THE STATE OF MOBILE NETWORK EXPERIENCE 2020: ONE YEAR INTO THE 5G ERA


May 2020

Total Devices
43,338,654
Total Measurements
87,524,176,592
Data Collection Period
Jan 1 – Mar 30, 2019 & 2020

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
Sam Fenwick
Senior Analyst
Hardik Khatri
Analyst

Key Findings

Canada and South Korea are now joint top in Download Speed Experience

A year ago South Korean users were the only ones that experienced average download speeds above 50 Mbps. While Korea’s operators launched 5G in April 2019, and Canada has only just launched 5G, in early 2020 our Canadian users saw download speeds statistically tied with those of South Korea. Both countries clocked at a blisteringly fast 59 Mbps.

There are improvements in mobile experience across many countries

While Canada and South Korea’s performance is exceptional, they’re not alone. The average across the 100 countries we’ve analyzed rose by 3 Mbps between early 2019 and 2020 — an increase of 24.3%.

Canada and Japan have accelerated further ahead of their G7 peers

When we looked at Download Speed Experience for G7 countries, the difference between Canada and Japan and the rest has widened by 10.2-15.9 Mbps. The Download Speed Experience of the other G7 countries — France, Germany, Italy, U.K., U.S. — was more than 50% slower than Canada’s and more than 40% slower than Japan’s.

Faster download speeds aren’t always associated with a better Video Experience

While there is a relationship between download speeds and the quality of the Video Experience, the strength of this correlation declines as speeds increase. For example, the Czech Republic, where our users saw average download speeds of 32.7 Mbps tied for first place for Video Experience with the Netherlands, where average speeds were 54.8 Mbps.

The number of countries with Excellent Video Experience has jumped to 15 from none in one year

The Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria and Norway statistically tied for first place in Video Experience, in contrast to the first quarter of 2019, when it was just Norway and Hungary. There are now 15 countries where our users have observed an Excellent Video Experience. Japan, Singapore and Australia were the only non-European countries in this category.

Countries with 4G Availability in excess of 95% have doubled from three to six

4G continues to be important in the 5G era for several reasons. The first version of 5G (i.e. non- standalone access) means that 5G phones need to connect to a 4G signal to use 5G. Plus, many countries have yet to launch 5G. Three more countries have joined the exclusive club of nations with 4G Availability scores higher than 95%: the U.S., the Netherlands and Taiwan. Together with Japan, South Korea and Norway, this takes the total number of such countries to six. Users in 21 countries have reported 4G Availability in the 90-95% range up from 12 last year. Our users observed double-digit improvements in 4G Availability in 11 countries with a combined population of around 680 million.

5G adoption needs to accelerate to move the overall download experience

The Download Speed Experience in 20 countries that have launched 5G ranges from 59 Mbps in South Korea to 16.6 Mbps in Kuwait. 5G countries’ Download Speed Experience rose by 24.9%, while that in countries that in the first quarter of 2020 had yet to launch 5G, or have only just done so, rose only slightly less, with an increase of 23.9%. While 5G users can experience much higher speeds they still make up a small proportion of users. However, 5G countries performed better in absolute terms, with their users observing an increase of 6.4 Mbps versus the 1.9 Mbps increase seen on average in non-5G countries.

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