Mobile Network Experience Report Costa Rica October 2019

Costa Rica

Mobile Network Experience Report
October 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Costa Rica
Total Devices
33,843
Total Measurements
82,779,097
Data Collection Period
Aug 01 Oct 29, 2019

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
David Nedescu Technical Analyst

Key findings

Movistar breaks the tie to win 4G Availability as Claro gains ground

Movistar increased its score by 3.8 percentage points to break its tie with Kölbi and emerge as the sole winner of this report’s 4G Availability award. Kölbi meanwhile only improved its score by 1.2 points, with its users able to find an LTE connection 70% of the time. However, it was Claro that stood out, having increased its users’ 4G Availability by 11.3 points this time, on top of the 8-point increase that we saw in our last report. If this trend continues for Claro, the underdog might even find itself competing for first place in our next report.

Claro makes its debut in shared Voice App Experience award

Making its first appearance on the awards tables in 2019, America Movil’s Claro managed to challenge Kölbi in our newest metric, resulting in a draw for our Voice App Experience award. While both are teetering on the edge of an Acceptable ranking, Movistar ranked third with a Poor score. Overall, the Voice App Experience in Costa Rica is comparable to that in Argentina, and slightly behind that of Uruguay.

Kölbi — speed king, video vanguard

Leading the way in video is the untouchable mobile network speed king of Costa Rica. Kölbi not only establishes itself as the de facto ruler of our speed metrics, but is blazing the way towards being the first Costa Rican operator to offer its users a Very Good Video Experience. Despite having just barely crossed into the Good ranking in our last report, state-owned Kölbi is already just 3 points away from entering the Very Good range, which we expect is likely to happen in our next report.

Movistar forces another draw with Kölbi, this time for Latency

Movistar switches gears in its race against Kölbi, improving its users’ Latency Experience by just under 10 milliseconds since our last report. While Kölbi’s own improvement of 6.6ms is no mean feat, it gave Movistar the chance to catch up and the two now stand in statistical dead heat at around 49ms. Claro was also able to pull off a 10ms improvement in our users’ experience, although, now at 68.5ms, it has much more ground to cover before it can threaten its competitors.

Introduction

In our previous reports on Costa Rica, Opensignal observed a trend going back to June 2017 – Kölbi gradually taking over more of the awards from Movistar. However, that trend may be over, or perhaps the Costa Rican state-owned operator just experienced a minor setback.

Opensignal analyzed the mobile network experience offered by Costa Rica’s three national operators: Claro, Kölbi, and Movistar over a period of 90 days from the beginning of August 2019.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Costa Rica
October 2019, Costa Rica Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
October 2019, Costa Rica
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2019, Costa Rica
Voice App Experience
Latency Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
4G Availability
% of time
Kölbi
69.9
Claro
65.4
Movistar
73.8
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

4G Availability

4G Availability becomes Movistar’s weapon in improving its overall user experience, emerging as the winning operator in this metric since our last report’s draw. Since our other metrics are affected by whether the user is connected to 4G, a higher 4G Availability can help improve overall scores. This is because overall scores take both 3G and 4G measurements into account, and the latter tend to be higher. Growing almost 4 percentage points since our last report, Movistar is now just 1.2 points away from the 75% milestone and the only operator where our users were able to connect to 4G more than 70% of the time.

However, the biggest change we see in our 4G Availability is from Claro, whose score jumped by 11.3 points, effectively boosting the time users can connect to 4G from just over half the time to close to two thirds of the time. This should help Claro relieve some of the congestion on its 3G network and make it easier to improve its scores in other metrics through a larger share of its measurements coming from 4G.

4G Availability
% of time
Kölbi
69.9
Claro
65.4
Movistar
73.8
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

Kölbi meanwhile only improved its score by 1.2 points, with our users spending 70% of time on 4G. If this trend continues for the three operators, we can expect Claro to reach second place in 4G Availability. Better yet, the underdog might even find itself competing for first place in our next report.

Video Experience

No surprises in Video Experience, as operators slightly increased their scores at an even pace, pushing their past scores by about 6-7 points (out of 100). We saw larger increases — of up to 9 points — in the 3G Video Experience of our Costa Rican users, but lesser improvements in their 4G scores, which increased by just 2-4 points. As a result, the only category change that took place since the last report was that Kölbi’s 3G Video Experience is now above 40 points, meaning users on Kölbi are the first Costa Rican users to see a Fair quality Video Experience using 3G.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
61.9
Claro
49.1
Movistar
50.7
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
74.2 (± 0.72) 63.2 (± 1.59) 62.6 (± 1.12)
3G Video Experience
41.1 (± 1.63) 35.2 (± 1.87) 31.6 (± 2.22)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
74 (± 0.72)
63 (± 1.59)
63 (± 1.12)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
41 (± 1.63)
35 (± 1.87)
32 (± 2.22)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Claro was the biggest overall gainer, having increased its score by 7.7 points since the last report, while only improving 4G Video Experience by 2.2 points. At least part of this increase can be attributed to Claro’s leap in 4G Availability, which meant our users spent more time watching videos on 4G rather than 3G, hence achieving a better overall score. At the same time, the jump in 4G Availability means there was less time spent watching videos on 3G than before, likely easing some of the congestion on Claro’s 3G network and partly explaining the growth in its 3G Video Experience score.

Voice App Experience

Our first look at Costa Rican Voice App Experience sees Claro and Kölbi in a stalemate on the edge of the Acceptable ranking, with just 0.2 points separating Kölbi’s users from the 74 point mark. Movistar is 5 points behind Claro and falls in the Poor ranking. While these scores appear close, Claro’s 3G Voice App Experience is in fact better than Movistar’s overall, showing that there is a significant gap for Movistar to bridge before users on its network can access similar quality VoIP calls.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
73.8
Claro
74.4
Movistar
69.4
Impossible to communicate Unintelligible Very Poor Poor Acceptable Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Voice App Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Voice App Experience
77.2 (± 0.50) 77.9 (± 0.65) 73.6 (± 0.75)
3G Voice App Experience
68.1 (± 0.95) 70.8 (± 1.03) 62.9 (± 1.67)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
77 (± 0.50)
78 (± 0.65)
74 (± 0.75)
3G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
68 (± 0.95)
71 (± 1.03)
63 (± 1.67)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Opensignal's Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger — as experienced on 3G connections, 4G connections and overall, across operators.

Download Speed Experience

Kölbi is uncontested when it comes to Download Speed Experience, as the state-owned operator basks in an overall speed of 17.7 Mbps experienced by our users. Its competitors can be found with user speeds that are approximately 10 Mbps slower, with Movistar and Claro fighting it out for second place at 7.3 and 7.8 Mbps respectively. Kölbi solidified its lead by increasing users’ 4G Download Speed from 23.5 Mbps to 26.0 since our last report, while Claro increased users’ speed by just under 1 Mbps, and Movistar by only 0.2 Mbps.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Kölbi
17.7
Claro
7.8
Movistar
7.3
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
26.0 (± 0.51) 12.9 (± 0.60) 10.0 (± 0.24)
3G Download Speed
3.6 (± 0.09) 2.8 (± 0.08) 3.1 (± 0.11)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
26 (± 0.51)
13 (± 0.60)
10 (± 0.24)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
4 (± 0.09)
3 (± 0.08)
3 (± 0.11)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed in Costa Rica has come a long way. Just two years ago, Opensignal reported dismal 4G speeds of under 7 Mbps, which ranked it among the slowest countries we looked at. Today, our users on all three operators enjoyed over 7 Mbps in overall speed, and over 10 Mbps in 4G Download Speed.

Upload Speed Experience

At 6.2 Mbps, Kölbi remains the reigning champion in this metric, even as Claro improved their users’ Upload Speed Experience by 1.4 Mbps to now reach 4.6 Mbps. This leaves Movistar in third place with an overall speed of 4.0 Mbps. Upload speed is arguably a more relevant indicator of a user’s mobile network experience each year, as it gradually became more important for users to be able to upload their content online without needing to wait a long time.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Kölbi
6.2
Claro
4.6
Movistar
4.0
0 1.875 3.75 5.625 7.5
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
9.2 (± 0.24) 8.1 (± 0.37) 6.1 (± 0.18)
3G Upload Speed
1.1 (± 0.04) 1.2 (± 0.05) 0.5 (± 0.02)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
9 (± 0.24)
8 (± 0.37)
6 (± 0.18)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.04)
1 (± 0.05)
1 (± 0.02)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

While our Kölbi and Claro users saw overall speed grow by about 1 Mbps through both faster 3G and 4G Upload Speed, Movistar’s users’ 3G and 4G Upload Speeds are essentially unchanged. Instead, Movistar’s growth in overall upload speed of 0.4 Mbps can be attributed to the increased time our users on its network spent connected to 4G.

Latency Experience

In Latency Experience, Movistar caught up with Kölbi and forced a draw, snatching its second award in this report. Although our last report saw Kölbi win Latency Experience by 2.9ms, and despite Kölbi’s ongoing efforts to improve its latency, the incumbent operator has not managed to stop Movistar from catching up. Movistar’s users’ 3G Latency was 5.4ms faster, while its 4G Latency also drastically improved since May, by almost 9ms. Claro was nowhere near in this report, despite improving its overall score by 10.3 points. At 68.5ms, it is exactly 20ms slower than Movistar, and is slow even when compared to the 3G Latency of its competitors.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
Kölbi
49.1
Claro
68.5
Movistar
48.5
0 17.5 35 52.5 70
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
39.1 (± 0.32) 59.6 (± 0.56) 40.9 (± 0.69)
3G Latency
66.0 (± 1.12) 77.2 (± 1.09) 60.6 (± 1.52)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
39 (± 0.32)
60 (± 0.56)
41 (± 0.69)
3G Latency in ms
66 (± 1.12)
77 (± 1.09)
61 (± 1.52)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Latency Experience in Costa Rica is fairly robust. The tied winners in fact scored higher than their Mexican neighbors to the north, where the fastest Latency Experience was 59ms on Telcel. Perhaps even more impressive is that Movistar and Kölbi’s Latency score beats that of U.S. operators, where T-Mobile and AT&T last drew with 52.5ms.

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.

More about Methodology

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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.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

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