Need vs. availability around Europe


In a past post, we looked at the network performance around Europe, and how often it matches the needs of end users. Let’s add a further dimension here: “everyday use”. By this I mean the data transfer speeds of end users throughout the day, with their everyday apps and usage situations, where the limiting factors are outside the mobile network, e.g., the application might be slow, or the content server could be congested, even a cloud could serve the end users with a low speed. This is the bit rate you get with your apps that is not limited by the network. Sometimes the apps might not need more than a few Mbps, sometimes the apps themselves are limiting your experience with their respective services.

The average bit rates, when we measure top speeds, are in the range of 10-20 Mbps around Europe. Yet, these download speeds are about the maximums the networks can provide. But what speeds do people actually need with their apps? Well, here you go, statistics from a dozen European countries.

So, in reality people actually need on average from 4-9 Mbps of download bit rate, not more. Sure, there are cases when you would benefit from much more. But for most of your everyday mobile life and the apps people use the most, the real need for service from the network is less than 10 Mbps.

In the table, you can see interesting differences. E.g. in Finland, people tend to use much heavier apps in terms of network bit rates, which means that the apps need more from the network in terms of performance. Yet, e.g. in Germany, people are using much lighter apps that only need half of the bit rates than Finns need on average. Interesting, but also quite natural. We’ll get back to this later.

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