Study of British, German and Finnish mobile users – Cell vs WIFI


WIFI Often Beats Cell

In the previous post, we looked at mobile usage patterns through-out a day in the United Kingdom, Germany and Finland. We now extend the discussion further to look at performance and quality metrics and data volumes.

Let’s start our analysis with Germany. The following shows the relative data volumes throughout a day (meaning peak is at 1.0 and bottom at 0.0 on the y-axis). In the previous post, we saw that the number of sessions is over cell highest in the late afternoon and late evening for wifi, but clearly the data volume shows a different trend. German use heavier apps in the evenings, e.g. video streaming services or games. Red is cellular and blue is for WIFI. Cellular usage starts to drop after 21-22 o’clock and WIFI is being used heavily up to an hour later.

In the earlier post, we also compared in general the bit rates used by apps of the consumers and noticed that over WIFI the bit rate need was much higher for German and British consumers compared to Finns who have mostly unlimited data plans. Here is this same data but per hour of the day for the Germans:

Here the lighter colors show the hourly bit rate needed by mobile apps on average, and also the network maximum speeds in darker color. We can clearly see that people use much heavier apps over WIFI and also the network top speeds are clearly higher over WIFI. So, WIFI seems to be clearly favored and also to match up to the need.

Let’s finish the analysis of German consumers with the Service Level Score (SLS):

Here the story is different, though. Cellular data gets a better quality during most of the day, up to around 17 o’clock. So, people use heavier apps over WIFI but also run more often into WIFI network congestion. This is quite natural as people offload network heavy tasks to WIFI networks and as a consequence also congest these. Interesting to note here also that in the evening cellular networks are more congested in Germany than during day time.

Now, let’s switch to the British consumers.Here is the data volume relative to the peak hour. The trend is similar to the Germans, just a one hour difference when the peak hour in terms of volume is.

And here is the analysis of bit rate needs and network maximums.

We see the same pattern as with the Germans, yet not as pronounced. Looks like British consumers are slightly more eager of use cellular networks with network heavy apps. Network maximums are also higher with WIFI.

And to close the British analysis, our Service Level Score.

The story follows Germany, yet the percentage is higher, meaning that British consumers get a better service from their cellular operators and even the various WIFI networks.

To close our story, the Finns with their different pricing plans for mobile data. We earlier showed that the peak in data sessions was the highest in the evening, a different pattern to their central European counterparts. The peak in data volume is similar to British.

The bit rates were earlier seen to be pretty much the same for both cellular and WIFI. The hourly analysis shows the phenomenon clearly. There is very little difference in the bit rates peoples’ apps need throughout the day. Network top speeds are also interestingly closer to each other.

The Service Level Score is lower in Finland than e.g. in the UK, showing that actually Finnish mobile networks seem to be rather full of traffic and consumers run into capacity issues more often. In particular in the evenings, as Finns watch videos over cellular, the resulting service level drops very dramatically and closes on the 60% level, while the cellular networks serve the British consumers at a 75% level.

Naturally there are huge differences between individual regions within a country, e.g. urban, suburab and rural, and simply different cities. Maybe we could look at those in the future, how does mobile connectivity work when you live outside the city centers.

This closes part two of our study. Stay tuned for more.

Send us feedback if you would like to see some other countries analyzed or some other angle into these studies.

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