Japan

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2022

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: Ian Fogg, VP Analysis Data Collection Period: Dec 01 - Feb 28, 2022

Japan

Mobile Network Experience Report
April 2022

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: Ian Fogg, VP Analysis

Data Collection Period: Dec 01 - Feb 28, 2022

Key Findings

5G Reach and Availability awards are taken by NTT DoCoMo

In the Coverage section, NTT DoCoMo wins two awards outright and jointly wins 5G Availability with SoftBank. While the victory margin is narrow for Availability — just 0.9 points separated all four operators on a 100-point scale — there was much greater variation in 5G Reach and 5G Availability scores. 5G Reach winner NTT DoCoMo scored 2.8 on a 10-point scale, just ahead of SoftBank's 2.5, but Rakuten lagged with 0.5. Similarly in 5G Availability, the winning scores of 4.3% and 4.1% were over three points clear of Rakuten's score of 1%.

SoftBank wins all Games and Video Experience awards

In both the 5G Games Experience and 5G Video Experience categories SoftBank wins with scores of 86.6 and 77.9 on a 100-point scale. Similarly, in the awards representing the overall experience of all mobile users — Games Experience and Video Experience — SoftBank again triumphs, although with lower scores of 82.1 and 66, respectively. These lower scores for overall experience highlight the importance of 5G technology.

NTT DoCoMo wins the Download Speed Experience award with 52.9 Mbps

The average download speeds seen by all our NTT DoCoMo users of 52.9 Mbps were faster than second placed au (47 Mbps) and third placed SoftBank (41.9 Mbps). But in 5G Download Speed Experience NTT DoCoMo and Rakuten together jointly win the award with statistically tied scores of 194 Mbps and 181.8 Mbps, respectively.

Both Upload Speed awards are won by Rakuten

With a score of 29.7 Mbps for 5G Upload Speed Rakuten is in clear first place ahead of second placed SoftBank's score of 24.2 Mbps. The overall average upload speed of Rakuten users is again ahead of its three national rivals with a score of 15.8 Mbps, ahead of SoftBank (10.3 Mbps), NTT DoCoMo (10 Mbps) and au (8.8 Mbps).

In Consistency, SoftBank wins the Core award, and shares the Excellent award with NTT DoCoMo

For Core Consistent Quality, SoftBank users saw the greatest proportion of tests meeting the requirements for common activities. However, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank jointly win the Excellent Consistent Quality award which means users on those operators met the minimum requirements in the most share of measurements for more demanding applications and services.

Rakuten and SoftBank jointly win both Voice App Experience awards

In both 5G and overall awards for these metrics, the two operators share the prize. Voice App Experience quantifies the use of popular mobile apps for real-time voice communications. Examples of these types of apps include Facebook Messenger, LINE, Skype and WhatsApp.

Mobile Experience Awards

April 2022, Japan Report
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Market Overview

In Opensignal's latest Japan Mobile Network Experience report we analyze both the 5G experience and the overall experience together for the first time in one report. Also, we add two new awards that quantify the consistency of the experience on each of Japan's four national operators.

Across the country, 5G roll outs continue to expand. The telecommunications ministry aims to accelerate the growth in 5G coverage to reach 95% of the population by the end of the 2023 financial year. NTT DoCoMo has said it will increase the pace of its 5G roll out. Rakuten expects to add at least 10,000 5G base stations this year.

Japan's operators continue to deploy new technologies with the goal of further improving the mobile experience of Japanese users. KDDI claimed to be the first commercial standalone 5G network in Japan using Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) technology in early 2022, although Opensignal has seen other 5G standalone networks launch outside Japan. Rakuten has been a major global proponent of ORAN for both its 4G and 5G networks in Japan and as a supplier of technology outside Japan. ORAN suppliers aim to lower costs and increase the pace of innovation in wireless networks.

SoftBank is also pushing ahead with deploying new 5G standards. It has also started to roll out standalone 5G network. The promise of standalone 5G is to support many millions of more devices and offer more reliable, more responsive lower latency connections which will improve the mobile gaming experience, real-time communications and also open up new Internet of Things markets for mobile operators.

Overall Experience
5G Experience
Coverage
Consistency
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
All Users
5G Users
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
au
64.0
NTT DoCoMo
65.1
Rakuten
56.2
SoftBank
66.0
0 17.5 35 52.5 70
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Video Experience – 5G Users
in 0-100 points
au
65.8
NTT DoCoMo
68.2
Rakuten
60.8
SoftBank
67.9
0 17.5 35 52.5 70
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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All Users
5G Users
Games Experience
in 0-100 points
au
79.8
NTT DoCoMo
78.3
Rakuten
79.7
SoftBank
82.1
0 21.5 43 64.5 86
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Games Experience – 5G Users
in 0-100 points
au
80.8
NTT DoCoMo
76.7
Rakuten
81.0
SoftBank
84.4
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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All Users
5G Users
Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
au
82.0
NTT DoCoMo
81.5
Rakuten
82.3
SoftBank
82.3
0 21.5 43 64.5 86
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Voice App Experience – 5G Users
in 0-100 points
au
82.7
NTT DoCoMo
81.8
Rakuten
83.0
SoftBank
83.5
0 21.5 43 64.5 86
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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All Users
5G Users
Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
au
47.0
NTT DoCoMo
52.9
Rakuten
27.5
SoftBank
41.9
0 14 28 42 56
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Download Speed Experience – 5G Users
in Mbps
au
53.2
NTT DoCoMo
84.1
Rakuten
35.4
SoftBank
51.1
0 21.5 43 64.5 86
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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All Users
5G Users
Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
au
8.8
NTT DoCoMo
10.0
Rakuten
15.8
SoftBank
10.3
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users
in Mbps
au
8.0
NTT DoCoMo
9.1
Rakuten
17.3
SoftBank
10.4
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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National Analysis
Regional Analysis

With a score of 66 on a 100-point scale SoftBank wins the Video Experience award ahead of NTT DoCoMo with 65.1 and au on 64. Both Softbank and NTT DoCoMo's scores placed in the Very Good category (65-75) meaning there were generally fast loading times and only occasional stalling.

Rakuten has a much lower Video Experience score of 56.2. This result is partly because of the more limited amount of 4G spectrum Rakuten has available to support its users compared with the other operators as well as having a less extensive 5G deployment — see the Coverage section for more information.

The mobile video streaming experience on all four operators was significantly better when using 5G technology. While scores using all mobile technology generations ranged from 56.2 for Rakuten up to SoftBank's winning score of 66, the comparable 5G Video Experience scores — using 5G alone — ranged from 72 to 77.9. There was with less difference between the operators' scores for 5G Experience than there was for overall Experience.

SoftBank narrowly wins the Games Experience award with a score of 82.1 on a 100-point scale, ahead of joint second placed au's score of 79.8 and Rakuten on 79.7 followed by NTT DoCoMo with 78.3. SoftBank also wins the 5G Games Experience award — see the 5G Experience section.

For Games Experience, all four operators ranked as Good (75-85), meaning that for multiplayer mobile gaming, 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.

When we look at the overall experience of just 5G Users — not All Users — SoftBank users again had the highest score, of 84.4 on a 100-point scale. This score almost reached the 85 mark needed to rank as Excellent.

Rakuten and SoftBank are joint winners of the Voice App Experience award with identical scores of 82.3 points on a 100-point scale. However, au and NTT DoCoMo weren't far behind given their scores of 82 and 81.5 points, respectively.

Our NTT DoCoMo users experienced the fastest average download speeds of 52.9 Mbps, 5.9 Mbps (12.5%) faster than second placed au's score of 47 Mbps, and almost double the overall speed seen by Rakuten users of 27.5 Mbps. In third place, SoftBank users saw speeds only slightly slower than au with a score of 41.9 Mbps.

When we look at the overall average download speeds of 5G Users alone, users on all four operators had much higher speeds. These scores represent the download speeds seen by 5G Users using both 5G and 4G technology weighted by the amount of time spent on each network generation. NTT DoCoMo 5G Users again saw the highest average speeds of 84.1 Mbps with au and SoftBank 5G Users having experienced very similar speeds of 53.2 and 51.1 Mbps, respectively.

Rakuten comfortably wins the Upload Speed Experience award again with a score of 15.8 Mbps. Our Rakuten users' average upload speed was 5.6 Mbps (54.4%) faster than second placed SoftBank's score of 10.3 Mbps. Our NTT DoCoMo (10 Mbps) and au (8.8 Mbps) users saw slightly slower upload speeds to SoftBank users.

NTT DoCoMo wins the Download Speed Experience award in all eight regions Opensignal has analyzed. Alongside its national award win, this means that NTT DoCoMo users had an unrivaled average download speed compared with users on other operators.

SoftBank wins the most regional Video Experience awards. In Kinki it wins the award outright, but in six regions — Chugoku, Hokkaido, Kanto, Kyushu, Shikoku and Tohoku — it jointly wins the award alongside au and NTT DoCoMo while in Chubu it shares the prize with NTT DoCoMo alone.

Rakuten dominates in the regional Upload Speed Experience awards winning five awards outright. In the other three it jointly wins, sharing the prize with SoftBank in Chugoku, with NTT DoCoMo in Hokkaido and with both au and SoftBank in Tohoku.

In Games Experience, SoftBank adds four outright regional wins to its national award — in Chubu, Hokkaido, Kanto and Kinki. In the other four regions it jointly wins the awards.

Regional Analysis Summary: Japan, Mobile Network Experience Report, April 2022

Region
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Chubu
N
S
S
a
N
S
N
R
Chugoku
a
N
S
a
R
S
a
R
N
R
S
Hokkaido
a
N
S
S
a
S
N
N
R
Kanto
a
N
S
S
R
S
N
R
Kinki
S
S
a
R
S
N
R
Kyushu
a
N
S
a
R
S
a
R
S
N
R
Shikoku
a
N
S
a
N
R
S
a
N
R
S
N
R
Tohoku
a
N
S
a
S
a
N
R
S
N
a
R
S
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2022 | © Opensignal Limited Download Image
Selected region
  • A-I
    • Chubu
    • Chugoku
    • Hokkaido
  • J-R
    • Kanto
    • Kinki
    • Kyushu
  • S-Z
    • Shikoku
    • Tohoku
Video Experience
in Chubu
in 0-100 points
au
62.9
NTT DoCoMo
65.3
Rakuten
55.7
SoftBank
66.7
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Games Experience
in Chubu
in 0-100 points
au
78.6
NTT DoCoMo
79.6
Rakuten
78.0
SoftBank
82.1
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Voice App Experience
in Chubu
in 0-100 points
au
81.9
NTT DoCoMo
82.2
Rakuten
81.7
SoftBank
82.2
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Download Speed Experience
in Chubu
in Mbps
au
43.4
NTT DoCoMo
56.1
Rakuten
25.8
SoftBank
41.6
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Upload Speed Experience
in Chubu
in Mbps
au
8.2
NTT DoCoMo
9.6
Rakuten
14.4
SoftBank
10.8
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Video Experience
in Chugoku
in 0-100 points
au
64.4
NTT DoCoMo
63.5
Rakuten
47.1
SoftBank
65.8
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Games Experience
in Chugoku
in 0-100 points
au
81.4
NTT DoCoMo
77.6
Rakuten
80.2
SoftBank
81.9
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Voice App Experience
in Chugoku
in 0-100 points
au
83.1
NTT DoCoMo
82.1
Rakuten
83.1
SoftBank
81.9
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Download Speed Experience
in Chugoku
in Mbps
au
42.7
NTT DoCoMo
46.1
Rakuten
15.2
SoftBank
42.0
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Upload Speed Experience
in Chugoku
in Mbps
au
9.1
NTT DoCoMo
8.9
Rakuten
9.9
SoftBank
9.9
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Video Experience
in Hokkaido
in 0-100 points
au
63.0
NTT DoCoMo
65.2
Rakuten
47.4
SoftBank
66.8
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Games Experience
in Hokkaido
in 0-100 points
au
80.1
NTT DoCoMo
77.1
Rakuten
75.9
SoftBank
82.9
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Voice App Experience
in Hokkaido
in 0-100 points
au
82.6
NTT DoCoMo
82.0
Rakuten
81.7
SoftBank
83.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Hokkaido
in Mbps
au
43.2
NTT DoCoMo
55.9
Rakuten
18.9
SoftBank
47.4
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Upload Speed Experience
in Hokkaido
in Mbps
au
8.8
NTT DoCoMo
11.0
Rakuten
11.3
SoftBank
10.0
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Video Experience
in Kanto
in 0-100 points
au
64.3
NTT DoCoMo
65.3
Rakuten
58.9
SoftBank
65.5
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Games Experience
in Kanto
in 0-100 points
au
80.3
NTT DoCoMo
80.1
Rakuten
80.5
SoftBank
82.9
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Voice App Experience
in Kanto
in 0-100 points
au
82.0
NTT DoCoMo
81.9
Rakuten
82.2
SoftBank
82.5
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Download Speed Experience
in Kanto
in Mbps
au
49.6
NTT DoCoMo
53.9
Rakuten
30.8
SoftBank
40.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Kanto
in Mbps
au
8.6
NTT DoCoMo
10.1
Rakuten
18.0
SoftBank
10.0
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Video Experience
in Kinki
in 0-100 points
au
64.4
NTT DoCoMo
65.8
Rakuten
59.5
SoftBank
68.0
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Games Experience
in Kinki
in 0-100 points
au
80.0
NTT DoCoMo
79.0
Rakuten
79.7
SoftBank
83.6
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Voice App Experience
in Kinki
in 0-100 points
au
82.4
NTT DoCoMo
82.3
Rakuten
82.5
SoftBank
83.0
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Download Speed Experience
in Kinki
in Mbps
au
49.3
NTT DoCoMo
55.6
Rakuten
30.3
SoftBank
43.9
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Upload Speed Experience
in Kinki
in Mbps
au
8.5
NTT DoCoMo
10.3
Rakuten
17.3
SoftBank
10.5
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Video Experience
in Kyushu
in 0-100 points
au
63.1
NTT DoCoMo
64.5
Rakuten
51.2
SoftBank
63.2
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Games Experience
in Kyushu
in 0-100 points
au
79.7
NTT DoCoMo
77.5
Rakuten
78.7
SoftBank
79.9
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Voice App Experience
in Kyushu
in 0-100 points
au
81.9
NTT DoCoMo
81.8
Rakuten
82.5
SoftBank
81.7
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Download Speed Experience
in Kyushu
in Mbps
au
42.9
NTT DoCoMo
48.1
Rakuten
23.1
SoftBank
37.5
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Upload Speed Experience
in Kyushu
in Mbps
au
9.0
NTT DoCoMo
8.9
Rakuten
12.3
SoftBank
9.4
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Video Experience
in Shikoku
in 0-100 points
au
65.7
NTT DoCoMo
66.0
Rakuten
53.0
SoftBank
65.1
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Games Experience
in Shikoku
in 0-100 points
au
82.0
NTT DoCoMo
79.9
Rakuten
81.1
SoftBank
82.2
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Voice App Experience
in Shikoku
in 0-100 points
au
82.5
NTT DoCoMo
82.7
Rakuten
82.9
SoftBank
82.5
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Download Speed Experience
in Shikoku
in Mbps
au
49.1
NTT DoCoMo
59.3
Rakuten
25.1
SoftBank
43.5
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Upload Speed Experience
in Shikoku
in Mbps
au
10.0
NTT DoCoMo
10.0
Rakuten
12.3
SoftBank
9.5
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Video Experience
in Tohoku
in 0-100 points
au
64.4
NTT DoCoMo
63.7
Rakuten
46.0
SoftBank
65.9
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Games Experience
in Tohoku
in 0-100 points
au
82.3
NTT DoCoMo
79.9
Rakuten
79.9
SoftBank
81.4
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Voice App Experience
in Tohoku
in 0-100 points
au
82.7
NTT DoCoMo
82.6
Rakuten
82.8
SoftBank
82.3
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Download Speed Experience
in Tohoku
in Mbps
au
43.7
NTT DoCoMo
49.9
Rakuten
14.8
SoftBank
41.7
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Upload Speed Experience
in Tohoku
in Mbps
au
9.1
NTT DoCoMo
8.8
Rakuten
9.4
SoftBank
9.8
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Definitions

Opensignal’s Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's networks. The metric is based on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approach, built upon detailed studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters, including picture quality, video loading time and stall rate, with the perceived video experience as reported by real people. To calculate video experience, we are directly measuring video streams from end-user devices and using this ITU approach to quantify the overall video experience for each operator on a scale from 0 to 100. The videos tested include a mixture of resolutions — including Full HD (FHD) and 4K / Ultra HD (UHD) — and are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers.

In addition to Video Experience, we report on the following metrics related to video experience:

  • 5G Video Experience: The average Video Experience of Opensignal users when they were connected to an operator’s 5G network.
  • Video Experience – 5G Users: The average Video Experience of Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription across an operator's networks. It factors in 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G video experience along with the availability of each technology.
  • 4G Video Experience: The average Video Experience of Opensignal users on an operator's 4G network.
  • 3G Video Experience: The average Video Experience of Opensignal users on an operator’s 3G network.

Definitions

Opensignal’s Games Experience measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-100, it analyzes how our users’ multiplayer mobile gaming experience is affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter.

Games Experience quantifies the experience when playing real-time multiplayer mobile games on mobile devices connected to servers located around the world. The approach is built on several years of research quantifying the relationship between technical network parameters and the gaming experience as reported by real mobile users. These parameters include latency (round trip time), jitter (variability of latency) and packet loss (the proportion of data packets that never reach their destination). Additionally, it considers multiple genres of multiplayer mobile games to measure the average sensitivity to network conditions. The games tested include some of the most popular real-time multiplayer mobile games (such as Fortnite, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor) played around the world.

Calculating Games Experience starts with measuring the end-to-end experience from users’ devices to internet end-points that host real games. The score is then measured on a scale from 0 to 100.

In addition to Games Experience, we report on the following metrics related to games experience:

  • 5G Games Experience: The average Games Experience of Opensignal users when they were connected to an operator’s 5G network.
  • Games Experience – 5G Users: The average Games Experience of Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription across an operator's networks. It factors in 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G games experience along with the availability of each technology.
  • 4G Games Experience: The average Games Experience of Opensignal users on an operator's 4G network.
  • 3G Games Experience: The average Games Experience of Opensignal users on an operator's 3G (e.g. UMTS/HSPA or CDMA 1X EV-DO) network.

Definitions

Opensignal's 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 — using a model derived from the 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 for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

In addition to Voice App Experience, we report on the following metrics related to voice app experience:

  • 5G Voice App Experience: The average Voice App Experience of Opensignal users when they were connected to an operator’s 5G network.
  • Voice App Experience – 5G Users: The average Voice App Experience of Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription across an operator's networks. It factors in 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G voice app experience along with the availability of each technology.
  • 4G Voice App Experience: The average Voice App Experience of Opensignal users on an operator's 4G network.
  • 3G Voice App Experience: The average Voice App Experience of Opensignal users on an operator's 3G (e.g. UMTS/HSPA or CDMA 1X EV-DO) network.

Definitions

Measured in Mbps, Download Speed Experience represents the typical everyday speeds a user experiences across an operator’s mobile data networks.

In addition to Download Speed Experience, we report on the following metrics related to download speeds:

  • 5G Download Speed: The average download speed observed by Opensignal users with active 5G connections.
  • Download Speed Experience – 5G Users: The average download speeds experienced by Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription across an operator’s networks. It factors in 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G download speeds along with the availability of each technology.
  • 4G Download Speed: The average downlink speed observed by Opensignal users when they were connected to 4G.
  • 3G Download Speed: The average downlink speed observed by Opensignal users when they were connected to 3G (e.g. UMTS/HSPA or CDMA 1X EV-DO).

Definitions

Upload Speed Experience measures the average upload speeds for each operator observed by our users across their mobile data networks. Typically upload speeds are slower than download speeds, as current mobile broadband technologies focus resources on providing the best possible download speed for users consuming content on their devices. As mobile internet trends move away from downloading content to creating content and supporting real-time communications services, upload speeds are becoming more vital and new technologies are emerging that boost upstream capacity.

In addition to Upload Speed Experience, we report on five supporting metrics related to upload speeds:

  • 5G Upload Speed: The average upload speed observed by Opensignal users with active 5G connections.
  • Upload Speed Experience – 5G Users: The average upload speeds experienced by Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription across an operator’s networks. It factors in 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G upload speeds along with the availability of each technology.
  • 4G Upload Speed: The average uplink speed observed by Opensignal users when they were connected to 4G.
  • 3G Upload Speed: The average uplink speed observed by Opensignal users when they were connected to 3G (e.g. UMTS/HSPA or CDMA 1X EV-DO).

Learn more

5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
au
74.1
NTT DoCoMo
74.3
Rakuten
72.0
SoftBank
77.9
0 20 40 60 80
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
au
79.2
NTT DoCoMo
65.4
Rakuten
81.6
SoftBank
86.6
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
au
82.8
NTT DoCoMo
79.5
Rakuten
83.4
SoftBank
84.0
0 21.5 43 64.5 86
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Download Speed
in Mbps
au
130.7
NTT DoCoMo
194.0
Rakuten
181.8
SoftBank
109.6
0 50 100 150 200
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
au
12.8
NTT DoCoMo
9.7
Rakuten
29.7
SoftBank
24.2
0 9 18 27 36
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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National Analysis

SoftBank's 5G Video Experience score of 77.9 means it wins the 5G award for mobile video streaming. This means the operator comes away with both video awards in this report, covering both the use of 5G technology for video and the overall experience of all mobile users when streaming video over wireless connections.

Both NTT DoCoMo and au are statistically tied in second place with 5G Video Experience scores of 74.3 and 74.1, respectively. Our Rakuten users saw a slightly worse experience with a score of 72 on a 100-point scale.

Notably, only SoftBank users saw an Excellent (75 or above) 5G Video Experience, meaning there was a very consistent experience across all streaming providers and resolutions tested — including full HD or 1080p — with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling. Using the other three operators, users had to accept a Very Good (65-75) 5G Video Experience.

SoftBank users were the only ones to enjoy an Excellent (85 or above) 5G Games Experience with a score of 86.6 on a 100-point scale. This means that nearly all players felt they had control over their game and they received immediate feedback on their actions without a noticeable delay in almost all cases.

The next highest 5G Games Experience scores were seen by our Rakuten users with a score of 81.6 and our au users with a score of 79.2. Both operators ranked as Good (75-85) meaning most users deemed the gaming experience to be acceptable.

With statistically tied scores of 84 and 83.4, SoftBank and Rakuten jointly win the 5G Voice App Experience award. However, there was little variation across all four operators' scores with au scoring 82.8 and NTT DoCoMo close behind with a score of 79.5 on a 100-point scale.

NTT DoCoMo and Rakuten users saw the highest average 5G download speeds with statistically tied scores of 194 and 181.8 Mbps, respectively. As a result, the two operators jointly win the 5G Download Speed award.

However, there were large differences in 5G speeds between the four operators. In third place, au users saw 5G Download Speed of 130.7 Mbps while SoftBank's score of 109.6 Mbps was over 70 Mbps slower than the two winning scores.

In average 5G upload speed we also saw tremendous differences between the four operators' scores. Rakuten wins the 5G Upload Speed award with a score of 29.7 Mbps ahead of the speeds seen by our SoftBank users of 24.2 Mbps.

Users on the two front runners saw much faster scores than users connecting with either of the chasing operators. Users' speeds on both au and NTT DoCoMo were approximately half the average 5G upload speeds seen on SoftBank and under half Rakuten users' speeds. In third place, au scored 12.8 Mbps while NTT DoCoMo users experienced a 5G Upload Speed of 9.7 Mbps.

Definitions

5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of mobile video experienced by Opensignal users on real-world video streams when they were connected to 5G. The metric is based on an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approach, built upon detailed studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters, including picture quality, video loading time and stall rate, with the perceived video experience as reported by real people. To calculate 5G Video Experience, we are directly measuring video streams from end-user devices and using this ITU approach to quantify the video experience observed by our users on each operator’s 5G network on a scale from 0 to 100. The videos tested include a mixture of resolutions — including Full HD (FHD) and 4K / Ultra HD (UHD) — and are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers.

Definitions

5G Games Experience measures how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator's 5G network. It analyzes how our users’ multiplayer mobile gaming experience was affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter. 5G Games Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

5G Games Experience quantifies the experience when playing real-time multiplayer mobile games on mobile devices connected to servers located around the world. The approach is built on several years of research quantifying the relationship between technical network parameters and the gaming experience as reported by real mobile users. These parameters include latency (round trip time), jitter (variability of latency) and packet loss (the proportion of data packets that never reach their destination). Additionally, it considers multiple genres of multiplayer mobile games to measure the average sensitivity to network conditions. The games tested include some of the most popular real-time multiplayer mobile games (such as Fortnite, Pro Evolution Soccer and Arena of Valor) played around the world. Calculating 5G Games Experience starts with measuring the end-to-end experience from users’ devices to internet end-points that host real games.

Definitions

5G Voice App Experience quantifies the experience of Opensignal users when using over-the-top voice apps — such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger — on an operator’s 5G network. It uses a model derived from the 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. 5G Voice App Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

Definitions

5G Download Speed shows the average download speed experienced by Opensignal users across an operator’s 5G network. 5G Download Speed for each operator is calculated in Mbps (Megabits per second).

Definitions

5G Upload Speed measures the average upload speeds experienced by Opensignal users across an operator’s 5G network. 5G Upload Speed for each operator is calculated in Mbps (Megabits per second).

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au

NTT DoCoMo

Rakuten

SoftBank

Availability
5G Availability
5G Reach
Availability
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.8
SoftBank
99.4
0 25 50 75 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Availability
% of time
au
3.7
NTT DoCoMo
4.3
Rakuten
1.0
SoftBank
4.1
0 1.5 3 4.5 6
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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5G Reach
in 0-10 points
au
2.0
NTT DoCoMo
2.8
Rakuten
0.5
SoftBank
2.5
0 1 2 3 4
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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National Analysis
Regional Analysis

There was little variation in the time users spent with a mobile broadband connection on each operator. NTT DoCoMo wins the Availability award with our users experiencing 99.7% of time with a 3G, 4G or 5G connection, very slightly ahead of au (99.6%) and SoftBank (99.4%). Despite being by far the newest mobile network operator — having launched in 2020 — Rakuten users were not far behind with a score of 98.8%.

Japan's operators are continuing to build out 5G services and add more locations with 5G capability. However, the 5G Availability scores highlight there is still much to do. When we look at the percentage of time our 5G Users had an active 5G connection scores remain relatively low.

NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank jointly win the 5G Availability award with scores of 4.3% and 4.1%, respectively. The score of au is slightly behind with a 5G Availability of 3.7%. But Rakuten has a low score of 1%, meaning that our Rakuten 5G Users experienced an active 5G connection just 1% of the time.

On three operators users saw 5G service in at least one fifth of the locations that they visited. NTT DoCoMo wins the 5G Reach score with 2.8 on a 10-point scale. Both SoftBank and au users also saw 5G in at least one fifth of locations with scores of 2.5 and 2, respectively. The 5G Reach of Rakuten users lagged behind with a score of 0.5.

The regional awards for Availability are shared between operators in every region except one. In Kanto, NTT DoCoMo wins the Availability award outright, as it has done with the national Availability award.

In the other regions, the award was closely contested. SoftBank jointly wins the award in Kinki alongside NTT DoCoMo. Similarly in Chugoku, au and NTT DoCoMo share the award. However, in the other five regions three operators jointly win the award: au, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank. In no region does Rakuten feature as either a winner or as a joint winner for Availability.

Regional Analysis Summary: Japan, Mobile Network Experience Report, April 2022

Region
Availability
Chubu
a
N
S
Chugoku
a
N
Hokkaido
a
N
S
Kanto
N
Kinki
N
S
Kyushu
a
N
S
Shikoku
a
N
S
Tohoku
a
N
S
Mobile Network Experience Report | April 2022 | © Opensignal Limited Download Image
Selected region
  • A-I
    • Chubu
    • Chugoku
    • Hokkaido
  • J-R
    • Kanto
    • Kinki
    • Kyushu
  • S-Z
    • Shikoku
    • Tohoku
Availability
in Chubu
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.8
SoftBank
99.5
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Availability
in Chugoku
% of time
au
99.7
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.8
SoftBank
99.2
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Availability
in Hokkaido
% of time
au
99.4
NTT DoCoMo
99.5
Rakuten
99.0
SoftBank
99.1
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Availability
in Kanto
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.7
SoftBank
99.3
Download Image
Availability
in Kinki
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.9
SoftBank
99.6
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Availability
in Kyushu
% of time
au
99.4
NTT DoCoMo
99.6
Rakuten
98.7
SoftBank
99.4
Download Image
Availability
in Shikoku
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.6
Rakuten
98.6
SoftBank
99.4
Download Image
Availability
in Tohoku
% of time
au
99.6
NTT DoCoMo
99.7
Rakuten
98.8
SoftBank
99.6
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Definitions

Our availability metrics are not a measure of a network’s geographical extent. They won’t tell you whether you are likely to get a signal if you plan to visit a remote rural or nearly uninhabited region. Instead, they measure what proportion of time people have a network connection, in the places they most commonly frequent — something often missed by traditional coverage metrics. Looking at when users have a connection rather than where, provides us with a more precise reflection of the true user experience.

We also keep track of the instances that leave mobile users most frustrated: when there is no signal to connect to at all. The most common dead zones users struggle with occur indoors. As most of our availability data is collected indoors (as that’s where users spend most of their time), we’re particularly astute at detecting areas of zero signal.

Our availability metrics take a user-centric, time-based approach that complements the user-centric and geographical-based methodology used by our reach metrics.

Availability shows the proportion of time all Opensignal users on an operator’s network had either a 3G, 4G or 5G connection.

Definitions

Our availability metrics are not a measure of a network’s geographical extent. They won’t tell you whether you are likely to get a signal if you plan to visit a remote rural or nearly uninhabited region. Instead, they measure what proportion of time people have a network connection, in the places they most commonly frequent — something often missed by traditional coverage metrics. Looking at when users have a connection rather than where, provides us with a more precise reflection of the true user experience.

We also keep track of the instances that leave mobile users most frustrated: when there is no signal to connect to at all. The most common dead zones users struggle with occur indoors. As most of our availability data is collected indoors (as that’s where users spend most of their time), we’re particularly astute at detecting areas of zero signal.

Our availability metrics take a user-centric, time-based approach that complements the user-centric and geographical-based methodology used by our reach metrics.

5G Availability shows the proportion of time Opensignal users with a 5G device and a 5G subscription had an active 5G connection.

Definitions

5G Reach measures how users experience the geographical extent of an operator’s 5G network. It analyzes the average proportion of locations where users were connected to a 5G network out of all the locations those users have visited. In simple terms, 5G Reach measures the 5G mobile experience in all the locations that matter most to everyday users – i.e. all the places where they live, work and travel. 5G Reach for each operator is measured on a scale from 0 to 10.

The coverage maps show the locations where we received measurements from users connecting with 3G or better mobile service. Each map provides an indication of the areas in which it is possible to obtain mobile service from that mobile operator.

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Excellent Consistent Quality
Core Consistent Quality
Excellent Consistent Quality
% of tests
au
84.7
NTT DoCoMo
86.5
Rakuten
76.4
SoftBank
86.4
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Core Consistent Quality
% of tests
au
92.7
NTT DoCoMo
92.8
Rakuten
87.1
SoftBank
93.6
0 24 48 72 96
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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National Analysis

According to our measurements, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank were the operators that met the minimum recommended performance thresholds for HD video, group video conference calls and gaming across the greatest proportion of users' tests. Therefore they are joint winners of the Excellent Consistent Quality award. The statistically tied winning scores of 86.5% for NTT DoCoMo and 86.4% for SoftBank have a lead of approximately 1.7 percentage points over au. Rakuten is some way further behind with a score of 76.4%.

SoftBank wins the Core Consistent Quality award — as based on our measurements it met the minimum recommended performance thresholds for lower performance applications including SD video, voice calls and web browsing for the highest proportion of users' tests (93.6%) out of Japan's four national operators. NTT DoCoMo and au are close behind with scores of 92.8% and 92.7%, respectively, while Rakuten is in fourth place with a score of 87.1%.

Definitions

Consistent Quality measures how often users’ experience on a network was sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. It measures download speed, upload speed, latency, jitter, packet loss, time to first byte and the percentage of tests attempted which did not succeed due to a connectivity issue on either the download or server response component.

The Consistent Quality metrics — Excellent Consistent Quality and Core Consistent Quality — are calculated using data from our sister company Tutela and uses its methodology, full details of which can be found here.

Excellent Consistent Quality is the percentage of users’ tests that met the minimum recommended performance thresholds to watch HD video, complete group video conference calls and play games.

Definitions

Consistent Quality measures how often users’ experience on a network was sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. It measures download speed, upload speed, latency, jitter, packet loss, time to first byte and the percentage of tests attempted which did not succeed due to a connectivity issue on either the download or server response component.

The Consistent Quality metrics — Excellent Consistent Quality and Core Consistent Quality — are calculated using data from our sister company Tutela and uses its methodology, full details of which can be found here.

Core Consistent Quality is the percentage of users’ tests that met the minimum recommended performance thresholds for lower performance applications including SD video, voice calls and web browsing.

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Related Analysis

Our Methodology

Collecting billions of individual measurements daily from over 100 million devices globally, Opensignal independently analyzes mobile user experience on every major network operator around the globe.

About Opensignal

Opensignal is the mobile analytics company committed to improving mobile connectivity across the globe. We are the independent authority for understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

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