Twin Prime GLAS Insights on USA vs. Europe Cellular Experience

There is a general belief that network quality in the developed markets of US and Europe is a non-issue. Much has been written about penetration rates of 3G/WiFi/LTE across the world, including US and Europe, but very little has focused on the quality of these networks, which is surely of most importance to consumers — more specifically, how content download time has evolved as technology has progressed from 3G to predominantly LTE and WiFi in these developed markets.

In this 3rd Twin Prime GLAS Insights report, we compare performance between US and Europe to showcase that this is not the case.

Europe Is Still King When It Comes To 3G

As one would expect, overall download time in milliseconds is much higher in both the US and in Europe with 3G compared to LTE. However, what is striking is how much faster the European 3G speeds are vs the US ones. Depending on size, downloading content in the US on 3G takes between 10 – 87% more time than what it takes to download the same content in Europe. And, as the consumer moves to richer content that is larger in size, 3G performance in Europe is noticeably better than that in the US.


Europe vs US 3G Speeds

US Bests Europe With WiFi

Download time on WiFi is half of download time or better on 3G in both the US and Europe. As WiFi penetration grows, this is great news for everyone. More interestingly though, US WiFi download speeds across all file sizes are 50-65% faster than European ones. In fact, comparing WiFi vs 3G, we see that even X-Large files download faster in the US than what it takes small files on 3G. As video downloads and streaming take up a larger percentage of the average consumer’s time on mobile, this will have a positive effect on the customer experience.


Europe vs US WiFi speeds

LTE In US Significantly Faster Than In Europe

As the chart below shows, with the roll-out of LTE across the US and Europe, download times for all types of files has decreased significantly from the 3G days. Penetration rates of LTE are more than 75% for both of these developed markets So, the question is no longer when will LTE appear, but how good are the networks. From our dataset, we see that across all file sizes, the US experiences 13% – 35% faster download times than the LTE networks of Europe.

Download times in both the US and in Europe for X-Large files — the best representative of rich content — are still 600 ms or higher. As video and streaming media gains further popularity and broad-based use, network operators, mobile content providers and others vested in cellular access will need to find ways to optimize the customer experience or risk losing their user base.


Europe vs US LTE Speeds

Summary

A lot has changed since 3G ruled the US and European cellular airwaves. Content download times across all file types in both of these markets have decreased by more than 50%. This is good news for the consumers in these markets.

Video, streaming media, and other forms of rich content continue to grow in popularity, and are at the cusp of becoming the primary way consumers utilize their mobile devices. While LTE does a great job in delivering content that are small/medium in size, larger files still take too long. There is much work that is still left to be done!

If you’d like to learn more about how Twin Prime can cut download speed in half, for both WiFi and LTE and irrespective of file size, download this product brief.

GLAS Insights Methodology

Twin Prime analyzes billions of requests from over 120 countries to understand network performance and deliver content faster to each mobile user. Unless specifically mentioned, we consider median as a basis for comparison for various metrics since it provides a good representation of the typical experience. The populations compared have statistically significant sample sizes. For each report we typically consider data from the prior month. In the charts, Small files are those less than 10KB, Medium files are those between 10KB-50KB, Large files are between 50KB-200KB and higher sizes are grouped into X-Large.

About Twin Prime

Twin Prime, an innovator in mobile data delivery optimization software, powers the fastest way to deliver content to mobile devices on both cellular and Wi-Fi networks. The company’s GLAS technology utilizes an automated hypothesis testing infrastructure to mitigate imperfections and variability in the wireless last mile by optimizing and customizing the content delivery strategy every time a mobile app is launched. Twin Prime solves for the inherent volatility and diversity among devices and networks so companies can increase user engagement and build brand affinity. These optimizations are content agnostic, don’t rely on caching, compression or content modification, and enable Twin Prime customers to engage their users by delivering high quality content, even over secure protocols like HTTPS. Fortune 500 brands, m-commerce, social media apps, advertising networks, publishers and companies of all sizes with a mobile presence rely on Twin Prime to connect with millions of customers daily. Connect with Twin Prime: http://www.twinprime.com and follow on Twitter: @twinprimeinc

Photo credit: Jennie O

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