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Bottlenecks for service delivery

We often see comparisons of top or average speeds available in various countries and different operators. Yet, what speeds do people actually need from the network? If an operator’s network offers e.g. 20 Mbps download speeds on average, how often would people need such speeds in real life usage?

Netradar analyzed mobile device and application network usage. We were interested to know how often the mobile network is a bottle neck for service delivery as seen through the eyes of consumers. Various applications have differing requirements on the connectivity – just compare web-browsing, streaming music, watching a movie or doing file download from a cloud storage.

We went through nearly 40 million connections made in July-October 2017 around Europe. Specifically we compared the capacity requested by end user application with actual capacity delivered by the mobile network. Ultimately we concluded on how often the network was a bottleneck.

Overall the mobile network is 21.9% of the time a bottleneck for service performance (application requested data is higher than network was able to deliver).

In Finland, typical mobile user transmits almost 10GB of data over the mobile connection every month (highest in the world). This is almost an order of magnitude more than the global average. Although average network speed was 21,2 Mbit/s, still 26.9% of the time network was not able to deliver all the data what was requested by the application in question. In comparison, e.g. in Norway, the average network speed is lower, but the network delivers more often the performance needed by the end user. The difference lies in how people use their mobile devices and the mobile network – we’ll come back to this in the future, stay tuned.

Operators in Finland have done significant investments in their networks, but the question remains if these investments have been put into right places. Difference between theoretical network speed and actual service performance can vary drastically. Strategic investment decisions need to be done leveraging insights on market and competitive context and most importantly taking into consideration demands of consumers and corporate users.

With the Netradar hybrid measurement technology, we are able to analyze very deeply the users’ needs vs. what the network ultimately offers.