Mobile Network Experience Report Costa Rica June 2020

Costa Rica

Mobile Network Experience Report
June 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
Hardik Khatri Technical Analyst

Key findings

Kölbi has a tight grip on Video Experience

Once again Kölbi won our Video Experience award, and fairly comfortably with a score of 65 (out of 100) — more than 10 points ahead of its peers. Kölbi also became the first operator in Costa Rica to achieve a Very Good Video Experience rating. Meanwhile, Claro and Movistar were less than a point shy from upgrading their rating from Fair to Good. A Very Good Experience is characterized by faster loading time with only occasional stalling, and as we descend down the ratings, loading times get longer and our users encounter more stops and stutters while streaming videos.

Movistar continues to lead as 4G Availability improves in Costa Rica

Movistar has once again claimed Opensignal's 4G Availability award — our 4G users on its network were able to find a 4G connection 79.2% of the time. Altogether, the level of 4G access in Costa Rica continues to grow, as our users saw improvement in 4G Availability across the board. While Movistar and Kölbi’s scores have increased by 5.4 and 3.8 percentage points, respectively, since the last report, the greatest improvement of 11 percentage points was observed by our users on Claro’s network. And with these improvements, all three operators are now well above the 70% mark.

Games Experience in Costa Rica ranges from Very Poor to Poor

Playing multiplayer mobile games over wireless networks is challenging for our users in Costa Rica. Claro became the first operator in the country to win our Games Experience award with a score of 50.7 (on a scale of 0-100) to end up in the Poor category. Kölbi also joined Claro in this category. With a score below 40, Movistar ended up in the Very Poor category. Users on all three operators would benefit from network upgrades to improve the gaming experience.

Kölbi is the operator to beat on Download Speed Experience

Kölbi users continue to observe significantly faster download speeds than their counterparts on other networks, clocking 18.8 Mbps for Download Speed Experience — a huge 8.9 Mbps gap between Kölbi and its next fastest rival, Claro. However, while Kölbi also took home the award for Upload Speed Experience with a score of 6.6 Mbps, its lead was far more modest, since Claro came close to challenge our winner with a score of 6.1 Mbps.

Claro takes hold of Voice App Experience

In our last report, Claro was tied with Kölbi on Voice App Experience, but since then it has broken the deadlock and improved its score by 3.4 points to win the award outright. Our users on both networks perceived an Acceptable Voice App Experience (74-80) while using over-the-top (OTT) voice services on apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, etc. Meanwhile, Movistar landed in our Poor rating bracket with a score of 72.7.

Introduction

In our latest look at Costa Rica, Kölbi remains the dominant operator across the majority of our mobile experience measurements, but we can see this starting to change as its peers are now slowly closing the gap. Kölbi won four out of eight award categories — Video Experience, 4G Coverage Experience, Download and Upload Speed Experience. Claro won the Games Experience award, and broke the dead-heat between it and Kölbi that we saw in our previous report to win the Voice App Experience award outright. Meanwhile, Movistar won the 4G Availability award for the second report in a row.

In this report we examined the mobile network experience of the three main mobile network operators in Costa Rica: Kölbi, Claro and Movistar, over a period of 90 days beginning February 1, 2020, to see how they fared on real-world measurements. We further delved deeper into five regions — Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Puntarenas and San José — comparing the experience users received on these three operators.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, Costa Rica
June 2020, Costa Rica Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
June 2020, Costa Rica
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
65.0
Claro
54.3
Movistar
54.9
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

Video Experience

Kölbi remains the leader in Costa Rica when it comes to Video Experience. The operator won our Video Experience award with a score of 65 points (on a scale of 0-100) — an improvement of 3.1 points since the last report, which tipped Kölbi over the Very Good rating threshold. This means that our users on Kölbi’s network generally enjoyed faster loading times with only occasional stalling while streaming video on their smartphones.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
65.0
Claro
54.3
Movistar
54.9
Poor Fair Good Very Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
75.4 (± 0.61) 62.9 (± 1.26) 64.2 (± 0.99)
3G Video Experience
43.6 (± 1.64) 39.4 (± 2.03) 34.7 (± 2.26)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
75 (± 0.61)
63 (± 1.26)
64 (± 0.99)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
44 (± 1.64)
39 (± 2.03)
35 (± 2.26)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Claro and Movistar have also progressed since our last report, with their scores rising by 5.2 and 4.2 points, respectively. However, they missed upgrading their rating from Fair to Good by less than a point with scores of 54.3 and 54.9, respectively. That said, when we look at our users’ experience in 4G networks only, both the operators garnered a Good rating, while Kölbi remarkably achieved our highest rating of Excellent. An Excellent Video Experience is a big achievement indeed, meaning fast load times and practically non-existent stalling at all resolutions.

Games Experience

In this report, we took our first look at the Games Experience in Costa Rica at the operator level and we learned that playing multiplayer games in Costa Rica is challenging. Claro won our Games Experience award with a score of 50.7 on a scale of 0-100, followed by Kölbi whose score was 9.6 points behind Claro’s. While both operators’ scores placed them in the Poor category, meaning there is plenty of room for improvement, Movistar ended up in the Very Poor category with a score of 38.6.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
41.1
Claro
50.7
Movistar
38.6
Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Games Experience
52.3 (± 0.83) 58.2 (± 1.17) 43.5 (± 1.37)
3G Games Experience
36.7 (± 0.31) 39.6 (± 0.36) 34.5 (± 0.52)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Games Experience in 0-100 points
52 (± 0.83)
58 (± 1.17)
44 (± 1.37)
3G Games Experience in 0-100 points
37 (± 0.31)
40 (± 0.36)
34 (± 0.52)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience is a measure of the experience of real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. It represents the experience of popular genres of mobile games such as battle royale games like Fortnite or MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) titles like Arena of Valor. A number of factors combine to determine the eventual score including jitter, packet loss and latency. A high score improves the feel of gameplay and means that a game’s artificial intelligence is less likely to smooth over issues with network communications that could otherwise interrupt play.

Voice App Experience

Claro and Kölbi were battling it out for Opensignal's Voice App Experience award in our last report, but in this data collection period an outright leader has emerged. Claro won our Voice App Experience award with a score of 77.8 in our 100-point scale, putting it 2.8 points ahead of Kölbi. While both the operators achieved an Acceptable rating, Movistar remained in the Poor category with a score of 72.7.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
75.0
Claro
77.8
Movistar
72.7
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.
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Voice App Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Voice App Experience
78.1 (± 0.31) 79.6 (± 0.49) 76.2 (± 0.54)
3G Voice App Experience
68.6 (± 0.69) 74.7 (± 0.90) 65.3 (± 1.11)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
78 (± 0.31)
80 (± 0.49)
76 (± 0.54)
3G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
69 (± 0.69)
75 (± 0.90)
65 (± 1.11)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

An Acceptable rating means users were satisfied with the quality of the call and were generally able to comprehend without repetition, while some may have suffered from perceptible call quality impairments such as clicking sounds or distortion. Likewise, a Poor rating means that many of our users' calls were marred by frequent distortion, clicking sounds or silence.

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, etc. The measure uses a model derived from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for quantifying overall voice call quality and a series of calibrated technical parameters. This model characterizes the exact relationship between the technical measurements and perceived call quality.

Download Speed Experience

Kölbi remains the unchallenged winner of our Download Speed Experience award. Our users in Costa Rica, on average, enjoyed the fastest download speeds of 18.8 Mbps on Kölbi’s network — almost 90% faster than speeds experienced by their Claro counterparts (9.9 Mbps) and more than twice as fast as their Movistar counterparts (8.3 Mbps).

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Kölbi
18.8
Claro
9.9
Movistar
8.3
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
26.3 (± 0.42) 13.7 (± 0.55) 10.6 (± 0.24)
3G Download Speed
3.5 (± 0.09) 3.3 (± 0.12) 3.2 (± 0.12)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
26 (± 0.42)
14 (± 0.55)
11 (± 0.24)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
3 (± 0.09)
3 (± 0.12)
3 (± 0.12)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

When we look at download speeds by technology, on 4G Download Speed Experience Kölbi has burst through the 25 Mbps milestone with a score of 26.3 Mbps, while its peers are way below the 15 Mbps mark. On 3G Download Speed Experience, all three operators were toe-to-toe with scores that are no more than 0.3 Mbps apart.

Upload Speed Experience

Kölbi held on to our Upload Speed Experience award with our users on its network experiencing average speeds of 6.6 Mbps. While Claro came close to challenge the leader with a score of 6.1 Mbps, Movistar was further behind with 4.8 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Kölbi
6.6
Claro
6.1
Movistar
4.8
0 1.875 3.75 5.625 7.5
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
9.2 (± 0.20) 8.8 (± 0.33) 6.7 (± 0.17)
3G Upload Speed
1.2 (± 0.05) 1.4 (± 0.06) 0.6 (± 0.03)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
9 (± 0.20)
9 (± 0.33)
7 (± 0.17)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
1 (± 0.05)
1 (± 0.06)
1 (± 0.03)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

The national results were also reflected in our 4G Upload Speed sub-metric — unlike in the 3G Upload Speed category, where Claro was marginally ahead of Kölbi, while Movistar remained last-paced.

Upload speeds are becoming increasingly important in mobile services, as social media, social sharing and video chat apps become more widely used. Mobile users are moving away from content consumption to content creation, which gives operators with the fastest upload speeds a distinct advantage.

Latency Experience

Kölbi also won on Latency Experience. Our users on Kölbi’s network clocked overall network response time of 49 milliseconds — at least 2.5 ms faster than their Movistar counterparts. Claro users experienced much higher latency of 73.8 ms.

Latency Experience
in ms The lower the figure the better the latency
Kölbi
49.0
Claro
73.8
Movistar
51.5
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
40.7 (± 0.31) 68.4 (± 0.59) 44.3 (± 0.82)
3G Latency
66.3 (± 1.35) 83.3 (± 1.39) 67.1 (± 1.84)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Latency in ms
41 (± 0.31)
68 (± 0.59)
44 (± 0.82)
3G Latency in ms
66 (± 1.35)
83 (± 1.39)
67 (± 1.84)
Mobile Network Experience Report | June 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

4G Availability

4G access in Costa Rica is growing incrementally. Once again Movistar won our award, with an improvement of 5.4 percentage points since the last report, bringing its score (79.2) close to the 80% mark. However, the largest improvement of 11 percentage points was seen by our users on Claro’s network. The operator has now pushed past the 75% milestone with a score of 76.4%, making notable strides to whittle away Movistar’s sizable lead. Our users on Kölbi also saw an improvement of 3.8 percentage points, to bring up the rear with 73.7%.

4G Availability
% of time
Kölbi
73.7
Claro
76.4
Movistar
79.2
0 20 40 60 80
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Our 4G Availability metric shows the proportion of time 4G users spent connected to their 4G network. With all three operators’ scoring above 70%, our users in Costa Rica, on average, now connect to 4G services more than 70% of the time regardless of their choice of network.

4G Coverage Experience

Kölbi also won our inaugural 4G Coverage Experience award in Costa Rica, with a score of 7.2 points (on a scale of 0-10). Movistar finished second with 6.6 points, while Claro was further behind with 5.3 points.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Kölbi
7.2
Claro
5.3
Movistar
6.6
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Opensignal’s 4G Coverage Experience metric is a measure of how our mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-10, it analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by Opensignal users across all network operators.

Regional Analysis

In our regional outlook we analyzed users’ mobile network experience in five regions — Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Puntarenas and San José — across Costa Rica. Our national results were echoed at the regional level: level: out of 35 awards up for the taking, Kölbi won 15and tied in an additional seven, Claro won eight awards and collected six draws, while Movistar won three awards and tied for a further six awards.

Kölbi's strong dominance in our speed and Video Experience metrics at a national level was reflected in the regions. The operator won our Download Speed Experience in each one of all five regions, and in Upload Speed Experience, it won awards in three regions and tied with Claro in the remaining two. In fact, our users on Kölbi’s network clocked the average download speeds above the national average in Cartago, Heredia and San José — with those in Cartago observing speeds above 20 Mbps. Kölbi also swept away our Video Experience awards in all five regions, with our users on its network enjoying the best Video Experience in the capital region of San José.

Meanwhile, Claro prevailed in Games Experience: the operator won in all five regions, with our users, on its network, observing the top mobile gaming experience in Cartago, Heredia and San José. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, as all our winning scores were between 49.2-54.5 — placing them in the Poor Games Experience category.

We saw a tight competition in Voice App Experience: Claro won in Alajuela, Heredia and San José, and ended up in a dead heat with Kölbi in Cartago. Additionally, all three operators came neck-and-neck in Puntarenas, where we saw a three-way-split.

Turning to 4G Availability, Movistar won in Alajuela, Puntarenas, and San José, and tied with Claro in Cartago and Heredia.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Alajuela

Video Experience
in Alajuela
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
63.0
Claro
51.2
Movistar
55.4
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Games Experience
in Alajuela
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
40.5
Claro
49.2
Movistar
37.9
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Voice App Experience
in Alajuela
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
74.7
Claro
77.0
Movistar
72.6
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Download Speed Experience
in Alajuela
in Mbps
Kölbi
18.0
Claro
8.9
Movistar
8.4
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Upload Speed Experience
in Alajuela
in Mbps
Kölbi
6.2
Claro
5.7
Movistar
4.5
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Latency Experience
in Alajuela
in ms
Kölbi
48.5
Claro
74.1
Movistar
53.3
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4G Availability
in Alajuela
in %
Kölbi
68.4
Claro
67.9
Movistar
74.0
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Cartago

Video Experience
in Cartago
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
66.8
Claro
57.6
Movistar
55.4
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Games Experience
in Cartago
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
45.1
Claro
53.8
Movistar
39.2
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Voice App Experience
in Cartago
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
76.4
Claro
78.6
Movistar
73.8
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Download Speed Experience
in Cartago
in Mbps
Kölbi
20.8
Claro
11.8
Movistar
8.3
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Upload Speed Experience
in Cartago
in Mbps
Kölbi
8.0
Claro
6.6
Movistar
5.0
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Latency Experience
in Cartago
in ms
Kölbi
43.4
Claro
72.6
Movistar
51.3
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4G Availability
in Cartago
in %
Kölbi
81.0
Claro
80.6
Movistar
84.7
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Heredia

Video Experience
in Heredia
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
68.4
Claro
57.7
Movistar
59.3
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Games Experience
in Heredia
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
43.0
Claro
54.5
Movistar
39.7
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Voice App Experience
in Heredia
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
76.4
Claro
79.1
Movistar
74.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Heredia
in Mbps
Kölbi
19.7
Claro
11.7
Movistar
10.3
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Upload Speed Experience
in Heredia
in Mbps
Kölbi
7.3
Claro
7.0
Movistar
5.8
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Latency Experience
in Heredia
in ms
Kölbi
44.5
Claro
68.4
Movistar
45.7
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4G Availability
in Heredia
in %
Kölbi
78.5
Claro
81.2
Movistar
83.1
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Puntarenas

Video Experience
in Puntarenas
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
55.5
Claro
45.8
Movistar
47.1
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Games Experience
in Puntarenas
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
38.6
Claro
43.5
Movistar
37.8
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Voice App Experience
in Puntarenas
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
72.3
Claro
75.3
Movistar
72.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Puntarenas
in Mbps
Kölbi
16.0
Claro
6.8
Movistar
7.3
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Upload Speed Experience
in Puntarenas
in Mbps
Kölbi
5.0
Claro
3.3
Movistar
3.9
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Latency Experience
in Puntarenas
in ms
Kölbi
62.1
Claro
78.8
Movistar
56.0
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4G Availability
in Puntarenas
in %
Kölbi
56.6
Claro
41.4
Movistar
69.4
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San José

Video Experience
in San José
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
68.2
Claro
56.2
Movistar
58.4
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Games Experience
in San José
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
46.3
Claro
52.2
Movistar
39.6
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Voice App Experience
in San José
in 0-100 points
Kölbi
76.7
Claro
78.2
Movistar
74.7
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Download Speed Experience
in San José
in Mbps
Kölbi
19.6
Claro
10.3
Movistar
8.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in San José
in Mbps
Kölbi
7.1
Claro
6.5
Movistar
5.6
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Latency Experience
in San José
in ms
Kölbi
45.2
Claro
70.6
Movistar
47.4
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4G Availability
in San José
in %
Kölbi
79.2
Claro
81.9
Movistar
84.9
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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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