4G services in Japan are pervasive
Japan's mobile consumers aren't lacking for LTE connections. All of Japan's national operators had 4G Availability scores greater than 90%, and two, NTT DoCoMo and au, had scores above the 95% mark. au emerged as the winner in 4G Availability, but for all operators, the instances our users were unable to find a 4G signal were rare indeed. As 4G Availability is so high in Japan, the role of 3G is severely minimized, and we see only the most incremental differences between our 4G scores and overall experience scores in each metric category.
DoComo and SoftBank are closing in on 10 Mbps upload speeds
SoftBank won our Upload Speed Experience award with an average connection of 9.7 Mbps, but NTT DoCoMo was close behind with an average of 9.5 Mbps. Both operators are on the verge of crossing the 10 Mbps milestone in Upload Speed Experience, an increasingly important metric as consumer usage patterns change. Social media and more powerful smartphones are producing a shift from content consumption to content creation, which will only benefit from more symmetrical mobile data connections.
SoftBank leads in Video Experience
All three of Japan's major operators garnered Very Good scores in our Video Experience measurements, but SoftBank stood out from the pack. Its overall Video Experience score of 71.1 was more than four points ahead of both of its competitors' scores, indicating our users experienced shorter video load times and less frequent interruptions on SoftBank connections.
au wins our Download Speed Experience award easily
30+ Mbps connections are the norm in Japan when it comes to average download speeds, but au managed to push those speed boundaries even further. au had a Download Speed Experience score of 37.8 Mbps, more than 5 Mbps faster than its two competitors' scores.
SoftBank is well clear of its rivals in Latency Experience
SoftBank completed its trifecta of wins with our Latency Experience award. Its overall network response time of 40.8 ms was more than nearly 7 milliseconds better than either of its rivals' Latency Experience scores in our analysis.