Once again, Orange has the largest haul of awards and is the only Romanian operator to win more than one award outright. It is still the sole winner of the Download Speed Experience and 4G Coverage Experience awards, while also being a joint winner of the Voice App Experience and Upload Speed Experience awards. However, it no longer wins the Video Experience award outright and has to settle for a joint win alongside Vodafone instead. Vodafone racks up four joint wins, while Digi Mobil is still the only operator aside from Orange to win an award outright, as it has successfully defended the 4G Availability award. On top of this, Digi Mobil is now part of a three-way statistical tie for the Games Experience award.
The 0.3 point rise in Vodafone’s 4G Coverage Experience score is likely due to the operator’s recent focus on expanding rural coverage. In August, it said that it deployed over 700 4G new base transceiver stations (BTS) between March 2020 and June 2021 and as a result it claims to provide mobile services to 96% of the country’s rural population.
Operators are continuing to expand 5G services gradually in Romania. In July 2021, Orange announced that it had expanded its 5G coverage to Craiova, the country’s sixth largest city. Like Orange, Vodafone and Digi Mobil launched commercial 5G services in 2019. While at the end of 2021 Telekom was yet to launch 5G, it announced in November the results of 5G tests using its current spectrum and 5G antennas deployed between Bucharest International Airport and the city center. The operator has also extended its rights to use the 2100 MHz band until the end of 2031, at a cost of €25 million ($28.4 million).
Also in November, Digi Mobil paid paid €42.7 million for additional spectrum to improve rural reach and add capacity. It acquired 2×5 MHz in the 800 MHz band suited for rural services, and four 2×5 MHz blocks in the 2600 MHz FDD band and one block of 15 MHz unpaired spectrum in the 2600 MHz TDD band both 2600 MHz bands are usually deployed in urban areas.
In this report, we’ve analyzed the mobile experience of our Romanian users across all four national operators — Digi Mobil, Orange, Telekom and Vodafone — over the 90 day period starting 1 September, 2021, and ending 29 November, 2021. 5G measurements contributed to the overall mobile network experience scores.