Ooredoo 4G Myanmar LTE
Ooredoo 4G Myanmar LTE
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May 2016, Ooredoo Myanmar got “first dibs” on 4G.

Qatar based operator announced in front of the press the launch of its LTE network. We all know the story. Telenor will follow 2 months later and MPT 6 months later.

Like its competitors, Ooredoo does not have spectrum for it and refarmed its 2100Mhz, squeezing a little bit 3G to make room for 4G. Based on our review, we can assume they allocate 2x5Mhz for 4G which gives them a maximum speed of 25-30mbps. Theoretical.

Mobile Operator Spectrum Allocation MPT Myanmar Ooredoo Telenor
Mobile Operator Spectrum Allocation

Unlike its competitors, Ooredoo has decided to make it for real. Telenor only launched 4G in Nay Pi Taw. MPT in Yangon but only in specific close locations. Ooredoo plan is much more ambitious. In 2016, Ooredoo is already covering 90% of Yangon, Nay Pi Taw, Mandalay and Bagan.

If you are interested to look at the exact coverage, you can access Ooredoo coverage map here. Untick UMTS900, tick LTE2100 and track the blue spots.

The stake for Ooredoo is high. Ooredoo is struggling to gain market share. Telenor is demonstrating solid growth with 17M subscribers and 37% market share whereas the state owned operator MPT is still ahead with 20M and 44% market share. Ooredoo lags behind with 9M subscribers. Ooredoo strategy is data. Since its launch and the bold decision to not launch a 2G network and to focus solely on 3G, it has made clear its intention to be the top of mind brand for millenials and anyone living the digital lifestyle.

Our expert team decided to test Ooredoo 4G service in Myanmar Plaza and here is the result.

Ooredoo advertisement in Myanmar Plaza is everywhere. Even with MPT ongoing 4G launch, Ooredoo completely OWNS the place. You cannot miss their colorful banners inside, outside, we are rapidly overwhelmed by Ooredoo 4G Plus. That is an impressive campaign but is the service up to the marketing efforts?

If you are a fellow reader, you already know that we raised concerns regarding these 4G initiatives in Myanmar that sound like big marketing events with no real technology breakthrough.

If you want to understand why, just take a look to our MPT 4G review here.

So coming back to our tests…

We bought a brand new 4G SIM from Ooredoo. And we topped up a few thousand kyats for a data package (the 4G packages are Ooredoo standard Internet plans).

Ooredoo Price Plans 4G 3G Myanmar Internet data packages
Ooredoo Internet Plans

Comfortably sitting at the mall upper floor (just a hint for Ooredoo RAN team), we started our benchmark.

Coverage in the building is decent according to our radio tool. Not as great as Telenor though. Which is a surprise considering Telenor advertising is completely absent in the mall.

Ooredoo Coverage Myanmar Plaza 4G 3G
Ooredoo LTE Coverage Myanmar Plaza
Telenor 3G Coverage Myanmar Plaza
Telenor 3G Coverage Myanmar Plaza

Speed-wise, we ran a few speedtest with speedtest.net and the results were truly disappointing.

Ooredoo 4G Speedtest
Ooredoo 4G Speedtest Myanmar Plaza

We ran it over and over and the results always come up around 1-2mbps for download and upload really struggling to get 1mbps. It goes without saying that this is a mall and we can understand that the cells are pretty busy especially a saturday afternoon when the place gets crowded. Still, we find it incredible to see such poor performance for what it suppose to be the operator flagship mall.

When we see the marketing investment in the building, when we remember that Ooredoo has its own office in the corporate building right next to the mall, it is really hard for us to understand how it can let such poor performance happens without doing anything about it. This is a complete waste of marketing money and a very poor brand perception for an operator that pretends to be the digital leader in Myanmar.

We also ran a few pingtests to test latency on the radio access network (RAN). One of the big advantages of 4G is low latency. In 3G, you can expect 30-50ms between your cellphone and the nearest base station. In LTE, it is reduced to 10ms. Here again we were not impressed by the latency. More likely because the cell is congested and unable to process every packet as quickly as possible.

Pingtest Yahoo.com Ooredoo 4G LTE
Pingtest Yahoo.com Ooredoo 4G LTE

Customer experience is as bad as the tests. Browsing is slow, hectic, sometimes a few pieces load and then nothing. Then it comes back for some time and then goes away. Very unpleasant experience so far.

We really want to give Ooredoo the benefit of the doubt…

Our team cannot believe their service is so bad so we decide to continue the tests elsewhere. We took a drive around Bahan, first squatting around Shwegondaing road for some new results…

Ooredoo 4G Speedtest Myanmar Shwegondaing
Ooredoo 4G Radio Tests Shwegondaing

Once again, Telenor has a much better signal than Ooredoo. It is really not our intention to praise the norwegian operator but the results are definitely on its favor.

Ooredoo 4G Speedtest Myanmar
Ooredoo 4G Speedtest Shwegondaing

Latency is good but speedtest is horrible. We also decided to force the service to fallback in 3G HSPA+ to compare Ooredoo LTE vs Ooredoo 3G HSPA+ and the results were nearly similar. Even worst: during 30mn, we were absolutely unable to browse with Ooredoo 4G whereas the 3G network of the operator was working properly (to put it nicely…).

We kept on our roadtrip roaming cell after cell to find good speed. Finally around Singapore embassy, the results were much better.

Ooredoo Myanmar Speedtest Singapore Embassy
Ooredoo Myanmar Speedtest Singapore Embassy

Speed was great, latency low and the browsing experience was entirely satisfactory. We wish we would have this QoS / QoE all the way.

We continued our trip to Market Place and once again got pleasant results.

Ooredoo 4G LTE Speedtest
Ooredoo 4G LTE Speedtest – Market Place

This is good. Not great. We are not being picky but this is more or less what to expect from a good 3G HSPA+ network loaded with customers. This is light year away from what our team expect from a 4G LTE network. But this is understandable with no dedicated spectrum.

Still, we are victims of an immense and organized scam.

At Myanmar Plaza, we were swamped with a tsunami of advertising about a so-called 4G Plus network that simply does not exist.

It goes without saying that we did not roam across the city to pursue these tests any longer. The objective of this review is not to provide a complete picture on Ooredoo 4G network performance. This is the job of Ooredoo RAN team (Hi guys, you have a lot on your plate…). It is very possible that in other areas, the network performance is much better. But this is mobile Internet. We are expecting customer experience to be consistent no matter where he is.

The conclusion here is that there is always a theoretical performance on a network. And this performance is almost never reached in the real world.

When your theoretical performance is already so low that you can barely call it 4G, how do you want to be credible in the real world? When you start facing congestion, radio sub-optimization and weak signal, obviously, you will be way below the standard.

How do you want to be credible when even your flagship, your headquarter, the belly of the beast show pathetic performance?

Do the operators really believe consumers will swallow the bitter pills of their fake publicity without being truly disappointed and betrayed deep inside them?

Once again, this review demonstrates that behind the spotlights, the reality about Internet in Myanmar is not that shiny.

At the end of the day, this is not “the operators vs. the consumers”. There is a third party that is completely absent of the front of the scene: the regulator, authority that gave the operators a license to operate, authority that has the power to sanction them.

The regulator has a key role to play in the market to control that the operators deliver what they promise. This is already happening across the world (like in India recently) and we truly believe Myanmar will follow that path soon enough.

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Perry Poehlmann
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Perry Poehlmann

Dear Unknown Author,
I am not sure what you were testing, but I was using a Samsung Galaxy S7 and bought at the airport the 1.3Gbyte package for 8,500Ks. I used the phone (using the LTE APN) and from Myanmar Plaza to the Shwedagon Pagoda, Stay a While, and MICT including Sports Bar, and experiences most of the time over 10Mbps on LTE.
Sorry to say I would totally disagree with your experience that you encountered.
I have been twice to Myanmar in the last 6months…mid July’16, and mid Sept’16.
I will purchase an Ooredoo SIM again.

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

It might be best understanding Ooredoo’s network before making claims, or retracting your statement on refarming altogether. Since Ooredoo acquired an additional 5MHz to deliver LTE2100, and refarm any of their 3G spectrum. I have been doing network testing all over the world, and I state it again, that I can not agree with the results that you measured, and would seek to make sure you have the right APN selected, and your tools are correct, and perform and another drive and walk test. Nemo offers some good tools based on Qualcomm chipsets. Regarding the branding, I doubt any operator… Read more »

Klone
Guest

Because he put Ooredoo SIM in SIM Slot 2 (SIM2). The problem with most of the Dual SIMs Phones are that, SIM2 get less priority, some even can’t have LTE or 3G on SIM2. I would suggest use a Single SIM phone of the same brand and model to test to be fair.

Perry Poehlmann
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Perry Poehlmann

Dear Unknown Author, Really you should know things in Myanmar don’t happen overnight…and so the spectrum website depending where you look can vary. http://www.spectrummonitoring.com/frequencies/frequencies3.html#Myanmar For example shows the main operators having 15MHz at 2100MHz….but I didn’t trust it either…I measure what was available on network. Using *#2263# on some Samsung models allows you to go into engineering mode and lock down to a particular technology and frequency, hence you can see that 10MHz is being used on 3G 2100 since in some locations with good SINR you can even pick up DC. I am shocked that you would think 15MHz… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Dear Internet in Myanmar and Perry, Thanks for all your comments. Few additional comments to take in consideration (from my point of view): – From a customer point of view, I m not changing my APN when I m switching from a simcard to another one… and others are not doing it. So, I don’t know how it works but I m an iPhone user and will be happy if my operator can push it when I m connected to their networks. – Perry, your comments are very useful but compared to the initial article, you are not providing any… Read more »

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

Hi Peter, Normally you should not need to set the APN, the staff set it all up for you, but based on the results above (which I cannot agree with in my experience) I am asking if everything has been set correctly. APN, Tools, Software. The reason why I mentioned the APN, I just had exactly this issue while travelling through Indonesia, and in the early days of LTE I had the same issue with Telstra… Please read the original aticale again look at the picture above of the Telenor vs Ooredoo screen comparing GSM to LTE, I am sorry… Read more »

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

So, I just rang some people in Myanmar and have fresh 30min old screen shots of Parami Road, Yangon experience. They did a drive test of wonderful 9Mbps to 12Mbps. So tell me how to upload the pictures.
Which Ookala test server were you using for the Ooredoo tests ?

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

Dear Unknown Author, Let me elaborate, I am not writing this on behalf of an organisation, nor do I work for Ooredoo, or the Myanmar government. This is out of personal interest. Yes, I run around the world photographing mobile sites, and looking at network performance…and love to follow technical articles on mobile networks. But when I read headlines of sensationalism like “we are victims of an immense and organized scam”, and techincal facts not correct (appreciate you updating the details), you need also update your hyperlink on Ooredoo’s network coverage, that one is also wrong, I am sorry, but… Read more »

Stephan
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Stephan

Hi Perry, I have been following the discussion, which is very interesting by the way, and I think you did not understand the position of the blog. Yes the conclusion or the article is harsh for Ooredoo. Could the words of the article have been a bit nicer? Probably, but that does not change the situation: 1. Ooredoo has done a huge campaign about being the first to launch 4G in Myanmar. 2. The results are far from what one can expect from 4G, which should be a great improvement from 3G, let’s say a good 20-30 Mbps on the… Read more »

Peter
Guest
Peter

Dear Perry and Internet in Myanmar, My understanding is that Ooredoo is delivering a 4G speed at 10-12 Mbps (DL) and 1-2 (UL). I believe that this performance is close to 3G performance. In addition, the speed seems to be inconstant (from 2Mbps to 10-12 Mbps etc…). Perry, concerning your comments: – “and still mean at a busy location that cell will deliver 1Mbps and it is still 4G” >> Am I wrong if I think that densification / additional cells should fix this 1Mbps? because 35 people at the same time it’s ONLY 35 people ;o) – concerning 3G/4G… Read more »

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

Love it, this is my first ever attempt at responding to a blog site, and we are getting a good discussion going. It gives me a good perspective how people perceive 4G, and what they expect. Let’s start with what they expect…let me try with Fibre to the Home. Since Fibre is touted at delivering 1Gbps to the home, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiber_to_the_x and yet Myanmar offers Fibre to the Home at $100 USD for a 2Mbps service…really, ouch ! http://www.redlink.net.mm/fiber_to_the_home Now Stephen was first. 1. Good, huge campaign is important to great public awareness, since there is a growing demand for faster… Read more »

Perry Poehlmann
Guest
Perry Poehlmann

Dear Unknown Author,
I just checked, this link works for the coverage map, not the one with port 9090.
http://www.ooredoo.com.mm/en/Network-Coverage-Section/Coverage.aspx

Please try it and see if you get the same result, as other people might have a firewall issue

ZinniK
Guest
ZinniK

A very interesting and informative article and conversations indeed. I was following the entire dialogue as I am using Ooredoo’s 4G+ sim for my Dota 2 pleasure after work. I am nobody but just a mere customer. But I think for a provider that claim 4G, the experience offered is too shabby. Even at the night time (23:00), the ping I got was never under 80ms. Sometimes goes up to an insane 1455ms. Because of it’s unreliable latency, I wouldn’t even dare to go for “ranked match” at my home. ( now waiting for Telenor Broadband internet). Launching “Paung Kuu… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

I am just a customer who knows nothing about all the technical talk going on here but I have been using Ooredoo data to connect to the internet for the last 29 months and it is overall a very inconsistent service. Since 6:30pm this evening the connection has been terribly slow with even google search page timing out. Just a few minutes ago: Pin 108ms, Download 1.29Mbps and Upload 0.63Mbps. It makes no difference if I switch between 4G or 3G, both are hopeless. The only consistency with Ooredoo is the reliability the it is going to be consistently poor.… Read more »