State of Mobile Experience
In our annual benchmark report for Saudi Arabia, we have evaluated 2.1 million speed and latency tests, conducted on the smartphones of real-world users of national mobile operators within Common Coverage Areas, between May and October 2021.
In our first ever State of Mobile Experience report for Saudi Arabia, Tutela takes a deep dive into its telecoms industry and the performance of its operators. On a global scale, Saudi Arabia placed joint 55th along with Qatar and Georgia out of the top 100 countries in Tutela’s latest Global State of Mobile Experience report, with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 54.7%.
With 5G dominating the headlines across the world, Saudi Arabia has made great strides by expanding this new technological service to 60 governorates. STC has also expanded its partnership with Ericsson for the 5G Core network that will support both 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) in addition to 4G.
In early November, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund was considering a merger of mobile infrastructure between STC and Zain in order to cut down on overlapping towers owned by both firms, and in turn, make it more cost-effective to invest in coverage and mobile speed internet upgrades.
Date range: 1 May 2021 - 31 October 2021
Download & response tests = 2.1 million
STC is providing its mobile users the best mobile experience in Common Coverage Areas across Saudi Arabia, with the operator having the highest Excellent Consistent Quality. STC also had the greatest coverage in Saudi Arabia for both 4G/5G and total and also had the greatest 5G coverage. The operator also had the highest video experience score.
On a 5G network, Mobily had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality and Core Consistent Quality in Common Coverage Areas across Saudi Arabia. The operator also had the highest Core Consistent Quality and second highest coverage in the country for both 4G/5G and total coverage.
While Zain may have had the lowest overall mobile experience in the country, the operator did show promise in the 5G-only metrics: Zain had the second highest Core Consistent Quality on a 5G network and had the second greatest 5G coverage at 61 out of 100.
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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 Saudi Arabia, STC had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality with 64.1% of connections good enough for demanding applications like 1080p video streaming, HD group video calling, and real time mobile gaming. In second place, Mobily had an Excellent Consistent Quality of 63.7%, while Zain had the lowest Excellent Consistent Quality at 26.6%, 37.5% behind first place STC.
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, no operator reached the 90% threshold. However, all three operators were much closer in performance with Mobily out in front at 83.6%, with STC only 2.9% behind the operator and Zain 11% behind.
Mobily had the highest Excellent Consistent Quality on a 5G network at 75.1%, while STC was in second place with an Excellent Consistent Quality of 68.5%. Zain had the lowest Excellent Consistent Quality on a 5G network at 49.9%, 25.2% behind Mobily.
Mobily also had the highest Core Consistent Quality on a 5G network and narrowly missed the 90% threshold at 89.3%. Only 3.1% separated second place Zain from Mobily, while STC had the lowest Core Consistent Quality on a 5G network at 82.7%; however, this is only a difference of 6.6% between the operator and first place Mobily.
STC had the greatest relative area coverage in Saudi Arabia, with a 4G/5G coverage score of 597 and a total coverage score of 740. In our recently introduced metric that measures 5G coverage, the operator again scored highest with 84 points.
Mobily was in second place with a 4G/5G coverage score of 451, 146 points behind STC. The operator was also in second place with a total coverage score of 548 lagging behind STC by 192 points. Mobily placed third for 5G coverage scoring 51 out of 100, lagging behind STC by 23 points. This substantial difference between the two operators demonstrates that Mobily still has some catching up to do when it comes to expanding its network coverage.
Zain placed third for 4G/5G and total coverage scoring 422 and 544, respectively. The operator was only 4 points behind Mobily and narrowly missed second place for total coverage while it had a 5G coverage score of 61, outperforming Mobily in this category by 10 points.
Expanding coverage especially through the deployment of more 5G is a crucial step for operators in today’s 5G era to remain competitive in the market and Saudi operators are certainly taking positive steps towards that goal.
In Tutela’s newest metric, Video Experience Score evaluates the quality of experience subscribers get while video streaming and is calculated on a scale of 1-5. STC continued to be the leader in this category as well with a video score of 3.8 closely followed by Zain at 3.6. Mobily narrowly missed second place with a video experience score of 3.5.
|Download % above 5 Mbps||88.7%||90.7%||77.9%|
|Upload % above 1.5 Mbps||93.5%||95.1%||93.7%|
|Latency % below 50 ms||93.6%||97.3%||51.3%|
|Jitter % below 12 ms||93.1%||97.0%||88.9%|
|Packet discard % below 1%||92.1%||87.4%||79.8%|
|Download % above 5 Mbps||97.0%||98.7%||97.9%|
|Upload % above 1.5 Mbps||98.4%||98.0%||97.8%|
|Latency % below 50 ms||97.7%||98.8%||72.3%|
|Jitter % below 12 ms||95.6%||97.0%||93.8%|
|Packet discard % below 1%||89.7%||83.8%||83.6%|