Global State of Mobile Experience

2021 Annual Report

In our annual Global State of Mobile Experience report for 2021, Tutela has analyzed the experience mobile users receive across the world both in terms of overall mobile experience and video experience. In this report, we have highlighted the worlds top 30 countries and operators in each category. To produce this report, over two billion network performance tests were taken by crowdsourcing from over 830 million mobile users globally.

Our focus in this analysis has been to look at the overall mobile experience that users receive (on average, across each operator or country). This analysis uses Tutela's Excellent Consistent Quality metric which measures how often (as a percentage) that the network delivered a performance that was good enough to deliver a good experience for high requirement applications, such as group video conferencing and gaming that require good speeds (upload and download); a responsive network (low latency, low packet loss) that is also reliable (how often it works). This is different from measuring download speed alone, to show a complete picture of mobile experience.

 

Key findings

Danish operator TDC NET outperformed operators around the world with best mobile experience

  • TDC NET in Denmark delivered the best mobile experience in the world, based on Tutela's Excellent Consistent Quality metric which rates networks on overall mobile experience. TDC NET was closely followed by T-Mobile Netherlands and Telenor Norway.

Denmark was the clear winner with the best mobile experience across the globe

  • The top 5 countries for mobile experience are Denmark, Finland, South Korea, Netherlands and Austria. Their citizens enjoy a good mobile experience more consistently than other countries.

SoftBank Japan and Elisa Finland were joint winners for best video experience

  • In terms of video experience, Japan's SoftBank leads the world, with the highest video experience score. They are closely followed by Elisa in Finland and NTT docomo in Japan. Tutela's Video Experience Score is determined by assessing the video performance of millions of video's played on iOS and Android mobile devices globally.


Over the last 20 months, the world has been fighting a battle against the COVID-19 pandemic that confined everyone to their homes. During these trying times, technology, especially telecommunication services, played a critical role in facilitating and supporting various aspects and activities in our lives. As people worked, studied and connected with loved ones from home, dependence on data increased substantially. The Ericsson Mobility Report 2021 reported that the global data traffic at the end of 2020 was 49 EB (49 billion gigabytes) per month and is forecast to reach 237 EB (237 billion gigabytes) per month in 2026. 

With a projected increase in consumption of such volume to continue, it is essential for mobile network operators to provide a network that is robust and reliable. With rising demand, particularly for use-cases such as video conferencing, streaming and gaming, customer expectations have also evolved. 

Customers are looking for a holistic experience that is not just fast, but also seamless and without interruption.

Tutela therefore gauges mobile experience using a composite metric, Consistent Quality, which includes multiple KPIs that affect user experience such as download speed, upload speed, latency and packet loss. For this report, we have used the upper "Excellent Consistent Quality" KPI which represents how often connections are good enough for demanding applications like HD video streaming, HD group video calling and real time mobile gaming. 

Further, our Video Experience Score provides an overall experience metric calculated from the performance of millions of video's played on real users mobile devices.

The report includes a list of top 30 countries and operators ranked according to Excellent Consistent Quality as well as top 30 operators ranked based on their Video Experience Score. 

To produce this report, Tutela used 2.3 billion speed and latency tests conducted on the smartphones of real-world users between August 21st, 2020 and August 20th, 2021.

 



Mobile Experience - Top 30 Countries

Top 100 ranking available here.

Denmark was the global leader in mobile experience with the highest Excellent Consistent Quality result of 86.16% followed by Finland and South Korea that tied statistically for the second place. Netherlands and Austria were the other two countries in the top five leader board with scores of 85.38% and 83.02% respectively. European countries dominated in the next five positions as well with an exception of Japan that tied statistically with Switzerland for sixth place. Country award
In the case of Excellent Consistent Quality, European countries, especially Nordic countries, outshone others. While four out of five countries in the top five were from Europe, there was one Asian country, South Korea, that made the list.Outside of Europe, Oceania and North America had a couple of countries each that made the top thirty list. In Oceania, Australia had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality at 78.12% tying with North Macedonia for 14th place. New Zealand was the second country in the list from Oceania with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 75.15% tying for the 22nd position along with Serbia.

In North America, Canada led with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 72.15% placing 28th globally. Surprisingly, the United States missed the top 30 and were placed 31st with a result of 70.71%. In Asia, Singapore was the third country in the list placed 17th statistically tying with Lithuania. Being in the top 30 countries, it is no surprise that the majority of the countries on this list have advanced 5G deployments. For example, Denmark’s TDC NET completed nationwide 5G deployment in December 2020, while Finnish operator Elisa’s 5G network covered 50% of the population in the country expanding to over 100 locations.

 


 

Mobile Experience - Global Top 30 Mobile Operators



For operator level performance, a similar trend emerged with four out of the top five operators being from European countries while the fifth position was bagged by an Asian operator. TDC NET Denmark topped the leader board with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 90.37% followed by T-Mobile Netherlands in second place at 89.70%. Telenor Norway came third at 88.88% closely followed by Vodafone Netherlands at 88.48%. From Asia, South Korean operator SKTelecom secured a place in the top five with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 87.84%. Operator award

 

Overall, while the top 30 list included operators from both Europe and Asia, there was a European dominance with more than 83% of operators located in the continent with operators such as Swisscom, Switzerland, A1 Austria, and Telia Finland securing positions in the top 10 operator rankings.

Other operators from Asia that made the top 30 list included Japanese operator NTT docomo statistically tying with Orange Belgium for 10th place. In 15th place was South Korean operator Olleh (owned by KT Corporation) with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 85.31% followed by au Japan in 16th place which statistically tied with 3 Denmark and ice Norway. Further, SoftBank Japan secured 20th position with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 84.50%, while Singtel Singapore, the last Asian operator in this list, statistically tied with Telia Sweden for the 28th position.

 



Video Experience - Top 30 Global Operators

According to the aforementioned Ericsson mobility report, 66% of global data traffic growth is accounted for by video traffic which the report projects to reach 77% in 2026. Tutela's Video Experience Score gauges the quality of video experience subscribers are receiving. This proprietary algorithm is based on Tutela’s adaptive bitrate video testing (ABR) run on handsets globally and encompasses a range of video specific KPIs such as stall rate, resolution and buffering time. The score is calculated on a score from 0-5 for all adaptive bitrate video tests. Video award

 

This metric was also dominated by operators from Europe and Asia, with more than 75% of operators European. While the scores are extremely close to each other when it comes to rankings, Japanese operator SoftBank and Finnish operator Elisa statistically tied for first place and were clear winners in this category. From Asia, NTT docomo Japan and South Korean operators SK Telecom and olleh were among the top operators.

While the pandemic has greatly increased the need for video-on-demand and video streaming services, it is critical for operators to ensure that their subscribers get a seamless experience. In that, Tutela’s video performance metrics are is a useful tool for operators to measure how they fare when it comes to video experience so that they can make targeted investment in areas that need the most attention.

 



Methodology notes:

Our country level comparison seeks to represent the overall experience of mobile subscribers in a country. Unlike Tutela’s country-level benchmarking reports, country level rankings in the global report includes all results in each country, not just those collected inside of Common Coverage Areas. Country-level results also include measurements taken from users of flanker brands and MVNOs which in some cases are subject to performance limitations. 

For operator level results, subscribers of flanker brands and MVNOs have been excluded to reflect the true experience of subscribers of the operator brand name listed. Results in this report are based on data collected in all areas (not just Common Coverage Areas).

Statistical ties are indicated with an “=” in the country rankings. Cases when a country has error bars overlapping one, but not all, of the countries with the next-highest rank are indicated with a “*”. Also, countries with a population less than 1 million have been excluded from the report due to smaller sample size resulting in higher error margins.

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