The infrastructure cost of building a cell phone network requires that each new generation of technology is in place long

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1 Insight Report OpenSignal Global State of LTE Report February 2013 Sam Westwood, OpenSignal Preface The infrastructure cost of building a cell phone network requires that each new generation of technology is in place long enough to recoup investment costs. For that reason, despite 30 years of cellular phones we are only now entering the 4th generation (4G) of cell phone technology. There are many different 4G technologies available, but the most common by far is LTE. The technical definition of 4G is that it should have data speeds capable of reaching 100 Mb/s while on moving transport and 1Gbp/s when stationary. While LTE is much faster than 3G, it has yet to reach the ITU's technical definition of 4G. LTE does represent a generational shift in cellular network speeds, but is labelled 'evolution' to show that the process is yet to be fully completed. The announcements surrounding LTE auctions around the world are front page news. The reports covering the auction and subsequent roll-out often contain all sorts of promises and predictions for the benefits that will be experienced by current smartphone users. In this report we examine the history, and effects, of the Global LTE roll-out with the intention of explaining what it actually means for users. The Global Roll Out

2 This map traces the history of LTE development worldwide, mapping countries where LTE has already been established as well as the areas where testing is currently underway. Sweden and Norway were the earliest adopters, followed, perhaps surprisingly, by Uzbekistan. The United States first introduced LTE at the end of 2010, along with both Germany and Japan, the first Asian country to adopt the technology. Brazil and Australia rolled-out LTE during 2011, with the United Kingdom and India coming during The first African country to adopt LTE was Angola, also during The countries in light blue have named a date for the LTE roll-out (within the next two years) while the ones in darker blue have LTE adoption in the early stages of planning. How the speeds compare Sweden has the fastest LTE network, averaging 22.1 Mbps. Surprisingly Japan has the slowest at just 7.1 Mbps As this graph shows, LTE speeds are not globally uniform. It is important to remember that the actual speeds experienced by users on LTE can be markedly different, not simply between countries but also across carriers. It is interesting to note that the countries where we record the fastest average speeds tend to be ones where the population is heavily concentrated in a small number of urban centres. Countries with a population that is more evenly spread seem to perform slightly worse, perhaps due to the difficulty of rolling-out LTE over a larger geographic area. Of particular suprise is the slowness of Japan s network. The 3 networks with LTE in Japan are SoftBank (16.2 Mb/s), KDDI (14.8 Mb/s) and NTT DOCOM (5.5 Mb/s). The low country-wide average is caused by NTT DOCOM. A possible reason is the age of the network. From our data we see that new LTE networks experience very fast speeds, as there are few subscribers and the network is relatively uncongested. As more consumers upgrade their phone the network slows down. In Japan NTT DOCOM launced LTE in Dec 2010, vs March 2012 and Sept 2012 for SoftBank and KDDI respectively.

3 LTE speed vs the competition Ever since the ITU released it's specification for 4G there has been pressure LTE is 3x faster than HSPA+, even though both are often branded '4G' from network operators to brand their network as '4G'. Whilst not meeting the original ITU criteria for a '4G' network, LTE is nevertheless a new technology, requiring large infrastructure changes and phones with new radios. HSPA+ on the other hand is an update to existing 3G tecnologies, and the difference shows in our tests. LTE has approximately 3x the real-world download speed compared to HSPA+. This graph illustrates the extent of the leap forward that LTE has brought about in cellular data speeds. Even though LTE is not 'true 4G' we still record it at around seven times faster on average than 3G. When comparing the speed of LTE to Wi-Fi it is important to remember that the 3.2 Mb/s figure is a global average and therefore contains within it a vast spread of infrastructures and technologies. That is not to say that LTE is faster than Wi-Fi, but this chart does point towards exciting possibilities for countries that are bypassing For developing countries mobile networks, not fixed-line internet, are the way forward fixed-line internet service provision. Countries like India, which consume primarily cellular data, will be able to use LTE technology to provide broadband speeds without the enormous infrastructure costs associated with laying cable to the home.

4 LTE latency vs the competition This graph measures ping times across different types of connection. Ping (also known as latency) measures the speed at which your connection to the server is made. The higher the ping the longer it takes for the server to With faster pings, LTE offers vastly improved performance for VOIP services like Skype respond to the request for information. Ping is significant because a high ping reduces the impact of fast download speeds, as every packet of information downloaded needs to be acknowledged. The number of such connections made over the course of loading a single website means that ping time has a significant impact on the speed that a user will experience the website loading in. This is especially true on mobile devices, as the connection time taken to make these latency connections can be significant in comparison with the overall time taken to download the information from a mobile-optimised website. Concluding thoughts It is clear that LTE represents a significant step forward in telecommunications technology. Its dramatic improvement in speed and latency from 3G shows that it has the potential to be as transformative an advancement as the evolution from 2G to 3G. This is especially true in countries that do not have established fixed line internet infrastructure, meaning that broadband internet can be made widely available through cellular connections. LTE will be present in a projected 83 countries within the next two years, which will drive the production of lower-end LTE-compatible smartphones. The arrival of cheap handsets that are able to make use of LTE which will help expedite mass adoption, leading to the potential for dramatically increased broadband penetration in developing countries.

5 About OpenSignal With a smartphone application has been downloaded over 3 million times OpenSignal are crowd-sourcing cellular coverage on a global scale. Their app runs in the background acting as a network probe, constantly capturing data points as users move around. With millions of data points per day, OpenSignal has a unique data set which provides great insights into the state of the wireless landscape. Sam Westwood, Founder Contact:

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