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

Published on February 14, 2024
All_5G _networks _are _not _created _equal

Have you ever found yourself wondering which European city enjoys the premier 5G experience? Discover the Real 5G Experience Across Europe.

Curious about which European city offers the best 5G experience? And what makes it stand out? At MedUX, we've taken a deep dive into this question and are excited to share our findings at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona.

Our dedication goes beyond analyzing data; at MedUX we're committed to reshaping how the industry views 5G connectivity. High-capacity networks and universal access are more than just technology goals; they're about ensuring that every user benefits from reliable, fast, and enriching digital experiences that genuinely transform society.

 

5G QoE Benchmark in Europe

 

Moreover, our work aligns with the broader vision of the SDGs 2030, notably in fostering innovation and infrastructure (Goal 9) and in promoting industry and economic growth (Goal 8). Robust 5G connectivity underpins smart cities and communities (Goal 11), enabling sustainable urbanization. It also democratizes access to information and education (Goal 4), bridging the digital divide. By enhancing connectivity, MedUX contributes to building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.

The journey to a fully digital society is picking up speed, thanks to 5G and fiber-based technologies. The 5G rollout remains robust, with strong competition among telecom operators striving to provide not only the fastest networks but also the most reliable, consistent, and satisfactory service as they expand their coverage.

5G has introduced significant improvements over 4G technology. Average 5G speeds are several times faster than 4G, as expected, but there is also a notable improvement in terms of reliability. Greater improvements in time-to-content and therefore in video streaming and gaming experiences are still to be seen with the introduction of 5G SA. We are keeping an eye on this evolution and will bring you updates as it becomes mainstream.

But here's the twist — not all 5G experiences are the same. There's a variation in quality that users feel, and we've set out to uncover why. Our extensive campaign has put Europe's 5G networks under study and benchmark, measuring 5G performance and quality of experience in major European cities, including London (United Kingdom), Berlin and Munich (Germany), Paris (France), Lisbon and Porto (Portugal), Rome and Milan (Italy), and Madrid and Barcelona (Spain).

 

Please, register on our site here for a free copy of our report

 

Our study reveals, through an examination of on-the-field 5G measurements and genuine QoE Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), notable disparities among 5G networks in these major urban areas. Additionally, the investigation indicates that, even within a particular city, the 5G user experience may differ significantly based on the specific location.

While this report offers a comprehensive analysis at the city level to assess overall performance, MedUX also provides in-depth evaluations and statistics at the operator level.

We use our QoE Score, based on international best practices, to compare and rank operators' performance. This synthetic indicator aggregates a wide set of metrics into a single score, allowing for national and international comparison and in-depth analysis of strengths and weaknesses.

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.

Join us in the launch of our report during the MWC24, on Monday, February 26th at 18h in the Spain Pavilion (Hall 4 Stand 4C30-Auditorium).

 

Figure 1. MedUX presentation of 5G QoE Benchmark in Europe in Spain Pavilion

Figure 1. MedUX presentation of 5G QoE Benchmark in Europe in Spain Pavilion

Key findings of our 5G QoE Benchmark in Europe

A lot has changed since our first 5G measurement during the launch of the first 5G networks in Europe, 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?     
 

 

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

  • The best Overall QoE Experience is in Germany. Berlin is the winner of the most important category and our Best QoE Award, showing outstanding stability across most mobile experience categories and KPIs. Barcelona and Paris follow closely 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 frontrunner (Berlin), five contenders ranking in the excellence terrain (Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Milan and Porto), and four runner-ups (Madrid, Rome, London and Munich). All QoE scores are above 4.3 out of scale of 5.

     

    Quality of Experience (QoE) 5G Ranking in Europe

     

  • The most reliable experience is in Italy. Milan leads the Best Reliability Award, the second most important category in the benchmark. The city has the most consistent network performance, with 99.91% successful Internet Sessions, alongside Barcelona (99.82%)
  • Widest 5G coverage is in Portugal. 5G non-standalone (NSA) – i.e., where 5G supplements a 4G network – has scaled significantly in all cities, reaching a 5G registration time over 75% across the panel. Porto has the best 5G coverage, with over 90% technology registration. The study still shows relevant differences between best and worst performers in terms of 5G Availability.
  • The most consistent 5G speeds were observed in Lisbon. Lisbon secured first place both in 5G download and upload speeds. The typical (median) download speed in Lisbon was above 537 Mbps, and the typical upload speed was above 53 Mbps. Porto ranks as the second city in terms of download and upload speeds but is slower than Lisbon by 15% and 33%, respectively.
  • 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 700 Mbps (Lisbon and Porto), and those with speeds in the range of or below 600 Mbps. 
  • Italy is top for 5G Gaming experience. In particular, Milan 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, Milan has the best 5G Gaming experience thanks to a top median latency below 44 ms and a jitter below 36 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 Germany. Berlin is the winner for Data and OTT Experience, including web browsing, social networks, data transfers, and gaming experiences. Berlin has very high reliability and top time-to-content results, for example web browsing loading time below 1550 milliseconds is typically faster than in other cities by 5-25%. 
  • The best Streaming experience is in France. Paris is the winner for Video Experience, shared by Berlin as co-leader, with a 100% reliability rate in streaming sessions, accompanied by the fastest time-to-play of 1496 ms.
  • The best 5G QoE is yet to come. Current 5G networks mostly use NSA EN-DC (TDD in n78 and FDD in n28). Real 5G, SA (TDD in n78) starts to be the norm in some cities, but residual DSS (FDD in n28, n1 and n3 bands) is still visible. 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 2024 be the year of the real 5G?
  • Some 5G challenges ahead for the industry: 5G-capable and SA-capable devices adoption, implementation of 5G core, cloud-native infrastructure, 5G RAN coverage (indoor, outdoor and capacity), OpenRAN, VoNR, 5G FWA, 5G performance uncertainties due to increasing usage and network load, 5G private networks, among others. 
     
 

To sum up, our research underscores the disparity among 5G networks, emphasizing that they are not equally crafted. The TRUE QoE delivered by 5G networks’ performance exhibits notable variations. It is imperative for network operators to heed the insights from this study and exert efforts to enhance the QoE of their 5G networks. This improvement is crucial to stay competitive in the Digital Era and keep pace with the demands of an ever-more connected world.

What do you get by 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 100 Mbps (not yet). End-users just use a small percentage of those headline speeds when web browsing, streaming, and engaging in any other regular internet activities. Indeed, some experience categories such as Reliability (how consistent a network performs) or CDN performance (how your content is served) are way more relevant in the 5G Era than just performing a throughput and ping test against optimized test servers to infer the customer experience.

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

Why Does QoE Matter?

Quality of Service (QoS) has long been the industry standard, but MedUX's focus shifts towards QoE—a more holistic view of network performance. This shift is crucial for understanding the real-world implications of 5G technology, especially as the industry navigates through the nuances of NSA and SA deployments.

In our continuous effort to demystify 5G performance, MedUX employs its innovative mobile measurement technology, MedUX MOBILE, harnessing over 200 performance indicators and metrics. This approach not only offers an in-depth analysis of network performance but also aligns with our mission to assist clients in planning, deploying, monitoring, and optimizing 5G networks from a customer's perspective.

Our 5G QoE benchmark can cover a wide range of scenarios and use cases, including urban, suburban, and rural areas, indoor and outdoor locations, or any other strategic location or vehicles in mobility, such as buses, trains, and metros, thanks to our grand-scale flexible deployment capability. MedUX focuses on evaluating the QoE that mobile end-users have when using telecommunication services, also referred to as customer-perceived network quality or network experience.     
 

 
 

Discover more about our methodologies, insights, and how MedUX is shaping the future of 5G connectivity.

Let’s make time to meet at MWC24. We are ready to unlock extraordinary digital experiences with MedUX. Please visit the following link and book a meeting at MWC24 Barcelona.

To learn more about our 5G use cases on competitive intelligence, pre- and post-rollout analytics, and basic troubleshooting, and how they can benefit your business, please visit our website at www.medux.com.

For detailed insights and comprehensive data from our 5G QoE study, contact us at hello@medux.com.

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About MedUX

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.       
 

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