0 1.875 3.75 5.625 7.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
4.6 (± 0.04) 9.7 (± 0.09) 6.6 (± 0.05) 5.0 (± 0.08)
3G Upload Speed
0.9 (± 0.02) 1.1 (± 0.02) 0.9 (± 0.02) 0.5 (± 0.01)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
5 (± 0.04)
10 (± 0.09)
7 (± 0.05)
5 (± 0.08)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.02)
1 (± 0.02)
1 (± 0.02)
1 (± 0.01)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Latency Experience

An often overlooked metric, latency is a measure of a network's response time, and it affects the mobile data experience in many subtle ways. The lower latency is on a network, the better the experience on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice-over-IP to real-time multiplayer gaming. Claro completed its quartet of awards with a win in our Latency Experience metric, but it faced much closer competition than it did in our video and speed categories. TIM's overall latency score of 68.8 milliseconds was less than a millisecond short of matching Claro's score of 68ms.

Latency Experience
in ms
TIM
68.8
Claro
68.0
Vivo
78.9
Oi
79.0
0 20 40 60 80
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
60.7 (± 0.33) 61.2 (± 0.33) 65.3 (± 0.35) 60.9 (± 0.51)
3G Latency
87.4 (± 0.72) 78.4 (± 0.55) 95.1 (± 0.59) 98.0 (± 0.88)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Latency in ms
61 (± 0.33)
61 (± 0.33)
65 (± 0.35)
61 (± 0.51)
3G Latency in ms
87 (± 0.72)
78 (± 0.55)
95 (± 0.59)
98 (± 0.88)
Mobile Network Experience Report | January 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

While Brazil has made much progress in 4G speed and availability in the last year, its 4G response times are still relatively poor. Many operators around the globe are beginning to push their 4G Latency scores below the 30ms mark to meet increased usage of communications apps and mobile gaming as well as to provide a more fluid mobile internet experience. The 4G Latency scores for all four Brazilian operators, though, are more than double that benchmark.

Regional Analysis

For our regional look at Brazil, we examined our core metrics in 13 of Brazil's largest cities. We found that the operators who dominated our national awards were the same as those that dominated in our regional speed and availability rankings. TIM won our 4G Availability prize in the vast majority of cities, while Claro kept its Download and Upload Speed Experience crown in most metro areas (Vivo presented a considerable challenge is some cities though). In our Video Experience and Latency Experience categories, however, it was a much more even fight.

In Video Experience, Claro and TIM traded wins in half the markets we examined, while in the other half we recorded two-and three-way draws. In Latency Experience we saw the biggest surprise of the report. In our analysis, Oi asserted itself in overall latency in several cities, in many cases winning by very large margins.

When we drilled down into our speed and availability metrics, we spotted some interesting trends. In many cities we saw 4G Availability scores well over 80%, reflecting a heavy focus on urban infrastructure as well as the benefits of recent 700 MHz deployments. In Belo Horizonte and Manaus, TIM was within a percentage point of crossing the 90% threshold. Meanwhile, we recorded some exceptional Download Speed Experience numbers on Claro's networks in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Salvador. In each city, Claro averaged download speeds of more than 31 Mbps — 12 Mbps faster than its national average. Operators tend to focus their capacity upgrades and network enhancements in urban areas first and then expand them across the country. So the boosted speeds and availability we see in Brazil's big cities may well be an indication of what's in store for Brazil as a whole.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Belo Horizonte

4G Availability
in Belo Horizonte
in %
TIM
89.2
Claro
85.3
Vivo
84.9
Oi
65.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Belo Horizonte
in 0-100 points
TIM
56.8
Claro
69.2
Vivo
62.6
Oi
42.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Belo Horizonte
in Mbps
TIM
10.2
Claro
33.6
Vivo
19.9
Oi
5.6
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Belo Horizonte
in Mbps
TIM
4.4
Claro
12.6
Vivo
6.6
Oi
2.4
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Belo Horizonte
in ms
TIM
48.1
Claro
55.2
Vivo
56.7
Oi
59.5
Download Image

Brasília

4G Availability
in Brasília
in %
TIM
88.7
Claro
78.2
Vivo
76.9
Oi
59.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Brasília
in 0-100 points
TIM
62.8
Claro
59.6
Vivo
51.8
Oi
40.9
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Brasília
in Mbps
TIM
14.6
Claro
21.5
Vivo
19.2
Oi
5.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Brasília
in Mbps
TIM
5.9
Claro
8.7
Vivo
5.3
Oi
2.2
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Brasília
in ms
TIM
53.1
Claro
62.1
Vivo
77.2
Oi
53.6
Download Image

Curitiba

4G Availability
in Curitiba
in %
TIM
83.6
Claro
76.0
Vivo
71.8
Oi
55.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Curitiba
in 0-100 points
TIM
55.2
Claro
66.6
Vivo
57.7
Oi
48.8
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Curitiba
in Mbps
TIM
10.8
Claro
31.7
Vivo
18.1
Oi
8.7
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Curitiba
in Mbps
TIM
3.6
Claro
10.8
Vivo
6.1
Oi
2.9
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Curitiba
in ms
TIM
50.2
Claro
48.0
Vivo
46.2
Oi
71.6
Download Image

Fortaleza

4G Availability
in Fortaleza
in %
TIM
87.7
Claro
72.1
Vivo
81.5
Oi
82.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Fortaleza
in 0-100 points
TIM
53.4
Claro
63.0
Vivo
61.0
Oi
50.6
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Fortaleza
in Mbps
TIM
8.1
Claro
21.0
Vivo
19.9
Oi
9.6
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Fortaleza
in Mbps
TIM
3.0
Claro
6.8
Vivo
6.9
Oi
4.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Fortaleza
in ms
TIM
112.5
Claro
121.7
Vivo
101.4
Oi
68.6
Download Image

Goiânia

4G Availability
in Goiânia
in %
TIM
89.5
Claro
81.1
Vivo
83.5
Oi
75.3
Download Image
Video Experience
in Goiânia
in 0-100 points
TIM
55.9
Claro
56.9
Vivo
53.4
Oi
48.8
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Goiânia
in Mbps
TIM
9.3
Claro
18.7
Vivo
16.9
Oi
7.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Goiânia
in Mbps
TIM
4.1
Claro
8.6
Vivo
4.6
Oi
3.3
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Goiânia
in ms
TIM
63.6
Claro
63.9
Vivo
82.3
Oi
59.7
Download Image

Maceió

4G Availability
in Maceió
in %
TIM
85.3
Claro
77.2
Vivo
81.0
Oi
50.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Maceió
in 0-100 points
TIM
51.3
Claro
62.7
Vivo
63.6
Oi
47.7
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Maceió
in Mbps
TIM
7.8
Claro
24.4
Vivo
19.1
Oi
7.0
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Maceió
in Mbps
TIM
2.4
Claro
7.5
Vivo
6.4
Oi
1.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Maceió
in ms
TIM
107.8
Claro
110.2
Vivo
134.2
Oi
89.6
Download Image

Manaus

4G Availability
in Manaus
in %
TIM
89.7
Claro
73.8
Vivo
81.6
Oi
77.0
Download Image
Video Experience
in Manaus
in 0-100 points
TIM
52.8
Claro
53.7
Vivo
53.7
Oi
34.7
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Manaus
in Mbps
TIM
10.4
Claro
17.0
Vivo
11.6
Oi
4.3
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Manaus
in Mbps
TIM
3.2
Claro
5.1
Vivo
4.7
Oi
2.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Manaus
in ms
TIM
110.7
Claro
100.8
Vivo
165.6
Oi
151.6
Download Image

Porto Alegre

4G Availability
in Porto Alegre
in %
TIM
88.6
Claro
78.6
Vivo
74.9
Oi
68.9
Download Image
Video Experience
in Porto Alegre
in 0-100 points
TIM
62.5
Claro
65.4
Vivo
59.0
Oi
49.7
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Porto Alegre
in Mbps
TIM
13.1
Claro
26.5
Vivo
19.1
Oi
7.6
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Porto Alegre
in Mbps
TIM
4.5
Claro
8.7
Vivo
6.6
Oi
3.0
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Porto Alegre
in ms
TIM
61.0
Claro
59.5
Vivo
68.3
Oi
71.2
Download Image

Recife

4G Availability
in Recife
in %
TIM
87.6
Claro
78.0
Vivo
84.8
Oi
78.2
Download Image
Video Experience
in Recife
in 0-100 points
TIM
55.8
Claro
62.2
Vivo
60.7
Oi
49.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Recife
in Mbps
TIM
8.0
Claro
23.8
Vivo
19.1
Oi
9.2
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Recife
in Mbps
TIM
3.0
Claro
7.7
Vivo
7.5
Oi
3.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Recife
in ms
TIM
96.4
Claro
109.6
Vivo
114.0
Oi
75.2
Download Image

Rio de Janeiro

4G Availability
in Rio de Janeiro
in %
Nextel
71.5
TIM
87.8
Claro
75.1
Vivo
77.1
Oi
45.6
Download Image
Video Experience
in Rio de Janeiro
in 0-100 points
Nextel
44.1
TIM
62.5
Claro
60.3
Vivo
59.6
Oi
51.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Rio de Janeiro
in Mbps
Nextel
7.0
TIM
15.2
Claro
22.6
Vivo
18.8
Oi
10.2
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Rio de Janeiro
in Mbps
Nextel
3.8
TIM
5.5
Claro
7.4
Vivo
6.6
Oi
3.3
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Rio de Janeiro
in ms
Nextel
40.4
TIM
44.2
Claro
37.8
Vivo
45.8
Oi
49.1
Download Image

Salvador

4G Availability
in Salvador
in %
TIM
86.2
Claro
79.3
Vivo
83.1
Oi
78.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in Salvador
in 0-100 points
TIM
53.6
Claro
63.5
Vivo
59.3
Oi
49.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Salvador
in Mbps
TIM
8.5
Claro
31.3
Vivo
16.1
Oi
8.9
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Salvador
in Mbps
TIM
3.5
Claro
9.6
Vivo
5.4
Oi
3.1
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Salvador
in ms
TIM
67.4
Claro
108.5
Vivo
106.8
Oi
109.6
Download Image

São Luís

4G Availability
in São Luís
in %
TIM
83.0
Claro
67.0
Vivo
74.4
Oi
77.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in São Luís
in 0-100 points
TIM
52.7
Claro
51.6
Vivo
53.3
Oi
45.3
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in São Luís
in Mbps
TIM
7.7
Claro
12.4
Vivo
12.5
Oi
8.5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in São Luís
in Mbps
TIM
2.3
Claro
3.8
Vivo
3.6
Oi
3.6
Download Image
Latency Experience
in São Luís
in ms
TIM
122.6
Claro
119.6
Vivo
131.2
Oi
88.4
Download Image

São Paulo

4G Availability
in São Paulo
in %
Nextel
65.7
TIM
87.5
Claro
80.9
Vivo
83.9
Oi
66.8
Download Image
Video Experience
in São Paulo
in 0-100 points
Nextel
45.7
TIM
59.5
Claro
62.7
Vivo
60.1
Oi
50.8
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in São Paulo
in Mbps
Nextel
9.4
TIM
13.7
Claro
22.7
Vivo
17.8
Oi
7.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in São Paulo
in Mbps
Nextel
5.1
TIM
5.1
Claro
8.6
Vivo
6.1
Oi
3.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in São Paulo
in ms
Nextel
39.0
TIM
38.9
Claro
40.6
Vivo
42.2
Oi
49.7
Download Image
Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

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For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

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