Hardware: Germany’s best mobile network – Special

the equipment

Of course, we are talking about fast 4G and 5G connections, because any connection performance below that is out of the question when playing online games on mobile devices beyond simple casual games. The tip of the bandwidth scale is often the network operator himself, but even within a network, the fluctuations are sometimes astounding, depending on the location. This makes it almost impossible to make a general statement, but at least a good trend can be determined with the help of complex network tests.

Mobile network test: test drives, test measurements, user data

The equipment for measuring drives for the cell phone network test is located in air-conditioned roof boxes. zafaco

In order to deliver exactly that, i.e. a more precise picture of the overall German situation of the mobile phone network, IMTEST and 4Players, in cooperation with zafaco GmbH, have examined the three major mobile phone providers in a test that is unique to date. Several thousand kilometers of test drives through Germany, voice quality measurements within and between the networks and user-based measurements were combined to form an overall picture that shows which of the three network providers – Telekom, Vodafone and Telefnica (O2) – is ahead in mobile communications in Germany, at least in large parts Has.

A total of more than 120,000 test connections were established during the measurement runs. The journeys ran through 30 large German cities and along well-frequented country roads and motorways – the catchment area thus covered the mobile communications situation of around 15 million inhabitants. Result: The three large mobile network operators are all “good”. Except for Telekom – which is even “very good”. A look at the details reveals why Telekom offers the best cell phone network.

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The best cell phone network determined in five test dimensions

The mobile network test by IMTEST and 4Players is based on a combination of several recording levels that has never been carried out before. This allows the best possible depiction of both the performance of the mobile phone networks and the real user experience. The three test levels can be further broken down into five dimensions: Measurement runs throughout Germany For five weeks, testers from Zafaco covered more than 8,000 kilometers.

The map of the author

The map of the availability of all mobile networks up to 5G shows gaps as soon as you go into great detail. In some cases, however, the spots also occur when there are no measurement data in very remote areas. zafaco

The more than 120,000 test connections established were then evaluated in the four categories voice, data, surfing and streaming with a total of 27 parameters. Connections between mobile radio and fixed network The current mobile radio tests only take into account mobile voice connections within a radio network. IMTEST and zafaco have gone further: In around 80,000 test connections between mobile and fixed network connections distributed throughout Germany, the testers examined the voice quality of calls between mobile and fixed networks – in both directions. Is that relevant? Absolutely, because almost a quarter (about 23 percent) of all call minutes in 2021 were routed from mobile to fixed networks for outgoing connections. In the opposite direction, it was still 10 percent.

Measurements between mobile operators

The following also applies to this point: Unlike most other cell phone network tests, the experts at zafaco have evaluated the quality of cell phone connections both between different network operators and within a cell phone network. About 50,000 test compounds were evaluated in this way according to 21 criteria. Transmission speed The user-based evaluations of the broadband measurement commissioned by the Federal Network Agency were also included in the final result.

They provide information on whether and to what extent the transmission speeds promised by the network operators are actually achieved. Network availability The last test dimension is probably the most striking and also user-based: the data on network availability. The “Funkloch-App” is available at www.breitbandmessage.de and can be used to determine the proportion of dead spots and the availability of the fast 4G and 5G networks. 450 million measuring points have already been evaluated since October 2018. For this test, the results from July 2021 to July 2022 were used – a total of over 100 million measuring points. More details on the test procedure are available in this article.

Test drives: data and voice in mobile communications

Both data and voice services were checked during the test drives. Samsung smartphones with the latest available firmware from the respective network operator were used as test devices to enable the use of 5G whenever and wherever the network was available. The voice services were tested, also with Samsung smartphones, and the qualitative assessment was carried out on both sides on the basis of a special algorithm.

If you look at the bare numbers (see table), it doesn’t look so bad: error rates when setting up voice connections are in a minimal range of 0.36 (Telefnica) and 0.6 percent (Vodafone), voice quality and connection setup times are at all very good or very short. The situation is different for mobile data transmission.

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Mobile data in cell phone networks? Rather dirt road than highway

Part of the mobile network test were user measurements of the real Internet speed.

Part of the mobile network test were user measurements of the real Internet speed. Zafaco

If you look at the pure speed, only Telekom could really score. The situation is similar – just not quite as noticeable – when you look at mobile connections when surfing the web or video streaming: The error rates are low, but the speed is lacking for some.

In short: Mobile voice connections are stable and of good quality across the entire series of measurements in Germany. Overall, candidate Telefnica (O2) achieved the best results, closely followed by Telekom and Vodafone. If you now look at the measured values ​​for mobile Internet, the following conclusions can be drawn, roughly speaking: transmission errors rarely occur, but that is the speed often lower than expected. The measurement results thus confirm the everyday experiences of many smartphone surfers on the move: the data comes, only later than hoped. Even in 2022, the loading bar will still be an issue.