Italy

5G Experience Report
November 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

TIM wins the 5G Download Speed award in our first 5G Experience report

Our TIM users experienced the fastest average 5G Download Speed of 273.7 Mbps, meaning that TIM wins the first 5G Download Speed award outright. TIM secured a 147.5 Mbps lead (116.9%) on second-placed Vodafone, which scored 126.2 Mbps, while our Iliad and WindTre users saw average 5G Download Speeds of 103.5 and 64.7 Mbps, respectively.

TIM users were the only ones to exceed 20 Mbps in 5G Upload Speed

TIM wins Opensignal’s 5G Upload Speed award in Italy with a score of 23.9 Mbps and a lead of at least 7.5 Mbps over its competitors. Vodafone places second with a score of 16.4 Mbps, followed by WindTre at 14.8 Mbps and Iliad at 10 Mbps.

TIM, Iliad and Vodafone share the awards for 5G Video Experience and 5G Voice App Experience

The first Opensignal 5G Video Experience award features three operators in first place as TIM and Vodafone both scored 77.7 points while sharing the award with Iliad due to wide confidence intervals that make Iliad’s score of 74.9 a statistical tie. Similarly, we saw Iliad, TIM and Vodafone also jointly win the first 5G Voice App Experience award as the three operators recorded statistically tied scores between 79.6 points and 80 points.

WindTre dominates in 5G Availability and 5G Reach

WindTre is clearly ahead of its competitors in our two measures of the extent of a 5G network, as it wins both 5G Availability and 5G Reach by large margins. Our WindTre users spent 22.3% of their time with an active 5G connection — which was close to four times more than the experience of users that connected with second-placed Vodafone. In addition, WindTre scored 4.7 points (on a 10-point scale) in 5G Reach, with a lead of 3.2 points ahead of second-placed Vodafone. 5G Availability reflects the proportion of time that 5G users had an active 5G connection, while 5G Reach represents the proportion of locations 5G users visited that had a 5G signal.

TIM and Vodafone are joint winners in 5G Games Experience

We observe a slightly different story in our third experiential metric that measures multiplayer gaming experience on a 5G network. With 5G Games Experience it is TIM and Vodafone that are victorious and share the award, ahead of Iliad and WindTre. TIM and Vodafone respective scores of 76.1 points and 74.6 points are statistically tied. Iliad scored 70.2 points, while WindTre scored 66.2 points.

Introduction

In our first look at the 5G experience in Italy, we see all four national operators featuring as winners in multiple mobile experience categories. TIM is the sole winner, and by a large margin, in 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed. It also shares victory in our three experiential awards that measure 5G users’ experience when streaming video, playing multiplayer gaming and using voice app communications services over a 5G network — 5G Video Experience, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience. WindTre dominates both our awards which measure the extent of a 5G network — 5G Availability and 5G Reach. Vodafone is a joint winner in 5G Video Experience, 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience, while Iliad places first alongside TIM and Vodafone in both 5G Video Experience and 5G Voice App Experience.

The four Italian mobile operators launched their 5G networks between June 2019 and December 2020, and have since expanded their 5G services. WindTre recently reported it covers more than 95% of the population with 5G DSS, which is by using its 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequencies for 4G and 5G simultaneously. WindTre is also deploying its 3.7 GHz band with which it claims to cover more than 40% of the population.

Iliad, TIM and Vodafone have focused on rolling out 5G across major Italian cities using spectrum in the 3.7 GHz band they acquired at 2018’s 5G spectrum auction. Recently, Vodafone announced that it will have 5G networks in 50 to 60 cities by the end of this year — up from 25 cities in October. TIM reported it will expand its 5G offering to more than 20 cities by the end of 2021. On the other hand, Iliad claims its 5G is now available in parts of 27 cities. Iliad, TIM and Vodafone also secured licenses on the 700 MHz frequency band — which is better suited to increase 5G coverage — but need to wait until July 2022 for that spectrum to become available.

Despite Italian mobile operators being busy deploying their 5G networks, the Italian government is exploring initiatives to expand 5G coverage across the country. Its 5G plan targets improved connectivity for major rail lines and sparsely populated areas to support rural economies such as agriculture.

In this 5G Experience report, we analyzed our users' 5G experience in Italy on each of the four national operators, Iliad, TIM, Vodafone and WindTre, over a 90 day period starting on July 1, 2021, and ending on September 28, 2021. We have also published a companion report — Italy Mobile Network Experience — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in Italy.

Opensignal Awards Table

5G Mobile Experience Awards, Italy
November 2021, Italy 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
November 2021, Italy
5G Availability
5G Reach
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
November 2021, Italy
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
5G Availability
in %
Iliad
1.2
TIM
2.6
Vodafone
5.8
WindTre
22.3
0 6.25 12.5 18.75 25
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

5G Availability

WindTre is the first Italian operator to win our 5G Availability award, with a large lead over its competitors. In fact, our WindTre users were connected to 5G 22.3% of the time, compared to 5.8% on Vodafone, 2.6% on TIM and 1.2% on Iliad. That means our users on WindTre spent at least 3.9 times as much time connected to 5G compared to users on the other three national operators.

This is not surprising when considering that WindTre launched its 5G service with a customized and innovative 2.6 GHz + 3.5 GHz dual-band AAU solution, leveraging Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology that enables it to use spectrum bands for both 4G and 5G. By contrast Iliad, TIM and Vodafone have focused their 5G network deployments around 3.7 GHz spectrum which supports fast speeds and high data usage. These companies are likely waiting for the 700 MHz band to become available in July 2022 before making a push to increase the availability of their 5G networks.

Lower frequency bands, like 700 MHz, tend to propagate farther than higher frequencies and have better in-building propagation. This means that we would generally expect users to spend more time with a 5G mobile connection when their operator’s 5G service uses a lower frequency band.

Opensignal's 5G Availability compares the amount of time 5G users spent with an active 5G connection — the higher the percentage, the more time users on a network were actually connected to 5G.

5G Availability
in %
Iliad
1.2
TIM
2.6
Vodafone
5.8
WindTre
22.3
0 6.25 12.5 18.75 25
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Reach

WindTre claims victory in Opensignal’s inaugural 5G Reach category, scoring 4.7 points (on a 10-point scale), and securing a 3.2 points lead on second-placed Vodafone, and coming at least four points ahead of TIM and Iliad. Vodafone, TIM and Iliad scored 1.5, 0.7 and 0.4 points, respectively.

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 5G Availability which represents the proportion of time 5G users spend with an active 5G connection.

5G Reach
in 0-10 points
Iliad
0.4
TIM
0.7
Vodafone
1.5
WindTre
4.7
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Video Experience

TIM, Vodafone and Iliad jointly win the 5G Video Experience award. While TIM and Vodafone both scored 77.7 points, Iliad draws with them because of wide confidence intervals that make its score of 74.9 a statistical tie. Wide confidence intervals can be caused by wide variations in the 5G Video Experience scores of users or by fewer users or by a combination of the two. On the other hand, WindTre scored 75.1 points.

Opensignal’s 5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's networks where users are connected to 5G technology.

5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Iliad
74.9
TIM
77.7
Vodafone
77.7
WindTre
75.1
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Games Experience

Our users’ mobile gaming experience varied across the Italian 5G networks, as TIM and Vodafone jointly win the 5G Games Experience award scoring 76.1 points and 74.6 points respectively, while Iliad and WindTre follow behind with statistically tied scores of 70.2 points and 66.2 points.

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.

5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Iliad
70.2
TIM
76.1
Vodafone
74.6
WindTre
66.2
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Voice App Experience

5G Voice App Experience features three operators as joint winners. The winning operators — Iliad, TIM and Vodafone — achieved statistically tied scores ranging from 79.6 points to 80 points (on a 100-point scale). On the other hand, WindTre comes in fourth place with a score of 77.7 points.

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 and Facebook Messenger — when users are connected to a 5G network.

5G Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Iliad
80.0
TIM
79.6
Vodafone
79.8
WindTre
77.7
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Download Speed

TIM wins the first 5G Download Speed award in Italy with a score of 273.7 Mbps, and a lead of almost 150 Mbps on second-placed Vodafone which scored 126.2 Mbps. This comes as no surprise because TIM featured among the Global Leaders for 5G Download Speed in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards report. Iliad scored just above the 100 Mbps threshold, as our users on its network saw average download speeds of 103.5 Mbps when they connected to 5G, while WindTre followed behind with a score of 64.7 Mbps.

These results represent the real-world 5G speeds where our users had an active 5G connection. Higher frequency bands generally offer a larger amount of spectrum bandwidth which helps to enable faster mobile download speeds than lower bands where there is less capacity.

However, these high frequency bands also have shorter signal propagation. Mobile operators’ use of different frequency bands for their 5G services helps explain their users’ 5G experience. In fact, those operators who are focused on using the high capacity 3.7 GHz band come on top in terms of speed compared to WindTre that uses the 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz frequency bands for both 4G and 5G with DSS, in addition to the 3.7 GHz 5G band.

Besides, while TIM and Vodafone both acquired 80 MHz of 3.7 GHz spectrum at the 2018’s 5G spectrum auction, Iliad and WindTre only secured 20 MHz each of that spectrum band. This means that TIM and Vodafone are able to use a much larger amount of 5G spectrum on the 3.7 GHz band compared to Iliad and WindTre, which also helps explain the difference in speed we observed across the four operators.

5G Download Speed
in Mbps
Iliad
103.5
TIM
273.7
Vodafone
126.2
WindTre
64.7
0 68.75 137.5 206.25 275
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Upload Speed

TIM wins the 5G Upload Speed award with a score of 23.9 Mbps. By contrast, Vodafone, WindTre and Iliad scored 16.4 Mbps, 14.8 Mbps and 10 Mbps, respectively.

While download speeds always attract the most attention, upload speeds are becoming increasingly important to users. Sharing photos and videos on social media or large files all benefit from fast upload speeds.

5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
Iliad
10.0
TIM
23.9
Vodafone
16.4
WindTre
14.8
0 6.25 12.5 18.75 25
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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