5G Experience Report New Zealand October 2021

New Zealand

5G 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 5G Download Speed outright

Our Vodafone users saw the fastest average download speeds when connected to 5G — the operator clocked up an impressive score of 275.6 Mbps, 118.6 Mbps (75.5%) ahead of second-placed Spark’s score of 157 Mbps. However, both operators are statistically tied for the 5G Upload Speed award with our users reporting speeds of 18.9-21.3 Mbps.

Spark and Vodafone are evenly matched across our three experiential metrics

Across the two operators, there was no significant difference in our users’ experience across all three of our 5G experiential measures: 5G Video Experience, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience. Our users on both operators’ 5G networks had a Very Good (65-75) 5G Video Experience, a Good (75-85) 5G Games Experience and a Good (80-87) 5G Voice App Experience.

Spark and Vodafone are joint winners of the 5G Availability award

While our users reported 5G Availability scores of 1.9% and 3.1% for Spark and Vodafone, respectively, overlapping confidence intervals mean that there is no statistical difference between the two operators’ scores, causing them to tie for first place. 5G Availability measures the proportion of time that our 5G users had an active 5G connection.

Introduction

Our first look at the New Zealand 5G Experience indicates a closely fought contest between the two national operators who have launched 5G — Spark and Vodafone. Out of six categories, there is only one — 5G Download Speed — where one operator wins outright. Vodafone did so with a lead of 118.6 Mbps over Spark.

These 5G results are an impressive achievement for Spark, given that Vodafone was the first operator in New Zealand to launch 5G and has had more time to develop its 5G network experience. By comparison, Spark launched 5G services in July 2020 in Palmerston North, while Vodafone launched its commercial 5G service back in December 2019 in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

Spark announced that it is investing an extra NZD35 million (approximately US$24.6 million) in August to accelerate its 5G rollout and is aiming to hit roughly 90% 5G population coverage by the end of 2023.

2degrees is behind Spark and Vodafone on its 5G services. However, it signed a deal with Ericsson in April to support a 5G launch in 2021 starting in Auckland and Wellington. However, 2degrees’ majority owner, Trilogy International Partners (TIP) has been busy exploring an initial public offering (IPO) for 2degrees only to pause this initiative in favor of a potential merger between 2degrees and local broadband operator Vocus NZ — which is being rebranded as Orcon Group.

Looking internationally, New Zealand has been performing strongly in terms of the experience of our users when they were connected to 5G. In our Benchmarking the Global 5G Experience — September 2021 analysis, the country appeared in the top 15 countries for 5G Download Speed, Peak 5G Download Speed, 5G Voice App Experience and 5G vs 4G Download Speed Improvement.

In this report, we've analyzed real-world 5G data gathered in the 90 days starting July 1 and ending September 28, 2021 to see how New Zealand’s two national operators with commercially launched 5G networks — Spark and Vodafone — stack up. Our results in this report use measurements from our users when they were connected to 5G networks.

We have also published a companion report — New Zealand Mobile Network Experience October 2021 — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in New Zealand.

Opensignal Awards Table

5G Mobile Experience Awards, New Zealand
October 2021, New Zealand Report
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Availability
5G Upload Speed
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
October 2021, New Zealand
5G Download Speed
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2021, New Zealand
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
5G Availability
5G Upload Speed
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Spark
72.8
Vodafone
74.6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

5G Video Experience

Spark and Vodafone are joint winners of the 5G Video Experience award, with statistically tied scores of 72.8 and 74.6 points, respectively, on a 100 point scale. Our users had a Very Good (65-75) experience when connected to both operators’ 5G networks. This indicates generally fast loading times and only occasional stalling but the experience might have been somewhat inconsistent across users and/or video providers/resolutions.

Opensignal’s 5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's 5G network on a scale of 0-100. The videos tested include a mixture of resolutions and are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers.

5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Spark
72.8
Vodafone
74.6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Download Image

5G Games Experience

Spark and Vodafone are joint winners of the 5G Games Experience award with statistically tied scores of 81.1 and 76.6 points, respectively, on a 100 point scale. Our users had a Good (75-85) experience when connected to both operators’ 5G networks. This indicates that most users deemed the experience acceptable. The gameplay experience was generally controllable and the user received immediate feedback between their actions and the outcomes in the game. Most users did not experience a delay between their actions and the game.

Opensignal’s 5G Games Experience measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s 5G network. 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 to determine the impact on gameplay and the multiplayer gaming experience.

5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Spark
81.1
Vodafone
76.6
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Voice App Experience

Spark and Vodafone are joint winners of the 5G Voice Experience award with statistically tied scores of 84.5 and 82.8 points, respectively, on a 100 point scale. Our users had a Good (80-87) experience when connected to both operators’ 5G networks. This means that many users were satisfied. However, minor quality impairments were experienced by some users. Sometimes the background was not quite clear, it could have been either hazy or not loud enough. Clicking sounds or distortion were very occasionally present.

Opensignal's 5G 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. — when users are connected to a 5G network.

5G Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Spark
84.5
Vodafone
82.8
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Download Speed

Our Vodafone users saw the fastest average download speeds when connected to 5G — the operator clocked up an impressive score of 275.6 Mbps, 118.6 Mbps (75.5%) ahead of second-placed Spark’s score of 157 Mbps.

Vodafone was recently recognised at the international level — in our 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report, Vodafone is a 5G Global Leader for 5G Download Speed and is also one of the top 30 operators globally for Download Speed – 5G Global Impact (the percentage improvement in 5G speeds versus 4G speeds).

5G Download Speed
in Mbps
Spark
157.0
Vodafone
275.6
0 70 140 210 280
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Availability

While our users reported 5G Availability scores of 1.9% and 3.1% for Spark and Vodafone, respectively, overlapping confidence intervals mean that there is no statistical difference between the two operators’ scores, causing them to tie for first place. These scores indicate that both operators’ 5G rollouts are still at a relatively early stage and that for the vast majority of their time, 5G users in New Zealand are relying on older generations of mobile technology.

Our 5G Availability metric shows the proportion of time Opensignal users with a 5G device and subscription had an active 5G connection. The higher the 5G Availability percentage, the more time users on a network were actually connected to 5G.

5G Availability
in %
Spark
1.9
Vodafone
3.1
0 1.25 2.5 3.75 5
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Upload Speed

In contrast to 5G Download Speed, our users saw no statistically significant difference in their average upload speeds when connected to 5G between Spark and Vodafone. As a result, the two operators are joint winners of the 5G Upload Speed award with our users reporting speeds of 18.9-21.3 Mbps.

5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
Spark
18.9
Vodafone
21.3
0 6.25 12.5 18.75 25
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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