Mobile Network Experience Report New Zealand October 2021

New Zealand

Mobile Network Experience Report
October 2021

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

Vodafone wins the Download Speed Experience award, breaking clear of Spark

Our Vodafone users had the fastest average download speeds. In the last report Vodafone and Spark tied in this category but now Vodafone is the outright winner. Vodafone’s clear win is due to consistent progress over a long period — in our October 2020 report Vodafone more than halved Spark’s lead, then in our last report, Vodafone statistically tied with Spark for first place. Since the last report Vodafone’s score increased by 3.3 Mbps (8.7%), while Spark’s fell by 1.1 Mbps (2.8%). As a result, Vodafone now leads by a margin of 5 Mbps over second-placed Spark. Vodafone is also the only operator on which our users observed average download speeds of more than 40 Mbps with its score of 41.4 Mbps.

2degrees extends its lead on Upload Speed Experience

For the fourth report in a row, our 2degrees users saw the highest average upload speeds. The operator has gained a lot of ground since our last report, with its score rising by 1.9 Mbps (18.9%) to 11.8 Mbps. Meanwhile, Vodafone and Spark’s scores rose by 0.8-0.9 Mbps to reach 10.2 Mbps and 9.4 Mbps, respectively. As a result, 2degrees’ lead over second-placed Vodafone has more than doubled, rising from the 0.6 Mbps in our last report to around 1.7 Mbps.

Spark draws level with 2degrees on 4G Availability

In our last report, 2degrees was the outright winner of the 4G Availability award. This time around, due to our Spark users seeing a bigger increase in the proportion of time they spent connected to 4G or better compared with our 2degrees users — 0.9 versus 0.4 percentage point rise respectively — Spark and 2degrees statistically tie and jointly win the 4G Availability award. While our Spark and 2degrees users spent the highest proportion of their time connected to 4G or better, Spark is still the outright winner of the 4G Coverage Experience award. This analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

2degrees holds onto the Video Experience award

With a score of 70.8 on a 100-point scale, our 2degrees users enjoyed the best mobile video streaming experience. Spark and Vodafone lagged behind with scores of 68.5 and 66.8 respectively. Using all three operators the overall Video Experience rated as Very Good (65-75) meaning users generally had fast loading times and saw only occasional stalling, but the experience might have been somewhat inconsistent across different users and/or video providers or resolutions.

2degrees and Vodafone remain Games Experience joint winners

It has now been two reports in a row since our Games Experience award has been won outright. In both this report and the previous one, Vodafone and 2degrees — the sole winner back in our October 2020 report — have been locked in a statistical tie for first place. All three operators’ Games Experience scores were statistically unchanged from our last report and 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone remain in the Fair (65-75) category. Games Experience measures our users’ experience when playing multiplayer mobile games over cellular connections. Measured on a scale of 0-100, it analyzes how the multiplayer mobile gaming experience is affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter.

Introduction

2degrees remains the operator with the largest haul of awards — this time winning two awards outright (Video Experience and Upload Speed Experience) and being a joint winner in three categories (Games Experience, Voice App Experience and 4G Availability). Spark has traded a joint win in Download Speed Experience for one in 4G Availability, while successfully defending the 4G Coverage Experience award. Vodafone has converted a joint win in Download Speed Experience into an outright win and still ties for first place with 2degrees on Games Experience and Voice App Experience.

Spark and Vodafone are ahead of 2degrees in 5G strategy. While 2degrees signed a deal with Ericsson in April to support a 5G launch in 2021, its parent company, Trilogy International Partners (TIP), had been exploring an initial public offering (IPO) for 2degrees but has paused this initiative to look into a potential merger between 2degrees and a local broadband operator.

In this report, we’ve analyzed the mobile network experience provided by New Zealand’s three national operators — Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees — at the national level in the 90 days starting July 1 and ending on September 28, 2021. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each award.

To provide a greater understanding of the mobile experience, we also publish additional metrics looking at the experience of 5G users in New Zealand. This differs from the awards because instead of representing the experience for all users, these additional metrics reflect the overall experience of those smartphone users that have both a 5G tariff plan and a 5G smartphone model taking into account the amount of time 5G users spend connected to 4G and 5G.

For the first time, we have also published a 5G Experience companion report, which analyzes the experience of our users when they had an active connection to 5G technology.

Opensignal Awards Table

Mobile Experience Awards, New Zealand
October 2021, New Zealand Report
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Availability
4G Coverage Experience
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
October 2021, New Zealand
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
4G Coverage Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2021, New Zealand
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
4G Availability
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
2degrees
70.8
Spark
68.5
Vodafone
66.8
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

Video Experience

2degrees is once again the outright winner of the Video Experience award, having now done so for three reports in a row. This time it wins by a margin of 2.3 points over second-placed Spark. All three operators placed in the Very Good (65-75) category, which means that our users in New Zealand experienced generally fast loading times and only occasional stalling but the experience might have been somewhat inconsistent across users and/or video providers/resolutions.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
2degrees
70.8
Spark
68.5
Vodafone
66.8
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Video Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Video Experience – 5G Users
71.3 (± 3.06) 72.1 (± 2.21)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Video Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
71 (± 3.06)
72 (± 2.21)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Games Experience

Our 2degrees and Vodafone users continued to have the best experience when playing mobile multiplayer games over cellular connections. The statistical tie between them in our previous report remains unbroken. The last time that the Games Experience award was won outright was back in our October 2020 report when 2degrees was the sole victor.

All three operators’ Games Experience scores were statistically unchanged from our last report and 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone remain in the Fair (65-75) category. This means that our New Zealand users found their experience ‘average’. In most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with most users reporting that they felt like they had control over the game. The majority of players reported that they noticed a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

Games Experience
in 0-100 points
2degrees
72.0
Spark
65.3
Vodafone
69.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Games Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Games Experience – 5G Users
67.9 (± 5.22) 71.3 (± 3.18)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Games Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
68 (± 5.22)
71 (± 3.18)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Voice App Experience

Once again, there is no clear victor for Voice App Experience. For the fourth time in a row two operators have been statistically tied for first place. 2degrees and Vodafone are again the joint winners this time around, as was the case in our last report. The two operators won with scores of 79.9-80.9 points on a 100 point scale, but Spark wasn’t far behind with a score of 79.3 points. All three operators’ scores are statistically unchanged from our previous report.

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. — using a model derived from an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 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.

Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
2degrees
80.9
Spark
79.3
Vodafone
79.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Voice App Experience
Additional Metrics
in 0-100 points
Voice App Experience – 5G Users
80.2 (± 2.25) 80.1 (± 1.52)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Voice App Experience – 5G Users in 0-100 points
80 (± 2.25)
80 (± 1.52)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed Experience

Vodafone is the outright winner of the Download Speed Experience award and is the only operator on which our users observed average download speeds of more than 40 Mbps with its score of 41.4 Mbps. The operator commands a lead of 5 Mbps over second-placed Spark. In our previous report, the two operators were statistically tied for first-place, but Vodafone’s score has risen by 3.3 Mbps (8.7%), while Spark’s fell by 1.1 Mbps (2.8%).

Vodafone’s mobile experience in our earlier reports has been building up to this change in award ownership; in our October 2020 report it more than halved Spark’s lead, then in our last report, the two operators were joint winners of the award.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
2degrees
34.0
Spark
36.5
Vodafone
41.4
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Download Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users
91.3 (± 9.98) 146.9 (± 12.73)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Download Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
91 (± 9.98)
147 (± 12.73)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Download Speed Experience – 5G Users measures the overall average download speeds seen by our 5G users across all mobile technology generations, weighted by the proportion of time that they spent on each technology, Our Vodafone 5G users observed the fastest overall speeds — 146.9 Mbps, while our Spark 5G users reported speeds of 91.3 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience

For the fourth report in a row, our 2degrees users saw the highest average upload speeds. The operator has gained a lot of ground since our last report, with its score rising by 1.9 Mbps (18.9%) to 11.8 Mbps. Meanwhile, Vodafone and Spark’s scores rose by 0.8-0.9 Mbps to reach 10.2 Mbps and 9.4 Mbps, respectively. As a result, 2degrees’ lead over second-placed Vodafone has more than doubled, rising from the 0.6 Mbps seen last time around to 1.7 Mbps.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
2degrees
11.8
Spark
9.4
Vodafone
10.2
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Upload Speed Experience
Additional Metrics
in Mbps
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users
13.2 (± 1.15) 15.0 (± 1.28)
+/- numeric values represent confidence intervals.
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Limited
Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users in Mbps
13 (± 1.15)
15 (± 1.28)
Mobile Network Experience Report | October 2021 | © Opensignal Inc.

Turning to Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users, our Spark and Vodafone 5G users reported statistically tied overall average speeds of around 14 Mbps. Again, this reflects the overall speed seen by our 5G users alone across all mobile technology generations, weighted by the proportion of time they spent connected to each generation.

4G Availability

2degrees and Spark are joint winners of the 4G Availability award. This means that our users on the two operators spent the highest proportion of their time connected to 4G or better. This is in contrast to our last report, in which 2degrees was the outright winner of the 4G Availability award. 2degrees and Spark’s scores are statistically tied due to a 0.9 percentage increase in the proportion of time that our Spark users spent connected to 4G or better — which outweighed the 0.4 percentage point improvement seen by our 2degrees users.

4G Availability
% of time
2degrees
90.0
Spark
88.7
Vodafone
84.6
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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4G Coverage Experience

Spark is once again the outright winner of the 4G Coverage Experience award, extending its winning streak to four reports in a row. Little has changed since our previous report, with Vodafone in second-place, followed by 2degrees. All operators’ scores are statistically unchanged from last time around.

4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
2degrees
8.4
Spark
9.3
Vodafone
8.8
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 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 users of all network operators.

Regional Analysis

Looking at the mobile experience across six regions ​​(Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Otago, Waikato and Wellington), outright wins are relatively rare, indicating fierce competition for our regional awards. Out of a total of 36 region-level awards up for the taking, only eight were won outright — five by 2degrees and three by Vodafone. In addition to having the most sole victories, 2degrees is the operator with the largest haul of joint wins — 27 versus Spark’s 23 and Vodafone’s 21.

2degrees is the outright winner of Video Experience regional awards in Waikato and Otago. Our users did not observe any statistically significant difference in their experience when streaming mobile video between the three operators in Canterbury and the Bay of Plenty. 2degrees and Spark are joint winners in Auckland and Wellington.

No operators succeeded in winning any regional Games Experience awards outright. Reflecting the experience at the national level, 2degrees and Vodafone racked up the majority of joint wins, claiming six and five respectively, while Spark picked up three — two of which were due to three-way ties in the Bay of Plenty and Otago.

Turning to Voice App Experience, our users did not see any statistical difference in their experience between the three operators when using over-the-top voice apps across all six regions. Operators’ scores placed in either the Good (80-87) or Acceptable (74-80) categories. Our users in Auckland and Wellington had a Good Voice App Experience across all three operators.

Vodafone picks up three outright wins for Download Speed Experience — in Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury — along with three joint wins in the remaining regions, with three-way ties in Waikato and Otago and a statistical tie alongside Spark in Wellington. Our Vodafone users’ regional average download speeds ranged from 50.8 Mbps in the Bay of Plenty to 32.8 Mbps in Otago. The average download speeds seen at the regional level by our Spark users ranged between 41.7 Mbps in Wellington and 33.7 Mbps in Waikato, while 2degrees’ scores varied between 35.6 Mbps in Auckland and 29.6 Mbps in the Bay of Plenty,

2degrees wins two regional awards outright for Upload Speed Experience — in Auckland and Waikato. All three operators statistically tied for first place in Wellington and Otago, while 2degrees and Vodafone tied with each other in the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury.

Moving finally to 4G Availability, 2degrees was the only operator to achieve a solo victory — doing so in Waikato with a score of 88.8%. All three operators share the regional award in Wellington while in the remaining four regions 2degrees and Spark are statistically tied for first place. Regardless of their choice of operator, our users in Wellington spent more than 90% of their time connected to 4G or better.

Select any region or city below to display individual breakdown

Auckland

Video Experience
in Auckland
in 0-100 points
2degrees
72.2
Spark
71.6
Vodafone
69.2
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Games Experience
in Auckland
in 0-100 points
2degrees
75.9
Spark
72.3
Vodafone
72.3
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Voice App Experience
in Auckland
in 0-100 points
2degrees
81.3
Spark
80.3
Vodafone
80.4
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Download Speed Experience
in Auckland
in Mbps
2degrees
35.6
Spark
39.1
Vodafone
45.1
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Upload Speed Experience
in Auckland
in Mbps
2degrees
14.0
Spark
11.1
Vodafone
11.7
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4G Availability
in Auckland
% of time
2degrees
91.0
Spark
92.4
Vodafone
86.0
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Bay of Plenty

Video Experience
in Bay of Plenty
in 0-100 points
2degrees
67.6
Spark
66.7
Vodafone
63.3
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Games Experience
in Bay of Plenty
in 0-100 points
2degrees
64.8
Spark
64.3
Vodafone
70.5
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Voice App Experience
in Bay of Plenty
in 0-100 points
2degrees
78.0
Spark
78.9
Vodafone
80.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Bay of Plenty
in Mbps
2degrees
29.6
Spark
36.4
Vodafone
50.8
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Upload Speed Experience
in Bay of Plenty
in Mbps
2degrees
10.5
Spark
8.0
Vodafone
10.0
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4G Availability
in Bay of Plenty
% of time
2degrees
87.6
Spark
88.5
Vodafone
81.4
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Canterbury

Video Experience
in Canterbury
in 0-100 points
2degrees
67.9
Spark
67.9
Vodafone
67.0
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Games Experience
in Canterbury
in 0-100 points
2degrees
70.8
Spark
65.2
Vodafone
71.1
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Voice App Experience
in Canterbury
in 0-100 points
2degrees
80.6
Spark
79.9
Vodafone
80.9
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Download Speed Experience
in Canterbury
in Mbps
2degrees
35.4
Spark
36.4
Vodafone
43.6
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Upload Speed Experience
in Canterbury
in Mbps
2degrees
11.4
Spark
9.5
Vodafone
10.7
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4G Availability
in Canterbury
% of time
2degrees
88.5
Spark
88.8
Vodafone
82.8
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Otago

Video Experience
in Otago
in 0-100 points
2degrees
74.3
Spark
69.7
Vodafone
65.3
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Games Experience
in Otago
in 0-100 points
2degrees
64.6
Spark
66.2
Vodafone
62.1
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Voice App Experience
in Otago
in 0-100 points
2degrees
79.9
Spark
79.3
Vodafone
78.5
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Download Speed Experience
in Otago
in Mbps
2degrees
32.7
Spark
36.5
Vodafone
32.8
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Upload Speed Experience
in Otago
in Mbps
2degrees
11.1
Spark
9.0
Vodafone
8.5
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4G Availability
in Otago
% of time
2degrees
87.7
Spark
89.6
Vodafone
81.1
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Waikato

Video Experience
in Waikato
in 0-100 points
2degrees
69.9
Spark
65.9
Vodafone
65.9
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Games Experience
in Waikato
in 0-100 points
2degrees
73.2
Spark
63.9
Vodafone
67.1
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Voice App Experience
in Waikato
in 0-100 points
2degrees
81.5
Spark
79.3
Vodafone
79.1
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Download Speed Experience
in Waikato
in Mbps
2degrees
34.4
Spark
33.7
Vodafone
37.1
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Upload Speed Experience
in Waikato
in Mbps
2degrees
10.8
Spark
8.0
Vodafone
8.9
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4G Availability
in Waikato
% of time
2degrees
88.8
Spark
84.0
Vodafone
81.2
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Wellington

Video Experience
in Wellington
in 0-100 points
2degrees
72.9
Spark
71.2
Vodafone
66.9
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Games Experience
in Wellington
in 0-100 points
2degrees
68.8
Spark
67.7
Vodafone
73.2
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Voice App Experience
in Wellington
in 0-100 points
2degrees
81.1
Spark
80.1
Vodafone
81.9
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Download Speed Experience
in Wellington
in Mbps
2degrees
35.2
Spark
41.7
Vodafone
44.5
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Upload Speed Experience
in Wellington
in Mbps
2degrees
12.1
Spark
10.7
Vodafone
12.4
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4G Availability
in Wellington
% of time
2degrees
90.1
Spark
91.4
Vodafone
90.3
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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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