Bahrain

Mobile Network Experience Report
May 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: Francesco Rizzato, Principal Technical Analyst Data Collection Period: Feb 01 - May 01, 2022

Bahrain

Mobile Network Experience Report
May 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: Francesco Rizzato, Principal Technical Analyst

Data Collection Period: Feb 01 - May 01, 2022

Key Findings

Batelco users enjoy the fastest Download Speed Experience

Our users observed the fastest average download speeds of 31.4 Mbps on Batelco’s network, followed by Zain and stc with 26.1 Mbps and 22.6 Mbps, respectively. However, we observed completely different operator placings when looking at our users’ average upload speeds. Zain and stc share the Upload Speed Experience award with scores in the 9.2-9.5 Mbps range, ahead of Batelco at 8.2 Mbps.

Batelco leads in Games Experience with a Fair rating

Besides having the fastest average download speeds, our users on Batelco’s network also enjoyed the best multiplayer mobile gaming experience, as well as the best experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services together with Zain. In Games Experience Batelco scored 71.5 points, ahead of Zain and stc with statistically tied scores in the 61.6-64.3 point range. This means that, while Batelco placed in the Fair category (65-75), stc and Zain obtained Poor ratings (40-65) for Games Experience. In Voice App Experience, Batelco and Zain shared first place with scores in the 78.4-79.3 point range.

Batelco and stc share Availability but it’s a three way tie in 4G Coverage Experience

In the Coverage section, Batelco and stc are joint winners for the Availability award having scored above 98%, ahead of Zain with 95.1%. However, we have a three-way tie in 4G Coverage Experience as Batelco, stc and Zain all had statistically tied scores in the 9.7-10 point range on a 10 point scale. While Availability represents the proportion of time all Opensignal users on an operator’s network had either a 3G, 4G or 5G connection, 4G Coverage Experience analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

Zain wins Excellent Consistent Quality, while stc takes Core Consistent Quality

Zain wins the Excellent Consistent Quality award with a 0.9 percentage point margin over second-placed Batelco. In Core Consistent Quality, stc beats Zain by 1.8 percentage points. Our measures of consistent quality quantify how often users’ experience on a network was sufficient to support common applications’ requirements. Excellent Consistent Quality analyzes the percentage of users' tests that met the minimum recommended thresholds for watching HD video, completing group video conference calls and playing games. Core Consistent Quality uses thresholds for less demanding applications.

Bahrain’s users have a Fair Video Experience on all three operators

Our users on Batelco, stc and Zain all had a similar mobile video streaming experience as the three operators achieved statistically tied Video Experience scores in the 48.3-49.1 point range on a 100 point scale. This means that Batelco, stc and Zain are joint winners for the Video Experience award, with scores placing in the Fair category (40-55).

Mobile Experience Awards

May 2022, Bahrain Report
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Market Overview

In our first report on the mobile network experience in Bahrain we see a highly competitive landscape with all three mobile operators winning multiple awards. Batelco is the sole winner in Games Experience and Download Speed Experience, while stc and Zain are the outright winners for Core Consistent Quality and Excellent Consistent Quality, respectively. All three operators are joint winners in four additional categories, each.

Bahrain’s mobile operators have been investing in 5G to improve their users’ mobile experience. Batelco launched its commercial 5G network in June 2019 and later claimed nationwide 5G coverage in October 2020. Mobile operator stc — previously branded as Viva — launched its home broadband 5G network in June 2019 and has since worked on expanding its 5G reach. Finally, Zain launched commercial 5G services in June 2020 and later announced further investments to expand its 4G and 5G networks.

In this report we examine the mobile network experience of the three mobile network operators in Bahrain — Batelco, stc and Zain — over a period of 90 days starting on February 1, 2022 and ending on May 1, 2022, to see how they fared. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each award.

Overall Experience
Coverage
Consistency
Video Experience
Games Experience
Voice App Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Batelco
48.7
stc
48.3
Zain
49.1
0 14 28 42 56
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Batelco
71.5
stc
61.6
Zain
64.3
0 19 38 57 76
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Batelco
79.3
stc
78.1
Zain
78.4
0 20 40 60 80
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Batelco
31.4
stc
22.6
Zain
26.1
0 9 18 27 36
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Batelco
8.2
stc
9.5
Zain
9.2
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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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).

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Availability
4G Coverage Experience
Availability
% of time
Batelco
98.1
stc
98.4
Zain
95.1
0 25 50 75 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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4G Coverage Experience
in 0-10 points
Batelco
10.0
stc
9.9
Zain
9.7
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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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

4G Coverage Experience measures how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on an operator’s network. Measured on a scale of 0-10, it analyzes the locations where customers of a network operator received a 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all network operators.

In simple terms, 4G Coverage Experience measures the mobile coverage experience in all the locations that matter most to everyday users — i.e. all the places where they live, work and travel. It considers all the areas that Opensignal users visit, the portion of locations that 4G is available to them, and locations that more users visit have higher importance to them.

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Excellent Consistent Quality
Core Consistent Quality
Excellent Consistent Quality
% of tests
Batelco
67.7
stc
62.8
Zain
68.6
0 17.5 35 52.5 70
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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Core Consistent Quality
% of tests
Batelco
82.3
stc
86.4
Zain
84.6
0 22.5 45 67.5 90
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
Read why confidence intervals are important.
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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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