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All 5G networks are not created equal: Unveiling the TRUE QoE of 5G in Europe

Published on February 23, 2023
5G

MedUX will present the results of the first 5G QoE benchmarking study during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Have you ever wondered which European city has the best 5G networks and service, and most importantly WHY?

This article is part of a monographic series analyzing landscape of 5G Quality of Service (QoS) and QoE in Europe. Also, take a look at our second report in the series:  All 5G networks are not created equal: Unveiling the TRUE QoE of 5G in Europe (II)”.

 

 
 

The world is moving quickly towards a fully connected and digital society, and the technology behind this transformation is 5G. In recent years, the race to launch 5G networks has been intense. Telecom operators around the world have been in a race to offer the fastest, most reliable, and most extensive 5G coverage. However, not all 5G networks are created equal, and customers may not be receiving the quality of experience they expect. 

To find out the true quality of experience (QoE) of 5G networks in Europe, MedUX has conducted a benchmarking study during Q4 2022. The study measured 5G performance and quality of experience in major European cities, including London (United Kingdom), Berlin (Germany), Paris (France), Lisbon (Portugal), Rome and Milan (Italy), and Madrid and Barcelona (Spain). 

 

 

Our report reveals in the analysis of the real field 5G measurements and true QoE KPIs that 5G networks in these cities varied significantly in terms of end-user experience, reliability, availability, accessibility, speeds and and network coverage. Furthermore, the study revealed that even within the same city, the 5G experience could vary widely depending on the location. 

Although this report includes a city-level analysis to explore overall performance, MedUX also holds detailed analysis and statistics at operator level. 

Join us in the launch of our report during the MWC23, on Monday, February 27th at 18h in the Spain Pavilion (Hall4 4B30-4B40). Join the QoE Revolution with MedUX (Stand 23 at Spain Pavilion). If you are not in Barcelona that day you will not miss out! The 5G QoE benchmark report will be published after the MWC23. 

 

Key findings of our 5G QoE Benchmarking in Europe

A lot has changed since our first 5G measurement three years ago, indeed more spectrum has been released all over Europe but at the same time 5G adoption and network load has increased. Which city has the best 5G network and service?

 

 

 

Lisbon (Portugal) and Berlin (Germany) lead most of mobile experience rankings across all categories, but the devil is in the details…

  • The best Overall QoE Experience is in Portugal. Lisbon is the winner of the most important category and our Best QoE Award in Q42022. Madrid and Berlin follow in the second and third place of Best QoE.
  • 5G experience is very good or excellent in European cities. Our 5G QoE benchmarking results show a clear winner (Lisbon), three contenders ranking in the excellence terrain (Madrid, Berlin and Paris), and three runner-ups (London, Rome and Milan). All QoE scores are above 4.3 out of scale of 5.
  • The most reliable experience is in Germany. Berlin heads the Reliability, the second most important award category in the benchmark. It has the most consistent network performance, closely followed by Barcelona and Paris.
  • Widest 5G coverage is in Germany. 5G non-standalone (NSA) – i.e., where 5G supplements a 4G network – has scaled significantly in all cities, reaching the 5G registration time over 60% across the panel, but still showing relevant differences between best and worst performers (Berlin and Rome with 96% and 62% respectively).
  • 5G deployment strategy varies considerably between markets but also in-market. There are multiple factors in the deployment strategy impacting the customer experience (beyond network availability), but carrier aggregation (CA), dual connectivity (CD), Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) deployment and spectrum availability (and refarming) are some of the key pillars.
  • The fastest 5G download speed was seen in Germany on Deutsche Telekom network. MedUX measured live download speeds of 1.5 Gbps in Berlin (Germany). This 5G Download Speed was approx. 5 times the typical (median) download speed in Lisbon in the range of 330 Mbps, the highest median among European cities
  • 5G speed performance varies widely. Two clear city groups can be observed, those with top speeds (for the top 10% of sessions) peaking at over 600 Mbps (Lisbon, Berlin, Madrid and Barcelona), and those with speeds in the range of or below 500 Mbps.
  • Portugal is top for 5G Gaming experience. Lisbon is the winner for Gaming experience in 5G with the highest score. According to previous research on gaming excellence, a widely accepted goal is to provide stable network latencies below 20 ms. With current 5G deployments, Lisbon has top Gaming experience thanks to top median latency below 44ms and a jitter below 8 ms. A reliable latency of 30-50 ms is considered to be very good for most games.
  • The best Data and OTT experience is in Portugal. Lisbon is the clear winner for Data and OTT Experience, including web browsing, social networks, data transfers and gaming experiences. Lisbon has outstanding time-to-content results, for example social networks loading time typically below 800 ms is half than in other cities.
  • The best Streaming experience is in Spain. Barcelona is the winner for Video Experience, closely followed by Paris, with statistically tied scores of 4.98 and 4.97 points on a 5 point scale. Barcelona nails the results with a 100% reliability rate in streaming sessions, whereas Paris shows an almost perfect score of 99.89% accompanied by the highest video download speeds in the range of 46 Mbps and the fastest time-to-play of 1,200ms.
  • The best 5G QoE is yet to come. Current 5G networks mostly use NSA EN-DC (TDD in n78 and FDD in n28) and DSS (FDD in n28, n1 and n3 bands), but the real 5G or 5G+ is coming. Reliability, response times, and interactivity will be boosted. However, SA 5G networks deployment may take some months to take off on a large scale in Europe. Will 2023 be the year of real 5G?
  • Some 5G challenges ahead for the industry: 5G-capables and SA-cabable devices adoption, implementation of 5G core, cloud native infrastructure, 5G RAN coverage (indoor, outdoor and capacity), VoNR, 5G performance uncertainties due to increasing usage and network load, among other,

 

The 5G QoE Benchmark report will be published after the MWC23.

 

 

 

In conclusion, the study highlights the fact that not all 5G networks are created equal, and that the actual QoE provided by 5G networks varies significantly depending on a range of factors. Network operators should take note of the study's findings and strive to improve the QoE of their 5G networks to remain competitive in the Digital Era and an increasingly connected world.

What do you get joining the #QoERevolution with MedUX?

This benchmark will allow telecommunications operators, service providers, and regulatory authorities to gain a deeper understanding of the true performance of 5G networks from a customer perspective. 

Speed is not everything and the industry is trying to adapt to meet the needs of customers when using real services. Typical end-users do not necessarily benefit much from download speeds of multiple 100Mbps (not yet). End-users just use a small percentage of those headline speeds when web browsing, streaming, and any other internet regular activities. Indeed, Reliability (how consistent a network performs) or CDN performance (how your contents are served) is way more relevant in the 5G Era than just performing a throughput and ping test against an (optimized) test server to infer the customer experience. 

So, what do users care about in 5G? A consistent experience across services and applications is king, particularly applications performance and time-to-content everywhere and every time, at every click to a video, websites, social networks, cloud storage, games, etc. 

MedUX focuses on evaluating the QoE that mobile end-users have when using telecommunication services, also called customer-perceived network quality or network experience. Our approach provides unprecedented grand-scale visibility into 5G performance with true QoE KPIs. 

Please, note that MedUX is planning to perform this benchmarking campaign on a recurring basis every semester, and even enable certain continuous 24/7 measurements in particular geographies. 

To learn more about our 5G QoE benchmark, our 5G use cases on competitive intelligence, pre-rollout analytics, and basic troubleshooting, and how it can benefit your business, please visit our website or contact us directly at hello@medux.com.

Why should you care about Quality of Experience?

As 5G networks continue to roll out across Europe and the rest of the world, it is critical to understand the QoE that these networks are providing to end-users. MedUX's 5G QoE benchmark offers a unique, customer-centric perspective on 5G network performance, enabling operators and regulators to better understand the factors that impact QoE, including basic network performance stuff such as latency, download and upload speeds, network coverage, and signal quality, but also advanced end-user perception insights such as web browsing, social networks, gaming or streaming experiences.

Our mobile QoE benchmarking is relevant for various stakeholders, including mobile network operators (MNOs), device manufacturers, equipment/service providers, content providers, and end-users. It allows them to assess the performance of their services, devices, and networks, and to identify areas for improvement. 

With the launch of this groundbreaking benchmark, MedUX is once again demonstrating its commitment to helping its clients deliver the best possible customer experiences. Our team of experienced engineers and data scientists has worked tirelessly to develop 5G-ready measurement robots and a rigorous and comprehensive methodology for testing and benchmarking 5G networks across Europe. 

Our 5G QoE benchmark can cover a wide range of scenarios and use cases, including urban, suburban, and rural areas, indoor and outdoor locations, and popular applications such as video streaming, gaming, and web browsing thanks to our grand-scale deployment capability. This allows our clients to gain a holistic understanding of 5G performance and identify areas for improvement. 

We believe that our 5G QoE benchmark will be an invaluable tool for telecommunications operators, internet service providers, and regulatory authorities as they work to optimize 5G network performance and deliver the best possible customer experiences. With our help, telecommunication operators can stay ahead of the competition and meet the growing demands of consumers for faster, more reliable, and more seamless connectivity. And in general, by providing objective and transparent data, MedUX helps promote fair competition and improve the overall quality of mobile services.

The 5G QoE Benchmark report will be published after the MWC23.

 

 
 

  To learn more about our 5G QoE benchmark, our 5G use cases on competitive intelligence, pre-rollout analytics, and basic troubleshooting, and how it can benefit your business, please visit our website or contact us directly at hello@medux.com.

 

 

 

About us

MedUX is the leading Quality of Experience (QoE) company, providing comprehensive and innovative solutions for measuring the performance of fixed, mobile, and TV telecommunications networks for telecom operators, governments, and digital enterprises. With a focus on delivering grand scale, end-to-end network, and service visibility, MedUX leverages real-time customer perspective data and advanced analytics to ensure quality and regulatory compliance, while also offering valuable insights for optimizing networks and improving customer experiences. With a presence in over 25 countries across Europe, America, Africa, and the Middle East, and monitoring over 60 operators worldwide, MedUX's patented technology and expertise make it a trusted partner for improving the digital experiences of customers everywhere.   

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

ALL COPYRIGHTS AND TRADEMARKS ARE RESERVED. This article or report has been prepared for the exclusive use and benefit of press media and solely for non-commercial purposes. Press media members are authorized to entirely or partially disseminate, refer, quote, copy, reproduce, distribute, publish, and transfer the report and its findings (including all intellectual property rights, data, content graphs, and analysis) for information purposes with express attribution to MedUX. Use of the report and its findings, entirely or partially, in any form or by any means, by any other third party or for any other purposes (including, commercial or marketing purposes), without the prior written consent of MedUX, is strictly prohibited. Operators can make a request to MedUX for a license to use quality or certification seals, as well as marketing rights to quote the findings. Non-authorized use will be considered a violation of copyright and trademark laws.

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