5G Experience Report Saudi Arabia October 2021

Saudi Arabia

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
Francesco Rizzato Principal Technical Analyst

Key findings

STC and Zain share the 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed awards

STC and Zain jointly win the 5G Download Speed award, having scored 253.8 Mbps and 264.5 Mbps, respectively. Mobily followed at a distance, as our users on its network saw average 5G download speeds of 186.8 Mbps. We also observed a very similar set of results in our other measure of users’ connection speeds — 5G Upload Speed — as STC and Zain share that award, having scored 25.1 Mbps and 23.8 Mbps, respectively. Mobily’s 5G Upload Speed score was shy of the 20 Mbps mark, as our users on its network saw average 5G upload speeds of 19.4 Mbps.

Mobily leads in 5G Games Experience

Mobily wins the 5G Games Experience award with a score of 66.9 points, ahead of STC and Zain which scored 62.8 and 38.7 points, respectively. Mobily is the only Saudi operator to rate Fair (65-75), showing that there is still room for improvement in this category. 5G Games Experience analyzes how the multiplayer mobile games experience is affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter.

STC has a winning edge in 5G Availability

STC bags a comfortable win in 5G Availability. Our STC users spent over one fourth of their time — 28.2% — with an active 5G connection compared with 23% for Mobily users and 20.8% on Zain. However, the three operators jointly win 5G Reach with statistically tied scores of 4.2-4.7 on a 10-point scale. 5G Reach represents the proportion of locations a 5G user visits that have a 5G signal.

Our Saudi Arabian users had an Excellent 5G Video Experience

Mobily, STC and Zain share the 5G Video Experience award, as they had statistically tied scores of 76-77.1 points on a 100-point scale. By passing the 75-point mark, all three Saudi operators earned an Excellent 5G Video Experience score. 5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's 5G network, including a mixture of resolutions from the world’s largest video content providers.

Mobily and STC jointly win 5G Voice App Experience

Our users on Mobily and STC experienced statistically tied scores of 80.1 and 79.5 points, respectively, in 5G Voice App Experience, which means the two operators share the award in this category. Zain followed with a score of 74.4 points. 5G Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services.

Introduction

Mobily, STC and Zain all shined across multiple measures of 5G mobile network experience, which resulted in five shared awards between two or three operators, and two sole wins. STC secures five jointly won awards and one outright win for 5G Availability. Mobily shares three awards while winning 5G Games Experience outright. Zain shares four awards with no outright wins.

All three Saudi operators showed some impressive 5G scores when compared to global standards. This comes as no surprise because in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report all three national operators were recognized as 5G Global Leaders in multiple categories. Mobily, STC and Zain all featured among the Global Leaders for 5G Availability, while STC and Zain were also recognized as Global Leaders in both 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed. Also, all three Saudi operators gained multiple mentions in our 5G Global Impact categories that measured the uplift, or improvement, in the mobile experience seen by our users while connected to 5G compared to 4G.

However, the 5G mobile experience is not yet mature, and Saudi operators are working on increasing the extent of their 5G networks. According to Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the total number of governorates covered by 5G at the end of the second quarter was 60 out of 118, up by seven from the first quarter of 2021. STC covered 56 governorates, followed by Zain at 43 and Mobily with 21.

In this report, we examine the 5G experience of our users on the three mobile network operators in Saudi Arabia — Mobily STC and Zain — over a period of 90 days beginning July 1 and ending September 28, 2021, to see how they fared. We have also published a companion report — Saudi Arabia Mobile Network Experience — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in Saudi Arabia.

Opensignal Awards Table

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

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
5G Availability
in %
Mobily
23.0
STC
28.2
Zain
20.8
0 7.5 15 22.5 30
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

5G Availability

STC wins the 5G Availability award with a score of 28.2% and a winning margin of 5.2-7.3 percentage points over Mobily and Zain. Our 5G users on Mobily and Zain experienced statistically tied 5G Availability scores of 23% and 20.8%, respectively, meaning that they spent more than one fifth of the time with 5G service. Notably. in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report, all three Saudi operators were named Global Leaders for 5G Availability.

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 %
Mobily
23.0
STC
28.2
Zain
20.8
0 7.5 15 22.5 30
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Reach

Contrary to our 5G Availability award, we saw a three-way statistical tie between Mobily, STC and Zain for our second measure of 5G extent — 5G Reach. The three Saudi operators scored between 4.2 and 4.7 points on a 10-point scale.

5G Reach represents the proportion of locations where 5G users have connected to 5G out of all the locations those users have visited, on a scale of 0-10. This measure complements our existing 5G Availability metric which represents the proportion of time 5G users spend connected to 5G.

5G Reach
in 0-10 points
Mobily
4.4
STC
4.7
Zain
4.2
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Video Experience

The three Saudi mobile operators all placed in the Excellent category (75 and above) for 5G Video Experience with statistically similar scores. In fact, Mobily, STC and Zain share the 5G Video Experience award having scored 76 points, 77.1 points and 76.9 points, respectively, on a 100-point scale. This means that the three operators had a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling.

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
Mobily
76.0
STC
77.1
Zain
76.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Games Experience

Mobily wins the 5G Games Experience award with a score of 66.9 points on a 100-point scale, ahead of STC and Zain which scored 62.8 points and 38.7 points, respectively. Despite STC coming relatively close to Mobily in 5G Games Experience, Mobily was the only operator to place in the Fair category (65-75).

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 overall multiplayer gaming experience.

5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Mobily
66.9
STC
62.8
Zain
38.7
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Voice App Experience

Mobily and STC share the award for 5G Voice App Experience with statistically tied scores of 80.1 points and 79.5 points respectively on a 100-point scale. Zain was in third place with a score of 74.4.

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
Mobily
80.1
STC
79.5
Zain
74.4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Download Speed

STC and Zain jointly win the 5G Download Speed award having achieved impressive statistically tied scores of 253.8 Mbps and 264.5 Mbps, respectively. Mobily followed at some distance, but similarly achieved a three-digit score, having clocked 186.8 Mbps in 5G Download Speed. Notably, both STC and Zain were recognized as Global Leaders in 5G Download Speed in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report.

5G Download Speed
in Mbps
Mobily
186.8
STC
253.8
Zain
264.5
0 66.25 132.5 198.75 265
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Upload Speed

Similarly to what we observed in 5G Download Speed, STC and Zain also share the award for 5G Upload Speed, with statistically tied scores of 25.1 Mbps and 23.8 Mbps. Our users on Mobily experienced an average 5G Upload Speed of 19.4 Mbps, which were 4.3-5.7 Mbps slower compared to what our users on Zain and STC experienced. STC and Zain also earned a mention as Global Leaders for 5G Upload Speed in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report.

5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
Mobily
19.4
STC
25.1
Zain
23.8
0 7.5 15 22.5 30
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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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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