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TelecomsTalk | October 4, 2023

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Mobile Communications: French and UK Operators Lead Europe in Terms of Their Customers’ App Experience, While US Operators do Surprisingly Poorly


Industry analyst firm STL Partners today announces The Mobile Network Experience Index (MobiNEX) report in partnership with Apteligent, a mobile app intelligence platform. The report was created to evaluate and quantify customer app experience on 27 mobile networks in seven countries, including the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and Canada.

The report benchmarks mobile network speeds and reliability by measuring the consumer app experience. (NB Executive summary and a chart of all results can be found here:

Report highlights include:

• The top five performing networks hail from France and the UK
• The three top operators are all French: Bouygues, Orange and Free, with EE and O2 UK in fourth and fifth places respectively
• The lowest performers are found in Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.S.
• All four of the major U.S. mobile operators — Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon — are in the bottom half of the ranking table[1].
• Operators were measured on error rate, latency consistency, download speed and average latency.
• Overall network performance appears to be linked to local competition

NB Country-by-country comparison charts can be found at

“MobiNEX makes it much easier for customers to see which mobile operator will do the best job of making their apps work well”, said Chris Barraclough, Partner at STL Partners and lead author of the report. “A lot of people spend more time using apps than anything else on their phones, but how can they compare what they get today with what they really could be getting? The index shows in simple terms which operators are likely to do the best job for people. And while it is easy to compare, it’s based on a huge of amount real world information so it’s a pretty reliable indicator of what’s going on.”

“There’s also signs that the scores that US and UK operators get on MobiNEX are related to their published customer satisfaction scores. This is potentially important for two reasons. The first is that it suggests that the experience the customers have on their apps relates to their overall happiness with their networks. Secondly, customer satisfaction is known to be a factor in whether customers stay with their current operators, so if there is a link it will really matter to operators to get it right.”

“For the leading mobile operators, it should be absolute gold dust to be able to show that their networks are the best around. For the laggards, it’s a really clear signal that they need to raise their games to keep their customers happy.”

“Building on our previous research, such as the Mobile App Latency in Europe: French Operators Lead; Italian & Spanish Lag and Lag Kills! How App Latency Wrecks Customer Experience, we wanted to investigate the impact of latency on customer experience when using mobile networks and compare the datasets across carrier and country”, said Chris Barraclough, partner and chief strategist at STL Partners.

Other key findings include:

• The best-performing US operator, T-Mobile, only scores 45 (out of 100) – a full 31 points below Bouygues Telecom (France).
• Verizon and AT&T, the U.S. market leaders, score only 43 and 37 respectively, and Sprint is in the bottom 5 with 33.
• All the U.S. operators perform poorly on Error Rate – a surprise given that many applications have been developed by U.S.-based start-ups and established companies, and the vast majority are hosted in the datacenters of U.S. Internet giants Amazon and Google.

“It was a surprise to us at STL Partners when we found that the US operators weren’t among the leaders” said Barraclough. “With a high penetration of ‘4G’ network services in the USA compared to the other countries, we expected them to do better. Plus the US has a reputation for being a world leader in technology and services, and many of the apps originate from US tech companies, so we imagine the US operators will be surprised and disappointed too.”

“Providers, developers and carriers need to understand how they compare to the competition, which is why Apteligent has developed mobile benchmarks and performance data dashboards for deeper insight,” said Andrew Levy, CSO at Apteligent. “This report is another form of analysis to help our clients improve customer experience, which is especially prudent as customers’ understanding of the operator’s role in performance continues to grow, and they begin to consider these factors when choosing a mobile service provider.”