Monday 31 August 2020

Is Saudi Arabia Winning the 5G Race?

Opensignal has analysed the real-world 5G experience of their users across mobile operators in a number of countries globally. In an article they have compared 5G users’ overall experience across 12 of the world’s leading 5G markets. Surprisingly there is no Japan or China in the list but you still have other big players.

The article states:

Globally, our 5G users in Saudi Arabia see the fastest overall average download speed with a Download Speed Experience of 144.5 Mbps ahead of Canada’s 5G users in second place with 90.4 Mbps. Strikingly, 5G Users in the country with the highest adoption of 5G to date, South Korea, rank just third. Our 5G users in the U.K. have the slowest overall Download Speed Experience with a score of 32.6 Mbps because the 4G experience greatly brings down the overall score. Download Speed Experience – 5G Users takes into account the average 3G and 4G Download Speed that 5G users see, as well as their average 5G Download Speed and time connected to each type of network to reveal the overall download speed experience.

When we consider the average download speed using 5G technology we see a very different story. While Saudi Arabia remains in first place, South Korea jumps to second place with average 5G Download speeds of a staggering 312.7 Mbps — over five times faster than South Korea’s already fast 4G speeds. The U.K. moves up the rankings with the U.S., Netherlands and Germany now dropping into the last three positions.

The modest 5G Download Speeds in the U.S. are due to a combination of the limited amount of new mid-band 5G spectrum that is available and the popularity of low-band spectrum – T-Mobile’s 600MHz and AT&T’s 850MHz – which offer excellent availability and reach but lower average speeds than the 3.5GHz mid-band spectrum used as the main 5G band in every country outside of the U.S. However, Verizon’s mmWave-based 5G service offers very considerably faster average 5G Download Speeds of 494.7 Mbps in our recent U.S. report, which is faster than the average 5G download speeds Opensignal has seen on any operator, or in any country to date including Saudi Arabia. 

The amount of time users spend connected to 5G – 5G Availability – is an important factor in the overall experience 5G users enjoy. We are still in the early stages of a 5G era that will last for at least a decade because the first 5G services launched only in 2019, and in a number of countries we continue to see 5G services aimed at smartphone users launching for the first time.

STC, Saudi Arabia was one of the first operators to roll out 5G. Another OpenSignal report back in April about the Video experience in Saudi was a bit critical of the experience there. It said:

Our first look at our new Games Experience metric at the operator level in Saudi Arabia, reveals that all three operators have much work still to do before they can provide their mobile gamers with an experience free of connectivity issues. Both STC and Zain fall into Very Poor for this measure of the mobile experience, while the winner, Mobily, is just ahead with a score of 42.5, which places it in the Poor category.

While that report focused heavily on 4G, things may yet change with 5G.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has launched a public consultation setting out its five-year outlook on radio spectrum for commercial and innovative use. The consultation invites views on a range of measures, with the aim of enabling the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a leading digital society in alignment with the goals of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and CITC's recently approved National Spectrum Strategy.

In this consultation, CITC is proposing to release more than 10 GHz of additional radio spectrum by 2024 across a wide range of frequency bands to cater to the needs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, accelerate innovation and create a thriving environment for emerging radio technologies. Through this consultation, CITC is inviting all interested parties, both locally and internationally, to provide their views and input on the future of this unprecedented spectrum release. Views are welcome from local and international telecom and technology providers, industrial stakeholders, public entities and members of the public as well as consumers of telecom and digital services.

The PDF is available here and this picture below from that summarises the details of current IMT spectrum assignments in Saudi Arabia.

As you can see, the 3 main operators have a good chunk of spectrum below 1 GHz as well as in the 3.6 GHz band. This definitely gives them an edge in 5G as compared to others.

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Tuesday 25 August 2020

5G in Israel ... still coming soon

Israel has a highly developed economy and one of its major sectors revolves around high technology products, primarily used in the medical, biotechnology, agricultural, materials and military industries. Israel also attracts investment in its cyber-security industry and has established itself as a hub for thousands of start-up companies.

To underpin these advanced developments; Israel is developing a robust telecoms sector. It has a high household internet penetration rate, almost all of which are broadband connections and fibre-network deployment is well underway, led by the Israel Broadband Company (IBC).

When we last wrote about Israel back in 2019, we were expecting 5G to be available by now. Coverage of 4G in Israel is significant and the regulator is forging ahead with a planned auction of 5G spectrum. The regulator has offered financial incentives to encourage operators to participate. The operators have also seen a flurry of merger and acquisition activity over the last 6 or so months.

Israel has five main network operators: Cellcom, Partner (formerly Orange), Pelephone, Golan Telecom and HOT Mobile.

2G and 3G: GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 2100 MHz like in most of Europe with additional 850/900 MHZ. Most of the country is covered aside from parts in the unsettled north of the desert in the south, but mostly there is full coverage of the country. 4G/LTE: LTE works in most big cities on 1800 MHz (band 3) and there are plans to add 2600 MHz (band 7) to all networks in the future.

Cellcom is one of the historical providers. Shops and reloads can be found everywhere. They still have the most customers in the country on their network. Cellcom's prepaid plan is called "TalkMan" and referred as the generic word for prepaid cards in Israel.

The Israeli Ministry of Communications have accepted Cellcom’s request that Golan Telecom will merge with Cellcom but remain a virtual carrier and an active player in the market under Cellcom's wing.

The merged company will be the largest in Israel's mobile market, with some 3.6 million subscribers, a clear lead over the number two, Partner, which was not far behind Cellcom’s 2.7 million before the merger. It was in February 2020 that Cellcom announced that it would buy Golan Telecom at a valuation of about $216.3 million at current exchange rates.

Partner, formerly known as Orange, is another historical provider. They are owned by local Partner Communications, who used the Orange brand under license until 2016, but have rebranded getting rid of the orange color.

Partner is the second-largest mobile operator, and has been reported to be paying together with HOT Mobile, 62.3 million shekels for its frequencies. Partner operates a joint radio network with HOT, a subsidiary of telecoms and cable group Altice Europe.

Pelephone is the oldest operator in Israel, founded in 1986. It was a CDMA only network from 1998 until 2009 when it became a GSM compatible 3G/4G network, that means that only GSM phones supporting 3G on 850 and 2100 MHz or 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz can use it. Today it is the only network without 2G coverage in Israel since the 2G CDMA network has been shut down in July 2017.

HOT Mobile together with Golan Telecom (another operator which is hard to use for foreigners) started a "mobile revolution" in Israel in 2012. They are 3G and 4G-only networks, but there is a national network sharing agreement with Partner, so you get full coverage including 2G fallback. You may need to enable data roaming on your phone to get stable internet connection all over Israel, without surcharges. 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz on Partner network, 3G on 900 MHz (through Partner) and on 2100 MHz (own network). 4G/LTE started recently on own 1800 MHz network.

Golan Telecom started offering own prepaid plans under the brand GolanTalk from June 2018.
Golan Telecom has now been sold to rival Cellcom. So it can be expected that Golan Telecom will be merged to the Cellcom network soon.

In their first operator-level outlook on the Israeli mobile market, Open Signal found no single dominant operator across the mobile network experience metrics. Four of the awards — Video Experience, Games Experience, Voice App Experience and Download Speed Experience — resulted in a tie between two or three operators, while the three clear wins — Upload Speed Experience, 4G Availability, 4G Coverage Experience — were achieved by three different operators.

Partner appeared to be the best-placed operator in our award table with four draws and one clear win, but Pelephone and Hot Mobile also won one metric each and drew in another two. Golan Telecom drew in Voice App Experience — the only three-way draw — while Cellcom was the only operator which did not win or draw for any of the awards.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Ireland's new 5-year Roadmap to bring 5G connectivity to the nation

Ireland’s telecom market has been boosted by the economic recovery seen during the last few years, emerging from a period in which it had been held back by low broadband uptake, reduced investment among operators and lower spending among consumers. This optimism has been seen in operator investment in extending fibre-based networks providing 1Gb/s services, in the government progressing with the national Broadband Plan (with the NBI starting work on the network build in January 2020) and with plans to auction spectrum in a range of bands suitable for 5G services later in 2020.

However the current outbreak of the Coronavirus is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

There are three main operators in the Republic of Ireland: Vodafone (Ireland), Hutchison 3 (= Three),
and eir (previously Meteor).

In terms of mobile broadband subscriptions, Vodafone had the largest share with 46.3 per cent. Three’s market share was rose from 37.2 per cent to 40.4 per cent while Eir’s declined to 13.1 per cent from 15.4 per cent in 2019.

4G/LTE is on 800 MHz (B20) and 1800 MHz (B3). Eir was the first to offer 4G/LTE in 2013 to be followed by Vodafone Three started its LTE network in 2014. 5G started in 2019 on eir and Vodafone on n78 (3500 MHz) in very limited areas, but so far not available on prepay plans.

Vodafone has the most subscribers in the country with a good coverage and speeds on 2G, 3G and 4G. Open Signal's most recent report also confirms Vodafone performing well in most of their categories.

Vodafone claims to cover 99% of the population by 4G/LTE in 2020. 5G has started in 2019 on n78, but is not yet available for prepaid.

Vodafone Ireland anticipates they will have 30% population 5G coverage by March 2021 thanks to new technology called dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). The technology, provided by Ericsson’s Spectrum Sharing, will allow the mobile operator to deliver both 4G and 5G speeds on the same spectrum using existing antenna infrastructure.

By the end July 2020, Vodafone said DSS will be deployed in 57 sites across 11 counties – Cork, Cavan, Galway, Dublin, Roscommon, Kerry, Limerick, Meath, Mayo, Offaly and Wicklow. Further expansion will be rolled out in the years ahead.

After the acquisition of O2 by Three, Hutchison merged the two brands in 2015. This has been largely a re-branding exercise and the networks have been fully united in the following years. Customers of both networks have been experiencing some problems during the merger, as it requires Three to built some new base stations and all the associated back-haul capacity while they will also consolidate some of their existing sites.

3G coverage can be very good in very isolated and remote areas due to the (now defunct) NBS government subsidy to help serve these areas, but this coverage is in 3G only on 2100 MHz which gives poor indoor coverage. Three operates 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz (B3) and 800 MHz (B20) in some rural areas. Occasionally, you will be switched to HSDPA even though 4G+ coverage is present. In that case, reconnecting to the network (e.g. by going into flight mode for a few seconds) should get you connected to 4G again. Three claims to cover 97% of the population by 4G in 2020.

Eir, a trading name of Eircom, its mobile brand was Meteor until 2017. Eir has the third-largest market share in the mobile market and its parent company has the advantage of owning a nationwide fibre backbone, enabling it to offer fast data speeds at a good coverage.

In 2013, Eir became the first operator to commercially launch LTE/4G capability in Ireland. In April 2020 Eir claims 98% coverage and 99% of the population by LTE.

Eir’s 5G roll-out was also confirmed to be expanded by a further 20 towns by April of this year, on top of the 20 towns and cities already announced. The company aims to have 100 additional sites operational by the end of 2020.

Eir’s expansion of its existing 4G infrastructure was also confirmed, with the addition of 500 sites. Its aim is to achieve 99% geographical coverage of Ireland, with only three counties so far meeting this target. However, it said that its reach nationally currently stands at 92%. The company’s population coverage currently sits at 98% across Ireland. With regards to the use of Huawei for its 5G radio infrastructure,  Eir are “very happy with them as a supplier”.

In a new discussion document titled, "5G and Future Connectivity - An Emerging Framework for Irish Cities and Towns", mobile operators, telecoms vendors, and city authorities were polled. It says national and local government must be proactive and coordinated, and proposes a National Working Group to collate infrastructure assets and navigate rollout of 5G networks, for usage by the public, as well as by smart cities, enterprises, and Industry 4.0 operatives. The state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) must also be closely engaged, to resolve unmetered power issues for the installation of small cells on unmetered supply.

A neutral host model, where open 5G radio infrastructure is shared by these various groups, should be followed across Ireland, it suggests. It recommends a neutral host model — available in “many flavours”, but geared so a  local authority works with a facilitating entity who manages small cells affixed to city asset — over a shared infrastructure model, where multiple equipment from different operators resides on a single city asset, and an ‘exclusive concession’, where one operator gains exclusive access to city assets.

The document states: “It is an attractive model from a local authority perspective seeing that the neutral host network will rely on single equipment and devices compared to multiple such installations. This is especially true in high footfall areas of cities and towns where there is risk of limited number of assets for installation, and potential ‘visual pollution’ from too many deployments as seen in the following graphics.”

It notes: “The neutral host model also comes with additional costs and technical risks for operators which will require a lot more upskilling across the wider telecoms sector, which are likely to be offset by reduced infrastructure and maintenance costs.”

Dublin City Council has already been trialling a neutral host model in the city’s docklands, as part of a research and industry partnership between CONNECT and Dense Air, a subsidiary of network infrastructure vendor Airspan. The project is designed to hasten network densification in support of in-building connectivity, IoT implementations, wireless backhaul and boosting carrier services.

Dense Air controls its own mid-band spectrum in Ireland, as well as in Belgium, Portugal, New Zealand, and Australia. The company provides neutral host network services “designed to improve coverage and capacity in locations that are technically difficult or commercially uneconomic to support,” according to its website.

But a nationwide neutral host strategy within Irish cities and towns would require local authorities to engage with third-party operators through the development of a public/private partnership (PPP) to help fund, operate and maintain the network for ‘open access’, notes the document. “Collaboration with a third-party operator would enable local authorities to explore opportunities to generate new revenue streams from the neutral host network,” it says.

Indeed, local authorities will play an instrumental role in Ireland’s “path to 5G”, the report says, by virtue of their operational influence and ownership of assets such as poles, ducting, and street furniture in key locations.

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Saturday 15 August 2020

How many 5G Cell Towers & Base Stations Worldwide?

A question I often see people ask is how many cell towers / base stations are there worldwide? Surprisingly this information is not as easy to obtain as you may think initially. We can use this chart from a Light Reading webinar as a starting point:

Many years back someone explained a rule of thumb to me. There is on an average 1 site for every 1000 subscribers. With roughly 8 billion subscribers, this will amount to 8 million sites.

Omdia statistics from above says that there are 7 million physical sites and 10 million logical sites. As there are many sites hosting infrastructure from multiple operators, the number of logical sites are more than the number of physical sites.

In addition there will be small cells mounted on lamp posts, side of the buildings, indoors, etc. that generally may not be included in the count mainly.

When it comes to base stations, there is a debate on what is included. For example on a tower hosting multiple operators, each of them will have their own Baseband Unit (BBU), so this is multiple base stations. If for an operator, there are multiple generations of technologies and within each of these generation, multiple frequencies, sectors, etc. Do they count as a single base station or multiple?

Then there are towers and masts. Wikipedia nicely explains that "The terms "mast" and "tower" are often used interchangeably. However, in structural engineering terms, a tower is a self-supporting or cantilevered structure, while a mast is held up by stays or guys."

So coming back to 5G, how many base stations have been rolled out in the major markets?


In an earlier post on NTT Docomo, we pointed out that Docomo coverage is forecast to increase from 500 base stations in 150 locations to 10,000 sites (in about 500 cities) by June 2021 and 20,000 by March 2022.

According to Tefficient, Rakuten had 5739 LTE base stations on air at the end of June. The three incumbent operators have roughly 200000 LTE base stations each.

South Korea

South Korea were the first to launch commercial 5G by all operators in the country. As of July 2020, they had 121,000 5G base stations


Back in December last year, Global Times reportedthere are currently approximately 6 million 4G base stations worldwide, more than half of which are in China and about 300,000 in the US. Why does China have so many base stations? This is because of a nation-level project in China in 2003. The project required that more than 95 percent of remote mountainous areas should be covered with communication signals and the fees must not be higher than those in urban areas.

In an earlier post we reported, the total number of 4G base stations in the first half of 2019 was 2.71 million including a net addition of 300,000, providing robust support for the development of large volumes of data traffic business.

European 5G observatory reported that China intends to have 600,000 5G base stations by the end of 2020. According to RCR wireless, Chinese telcos have already deployed over 20,000 5G base stations in Shanghai.

According to Tefficient, China Mobile had 188k 5G base stations in June 2020. So China then had a total of 398k 5G base stations

This video from CGTN a few months back gives some good info on the Chinese 5G deployments.

There isn't information available from other countries. If available in the next few months, I may add them here.

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Monday 10 August 2020

The Many Firsts of STC Kuwait

Kuwait is a small country with a small population. Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country with expatriates constituting 70% Of Kuwait's population. With these facts, one could be forgiven if they are completely unaware of how three innovative operators are trying to do some amazing stuff here.

STC Kuwait was called Viva Kuwait and was re-branded last year as we blogged here. In one of our recent posts, we explained the 5G scene in Kuwait. Kuwait has a very competitive landscape with Zain, Ooredoo & STC all vying to be number 1. In their annual report, Zain claims to be the largest operator with 38% subscribers while STC is smallest with 27%. In you look at the picture above, STC claims to have 33% market share, putting all the three operators at par with each other.

Ahmed Al Sharif, General Manager, Network at STC Kuwait recently did Service Provider Keynote at 5G Mena. His talk, embedded below talks about many different innovations STC is doing in Kuwait.

As can be seen in the pictures above, STC was first with nation wide 5G network, first with FDD 8T8R globally and first with CA & VoLTE globally. They have LTE TDD + TDD NR with dual connectivity. Their press release from back in Feb this year provides a lot of details.

stc - Kuwait, a world-class digital leader providing innovative services and platforms to customers enabling the digital transformation in Kuwait, announced today the deployment of an E2E 5G SA solution from Devices to Network and billing with the ability to simultaneously support both 5G Non-Stand Alone (NSA) and 5G Stand Alone (SA).

This initiative builds on stcs partnership and vision to collaborate with Huawei to deliver an agile, cloud native, next generation 5G network that gives stc the ability to introduce new 5G services and experiences with the shortest time to market. With the best 5G wireless coverage by end of 2019, stc - Kuwait updated its wireless network seamlessly to support the SA NSA terminals. stc Kuwaits 5G core network platform is fully designed with containerized micro service architecture making it truly Cloud Native. The hardware of platform is MENA first running on the innovative disruptive next generation ARM V8 architecture powered by Huawei servers which have been specifically designed to meet the needs of the ICT industry especifically as we enter the 5G era.

These ARM based servers are able to leverage their abilities in providing a highly scalable, massively dense, power efficient 5G Core to stc - Kuwait based on the industry standard 5G reference architecture ensuring an open and rich ecosystem.

stc - Kuwait also upgraded its billing system to further support multi-dimensional, multi-scenario charging for consumer, home and corporates. Collaborating with 5G SA technology, stc currently has an end to end network ready with an initial focus on eMBB and is looking forward to the industry to standardize mMTC uRLLC.

stc Kuwait CEO, engineer Maziad Alharbi said, 5G is where the aspiration of the enterprising business and the magical consumer use cases will for the first time become reality. We are able to provide guaranteed SLAs through SA, especially the enhancement in uplink to support our Dedicated Access offering to enterprises. It is now possible with 5G to see stc pave the way for users to experience low latency and massive connections to become a reality in Kuwait.

He added, This is why stc has partnered with Huawei to design and deliver a network that considers the latest trends and utilizes evolutionary learning systems to provide an unmatched user experience. A safe and secure digital ecosystem where industries and consumers can benefit from with services tailored to their needs. We hope to welcome everyone to experience this end to end 5G SA with us.

Here is a keynote video:

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Wednesday 5 August 2020

Excellent Video / Gaming Experience on 4G has set High Expectations for 5G in Austria

Austria’s very competitive mobile market is dominated by the three operators:
  • 3 (Drei) Austria (Orange and "3" merged in 2013 into one network and the Orange brand name was dropped, but still two different "3" networks are shown when you make a scan).
  • Magenta Telekom (T-Mobile was rebranded to Magenta Telekom in May 2019 as a result of the merger with the cable-company UPC.) 
  • Telekom Austria’s own unit A1. 
However, the market also benefits from a growing number of new entrants in the MVNO sector, which collectively have about 7% of the market by subscribers. The growth in the MVNO sector is partly due to regulatory concessions by which 3 Austria, as a condition of its take-over of Orange Austria, was obliged to provide a third of its network capacity to support up to 16 MVNOs.

Mobile coverage is excellent for a country with difficult topography and similar to Switzerland on a very high level. In 4G/LTE all three networks cover more than 98%. This survey follows the historical order mostly used in the country and is no ranking. 5G/NR was launched on all three networks in 2019/2020 but isn't open to pre-paid customers for now.

The competitive environment has led to relatively low ARPU for operators, as well as some of the region’s lowest tariffs for consumers. The operators’ LTE networks have benefited from regulatory measures which have allowed operators to refarm existing 2G and 3G spectrum for LTE, while spectrum in the 700MHz has also been set aside for mobile broadband use once this band is released from broadcasters.

In March 2019, the regulator concluded an auction of spectrum in the 3.4-3.6Hz range to be used for 5G services. Investment among MNOs has been focussed on 5G, and by early 2020 5G services were available in a large number of localities. A multi-spectrum auction was planned for mid-2020 including the sale of the 700MHz, 1500MHz and 2100MHz bands however this has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drei Austria (called 'drei' spoken like 'dry' for 3) used to be the smallest network in the country until they bought Orange and merged in 2013 to become a very competitive player. 4G/LTE is on 1800 MHz (B3) and 2100 MHz (B1) nationwide as well as 900MHz (B8), 2600 MHz (B7) & 2600 MHz (TDD B38) in some areas and covers already 98% of population.

Their market share is now on par with T-Mobile and network coverage and speeds are on par with A1 in 2017 on a high level. In the meantime, Drei has opened 4G/LTE for most of their prepaid plans. They offer the lowest rates of any network operator. 3 offers domestic roaming with the "3-AT" (Magenta 2G) network.

 Drei ended last year with approximately 100 5G base stations across the country. Some of the cities in which the operator provides 5G are Linz, Pörtschach, Wörgl, Leoben, as well as in parts of Graz and Vienna.

At ZTE’s Global Wireless User Congress and 5G Summit, the Chinese vendor and Drei Austria also jointly demonstrated what they claim is the industry’s first end-to-end network slicing operation. One smart bionic mechanical dog equipped with 5G CPE for a data connection showed different potential application scenarios, such as rescuing, security patrol and guarding home. Together with 8k UHD video, drone and high-speed download services, a panoramic view of the future life with 5G was shaped (see video above).

Deutsche Telekom rebranded T-Mobile Austria to the Magenta brand in May 2019. The new operator is called Magenta Telekom and is considered to have good coverage within the country on 4G, GSM and UMTS, slightly behind A1 and Drei, but still on a generally high level. 4G/LTE is available on 800 MHz (B20) nationwide except for some bigger cities, 1800 MHz (B3) for smaller and bigger cities, 2100 MHz (B1) in more and more places as well as 2600 MHz (B7) in bigger cities. It covers 97% of the population in 2019.

T-Mobile Austria spent 57 million euros at the Austrian spectrum auction and launched 5G services in March 2019, activating the first 25 5G base stations, primarily in rural regions. And announced around a billion euros in total between 2018 and 2021 to guarantee that Austria has a powerful broadband infrastructure, both mobile and landline.

T-Mobile is already offering 5G coverage at over 600 locations across the country, the operator said in a release. Their 5G coverage currently reaches around 25% of the country’s households and businesses.T-Mobile Austria expects to deploy 5G in 1,200 locations in all federal provinces by the end of this year, resulting in a nationwide coverage of 40%.

A1 Telekom Austria is still the biggest telecommunication provider in the country with a very high standard. 4G/LTE is available on 800 MHz (B20) nationwide, 1800 MHz (B3) in smaller and bigger cities as well as 2600 MHz (B7) in bigger cities, covering 98% of population in 2019.

A1 had commercially launched its 5G services in January 2020. At the time of the launch, the carrier said its 5G network will cover 350 locations across 129 municipalities in Austria. The operator claimed its “A1 5Giganetwork” will be the largest 5G network in Austria, spanning 54,000 square kilometer. A1 had acquired 5G spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band in March 2019.

According to the most recent Open Signal report on Austria the mobile network experience shows that the country’s mobile experience is very mature, with users seeing high 4G Availability in excess of 90% and fast sub-35ms latencies. Download speeds are also impressive, ranging from 46.8 Mbps for users on A1 to 29.2 Mbps on Magenta, while users across all three networks have observed an Excellent Video Experience.

Mobile gaming has become increasingly important to operators, with many of them, including 3, looking to cloud gaming as a use for the latest 5G networks. Opensignal’s latest metric, Games Experience is a measure of how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s network. 

Users on all three of Austria’s nationwide networks observed a Good Games Experience. This means most users deemed the experience acceptable. It also indicates that the gameplay experience is generally controllable and the user receives immediate feedback between their actions and the outcomes in the game. Most users did not experience a delay between their actions and the game.

All three of Austria’s nationwide operators have launched 5G and while it will take some time for it to be rolled out across the country, it will be interesting to see what further improvements greater 5G  availability brings to the Austrian mobile network experience.