State of Mobile Experience
In our annual benchmark report for Portugal, we have evaluated over 248,000 speed and latency tests, conducted on the smartphones of real-world users of national mobile operators within Common Coverage Areas, between April and September 2021.
The telecoms industry has had an eventful 18 months as it became an essential service for society across the globe, and the demand for more reliable connectivity and more affordable data packages is not slowing down. In Portugal, operators have not only had to deal with this increasing demand but also trying to implement the latest technologies that other operators across the globe are already providing to its users.
Outside of the pandemic, 5G has dominated the Portuguese news for a long time: After more than a year of discussions and delays, 5G is still yet to be finalized in the country. Dense Air has recently come out in support of Anacom wanting to end the lower bids being submitted in order to speed up the ongoing 5G auction. However, Anacom president has promised that 5G will reach full coverage by 2025. We look forward to analyzing the 5G-related metrics in this report in the near future.
In the first half of 2021, active sims in Portugal were 3.4% higher than the same time last year to 12.5 million users. The number of mobile internet users was reported to be at 8 million, while mobile internet traffic increased by 24.6%.
While there may be an increase in users accessing the internet in Portugal, there is still work to do to make sure all areas of Portugal have equal access. In July, MEO and Vodafone received an extension to their frequency usage rights in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, however the operators must cover 100 parishes with low population density. These parishes will need to receive minimum speeds of 100 Mbps, 56 out of 100 parishes covered by MEO and 44 covered by Vodafone. The Minister of Territorial Cohesion also wants to open an international tender by the end of 2021 for fixed and mobile internet to tackle the absence of of digital connectivity in the interior territory.
In Tutela’s latest Global Mobile Experience report for 2021, Portugal made it onto the top 30 list for the highest Excellent Consistent Quality, with a ranking of 29th equal with Latvia at 71.3%. While Europe dominated the operator-level rankings, none of the Portuguese operators made it onto the top 30 list; however it is a testament to how strong the country is as a whole when it comes to providing a mobile experience to its users that it can keep up with its larger European opponents.
Date range: 1 April 2021 - 30 September 2021
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This report encompasses the following experience KPIs:
To ensure a fair comparison between operator performance, Tutela limits the results used in our comparisons to those collected within Common Coverage Areas.
Learn more about our benchmarking methodology here.
In Common Coverage Areas across Portugal, MEO had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality with 79.6% of connections good enough for demanding applications like 1080p video streaming, HD group video calling and real time mobile gaming. Vodafone was not far behind with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 78.1%, followed by NOS at 75.7%.
For Core Consistent Quality, Tutela’s metric for when a mobile connection meets the requirements for use-cases like SD video streaming, social media sharing and web browsing, Vodafone was the only operator to reach the 90% threshold with a Core Consistent Quality of 91.3%. MEO narrowly missed out with a Core Consistent Quality of 89.9%, followed by NOS at 89.1%.
Vodafone demonstrated the greatest relative coverage in Portugal, with a 4G/5G coverage score of 570 and a total coverage score of 627. With a difference of only 57 points between the two coverage scores, it's pleasing to see that users are covered by the most up to date technologies and are moving away from 3G.
MEO was in second place with a 4G/5G coverage score of 542, only 28 points behind Vodafone. MEO was also in second place with a total coverage score of 603 and only 24 points behind Vodafone. The difference between total coverage and 4G/5G was only 61 points, again showing the progress Portuguese operators have made in switching users over to newer technologies.
In third place for both coverages, NOS had a 4G/5G coverage score of 524, 46 points behind first place Vodafone, and a total coverage score of 572, 55 points behind Vodafone. Despite its third place ranking, NOS has the smallest points difference between 4G/5G and total coverage at 48.
There has been an increased need for on-demand video services over the years, with the pandemic placing extra pressure on the entertainment industry to provide content and the telecoms industry to display this content through reliable connectivity. According to a recent study, one in four citizens over the age of 15 subscribe to streaming services in Portugal.
Because of this increased demand from users, there has been an increased interest from operators to measure the video experience users are having in real-time. Therefore, Tutela has released its newest metric, Video Experience Scores that gauges the quality of video experience subscribers are receiving.
All three operators in Portugal had very close scores, with Vodafone and MEO statistically tying for first place at just over 3.93, while NOS had a Video Experience Score of 3.90.
|Download median||26.4 Mbps +/- 0.18 Mbps||23.0 Mbps +/- 0.19 Mbps||26.0 Mbps +/- 0.19 Mbps|
|Download % above 5 Mbps||91.8%||90.0%||91.6%|
|Upload median||8.6 Mbps +/- 0.08 Mbps||10.1 Mbps +/- 0.09 Mbps||9.3 Mbps +/- 0.10 Mbps|
|Upload % above 1.5 Mbps||95.3%||93.8%||94.9%|
|Latency % below 50 ms||99.7%||99.6%||99.6%|
|Jitter % below 12 ms||97.8%||97.8%||98.6%|
|Packet discard % below 1%||97.9%||95.0%||94.1%|