Mobile Network Experience Report United Arab Emirates November 2020

United Arab Emirates

Mobile Network Experience Report
November 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

Key findings

Both our Etisalat and du users have seen impressive increases in their average overall download speeds

Since our last report, Etisalat and du’s Download Speed Experience scores have increased by 6.2 Mbps (15.2%) and 4.2 Mbps (17.6%), respectively, causing the average overall download speeds seen by our Etisalat users to rise above 45 Mbps. Etisalat’s lead over du increased in absolute terms by 1.9 Mbps to a mighty 18.4 Mbps, but it actually fell slightly in percentage terms, thanks to du’s rapid progress.

Etisalat extends its lead on Upload Speed Experience

The average overall upload speeds seen by our Etisalat users have risen by 0.4 Mbps (3.1%), since our last report, while those observed by their du counterparts have fallen by 0.7 Mbps (7.9%). Etisalat’s lead over du across this measure of the mobile experience has therefore risen by 1 Mbps to 4.4 Mbps.

du’s hold on the Games Experience award tightens

du has now held our Games Experience award for two reports in a row and the operator’s lead has more than doubled. It has increased from 3.5 points to 8.3, a gain of 4.8 points.

COVID-19 challenges have had little impact on UAE’s mobile network experience

Despite the unprecedented challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, our awards table is essentially unchanged, with Etisalat holding onto five awards (Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience, 4G Availability and 4G Coverage Experience) and du keeping hold of the Games Experience and Voice App Experience awards. In five out of seven of our measures of the mobile experience the award holder increased their lead over their rival, with the only exceptions being Video Experience and 4G Coverage Experience.

Introduction

Despite the extraordinary nature of the period between this report and the last, the mobile network experience in the UAE appears to be relatively unchanged, with both operators holding onto the same awards that they won in our previous report. In addition, across our three experiential metrics — Video Experience, Games Experience and Voice App Experience — both du and Etisalat maintained the same ratings as from before. However, when we looked at our sub metrics for these measures of the mobile experience, Etisalat secured an Excellent (75 or above) rating for 4G Video Experience — up from Very Good (65-75), while du has moved up one category for 3G Voice App Experience. This overall lack of change represents something of a missed opportunity, given the room for improvement in terms of Games Experience and Voice App Experience.

That said, one area where there has been significant enhancement is Download Speed Experience. Our Etisalat and du users have seen their average overall download speeds increase by 6.2 Mbps (15.2%) and 4.2 Mbps (17.6%), respectively, causing the average overall download speeds seen by our Etisalat users to rise above 45 Mbps. Both Etisalat and du were recently recognised by Opensignal as Global Rising Stars for Download Speed Experience in our Global Mobile Network Experience Awards 2020 report, but du was the only operator in the UAE to also place as a Global Rising Star for Upload Speed Experience.

While both our du and Etisalat users have spent slightly less time connected to 4G when compared to our last report and both operators’ 4G Coverage Experience scores have barely moved. This is not surprising given both the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has been triggering changes in our users’ locations — which may mean that they spent more time indoors and less time in areas such as city centers where operators have invested heavily in infrastructure.

In addition, there’s the shift in focus towards 5G as highlighted back in June when Etisalat said that it will focus on rolling out its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network for the next two years before it launches a 5G standalone (SA) network. However, until both operators are running 5G SA networks and the majority of their users are using SA compatible handsets, 4G will act as the foundation of the mobile network experience in the UAE, given that 5G NSA networks require a user to be connected to a 4G network when they are using 5G services.

While the focus on 4G is receding, there are plans to do away with 2G altogether — in June, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that the country’s 2G networks will be switched off at the end of 2022 and that the freed-up spectrum will be used to support 5G services.

In this report, we’ve analyzed the mobile network experience provided by the UAE’s two national operators — du and Etisalat — at the national level in the 90 days starting July 1, 2020. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each metric.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, United Arab Emirates
November 2020, United Arab Emirates Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image
Mobile Experience Awards Winners
November 2020, United Arab Emirates
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Download Image

Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Etisalat
73.2
du
68.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

National Analysis

Video Experience

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Etisalat
73.2
du
68.4
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
74.9 (± 0.55) 71.2 (± 0.77)
3G Video Experience
61.0 (± 2.84) 53.5 (± 2.82)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
75 (± 0.55)
71 (± 0.77)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
61 (± 2.84)
54 (± 2.82)
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Etisalat
30.0
du
38.3
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Games Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Games Experience
30.3 (± 0.11) 39.1 (± 0.30)
3G Games Experience
27.9 (± 0.42) 35.3 (± 0.44)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Games Experience in 0-100 points
30 (± 0.11)
39 (± 0.30)
3G Games Experience in 0-100 points
28 (± 0.42)
35 (± 0.44)
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Voice App Experience

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Etisalat
40.7
du
64.9
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
41.1 (± 0.36) 65.8 (± 0.50)
3G Voice App Experience
37.8 (± 1.14) 60.1 (± 1.31)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
41 (± 0.36)
66 (± 0.50)
3G Voice App Experience in 0-100 points
38 (± 1.14)
60 (± 1.31)
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed Experience

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Etisalat
46.6
du
28.3
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
51.9 (± 0.98) 32.3 (± 0.77)
3G Download Speed
9.9 (± 0.56) 6.6 (± 0.47)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Download Speed in Mbps
52 (± 0.98)
32 (± 0.77)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
10 (± 0.56)
7 (± 0.47)
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

Upload Speed Experience

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Etisalat
11.9
du
7.6
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
13.4 (± 0.27) 8.7 (± 0.26)
3G Upload Speed
2.1 (± 0.12) 1.3 (± 0.08)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Limited
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
13 (± 0.27)
9 (± 0.26)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
2 (± 0.12)
1 (± 0.08)
Mobile Network Experience Report | November 2020 | © Opensignal Inc.

4G Availability

4G Availability
% of time
Etisalat
93.0
du
89.7
0 23.75 47.5 71.25 95
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

4G Coverage Experience

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Etisalat
9.6
du
9.2
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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.

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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