Ooredoo Myanmar 4G: Inconsistent and Worrying

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Ooredoo 4G Myanmar LTE
Ooredoo 4G Myanmar LTE

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.

28 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

  2. Dear Perry,

    Glad to hear you had a pleasant experience with Ooredoo 4G.

    Our tests are pretty thorough actually. We tested Ooredoo 4G against its own 3G HSPA+ and then against Telenor and MPT. We captured the radio signal (RSRP, RSRQ), speed (against speedtest.net and fast.com) and latency (from handset to core network with traceping / MTR).

    Surprisingly, at Myanmar Plaza, Ooredoo 3G performance was better than 4G. However, we did not understand why we could only achieve 2mbps in 3G.

    As you can read in the article, we don’t pretend to provide a complete picture of Ooredoo 4G network. When it comes to mobile network, assessing quality of service / quality of experience is a complicated and painful job. Ooredoo has its own team for that and we are convinced they will do what is necessary to fix this.

    It is very possible that performance were still acceptable during your past visits and has degraded since.

    As we said in our post, we did reach more than 10mbps from time to time while roaming in the city.
    Still, the question that we wanted to raise is “can we really call it 4G?”
    You call it wisely LTE in your comment but Ooredoo calls it “4G Plus”. And this is very important to notice. According to ITU, the true 4G standard is LTE Advanced >100mbps. Not 10mbps or 25mbps.

    We assume Ooredoo allocates 5Mhz to its 4G network for a theoretical maximum speed of 37Mbps. That means that even in a lab, with a device directly facing the LTE antenna, we will not get more than 37mbps. One third of what is supposed to be the standard of 4G across the world.

    So first, there is clearly a performance issue that needs to be addressed so that the service is consistent across the city and does not suffer any important degradation like we faced during our tests and even earlier this week. We plan to keep testing the service and provide regular updates regarding its performance.

    Second, there is a real question behind Ooredoo marketing campaign but we are not only blaming them for that. All the operators have been doing exactly the same thing with no remorse. Launching LTE without additional spectrum was complete non sense, this is the second point that we wanted to highlight.
    Let’s face it, this was all about putting a big “4G”on a billboard, nothing else. There is absolutely no technology breakthrough behind it. Worst, this is a 4G network completely suboptimal that is literally eating 3G resources. The operators are shooting themselves in the foot.

  3. 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 is going to launch a 3GPP Release 8 service, T-Mobile (3G plus), Telstra (Next G), and many others have launched branding to make it simpler for customers to understand that this is something new.
    And while my July and September experience has been perfect with Ooredoo, especially for 8,500Ks for 1.35Gbytes…if I return I hope it is still the same 🙂 I will let you know.

    • Dear Perry,

      Thank you so much for this very interesting comment,

      Coming to your point about the APN, we understand your point but incite you to see this from a different perspective. Actually we totally got you here because what you said is quite common thinking for telco / tech savvy professionals (based on your vocabulary, we would assume you are part of the telco industry) specifically the ones involved at the vendor level “slightly” far away from the end user. No offense taken, hopefully.

      We -Internet in Myanmar- are trying to put ourselves in the customer shoes. We think as no expert but simply consumer looking to enjoy fast and reliable mobile Internet wherever we are!
      From a customer perspective, I don’t really mind what APN I am using, I don’t even know what an APN means. I walked into Ooredoo store, put my phone on the counter and said “I want Ooredoo 4G”. Well actually I was more polite, I probably said “hello” and “please” 😉

      The agent took my phone, did what had to be done with my phone and I paid. I saw 4G written on my screen, I had a few MBs on my data balance. End of story.
      Now, if my smartphone is badly configured to use Ooredoo 4G, that is not really my problem, this is Ooredoo’s problem. That means the agent did a mistake and there is room for improvement on the sales and customer service training.

      We believe that our results are valid such as your comment and Ooredoo should be thankful to see such point raised on a blog whereas the majority of their consumers will just suffer silently and may end up churning and telling to their peers about their bad experience with Ooredoo.
      Our objective is to improve broadband connectivity in Myanmar and we feel that we need to put yourself in the consumer shoes to achieve this.

      I believe Ooredoo does not only target the tech savvy / geeks / nerdz community in Myanmar. Even if that would probably explain in a way their market share 

      Now from a technical perspective, data connectivity should be seamless no matter the APN in use. Configuring it otherwise will make things difficult for consumers and probably drive your data usage and then data revenue down. There is a feature called APN redirection that can be really useful in such scenario.

      You would certainly agree that telcos need to make things as simple as possible for the consumer. Little improvement in customer experience may have major impact on brand image not even talking about financial benefits.

      Regarding the spectrum refarming, we can only comment what was made available publicly by the telecom operators and Myanmar Ministry of Communications & Information Technology. According to MICT roadmap, we were under the impression that Telenor and Ooredoo have both been granted 2x15Mhz in 2100Mhz (cf. the first capture on our article that comes from MICT roadmap).

      5Mhz are said to be optional / in reserve for further uses. According to your comment, Ooredoo had been operating 2x10mhz on 3G since and only started using 5Mhz for LTE purpose.

      Even if we cannot call it refarming so to speak, our comment would be exactly the same. If agreed by MICT, it would have been smarter to extend 3G to 2x15Mhz than to launch LTE.

      It is a real pleasure to get the feedback from someone working in the industry and this valuable intel will definitely help us to understand more about the current 4G deployment of the Qatar-based operator.

      Finally, we understand that you could see no issue with Ooredoo claiming to have 4G+ with 5Mhz LTE but from our point of view, that does not look like a wise strategy on the long run.

      What is Ooredoo Myanmar going to announce when they finally get dedicated spectrum on 1800Mhz next year? This is going to be a real technology breakthrough this time!

      This is a game changer and they need to find a way to spread the word.

      Are they going to call it 4G++ or 4.99G…?

      Anyway, we really appreciate your “insider” view. Please keep us updated with your next trip tests and speed results!

  4. 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.

  5. 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 of 3G is better than 10MHz 3G plus 5MHz of LTE….I didn’t want to get into a modulation discussion, but LTE is much more spectral efficient than 3G, and delivers a better performance for the same amount of spectrum. Considering that there is a growing percentage of LTE2100 capable phones in Myanmar, you are actually off loading the 3G network.
    Furthermore, the comparison allows 2×2 MIMO in LTE and no MIMO in HSPA!
    There is a lot more I could add here, if you still haven’t understood this.

    There is no definition for 4G plus, and just like Optus they used for their marketing. I am sorry if it offends you that Ooredoo uses 5MHz for LTE and call it a marketing name 4G plus…maybe you should discuss the issue why there is not more spectrum available to the operators…as you can see the TDD2300, TDD2600, FDD2600, FDD700, FDD800, and many more spectrum is not available for use so that the Myanmar people could enjoy and transform their lives. Many people don’t have broadband or basic internet in their home.

    I just think your article did not reflect what the telcos are trying to provide for the country, and improve their lives, and it has a negative ring to it. When you should be focusing on the millions that these telcos are investing in Myanmar to improve the lives of the beautiful people that are there.

    How about a story on how difficult it is to get access to locations to provide more sites, for central towns, and the rural people, and how difficult it is to lay fibre to offer high capacity for future deployment. So that the people of Myanmar can see real time traffic congestion, access to medical information and services, and public safety for earthquake, or tsunami warning, or even home delivery service for the aged via internet, etc.
    I hope no offense taken.

    Ming lahba kyaayyjuutainpartaal

    • Dear Perry,

      I feel like we are a little bit deviating here,

      Actually there is no issue with spectrum availability. As you said, things don’t happen overnight in Myanmar and actually nowhere else. Spectrum is going to be auctioned soon and the operators will be able to bid for it.

      So it is not question about 4G or not 4G. It is a question of capability as of today compared to tomorrow.
      We feel that the mobile operators and especially Ooredoo as it was the first to pull the trigger rushed into this instead of expecting dedicated spectrum to do a proper launch. This is all what we are saying.

      We are totally aware that the telecom market liberalization is a major change for Myanmar and strongly encourage stakeholders to develop infrastructure as much as possible as it really changes people life. We praise the recent launch of Wave Money which is also a game changer for Myanmar that could not have been done without telco infrastructure.

      Internet is the reason why we created this source of information, this is what drive us on a daily basis.
      But you tend to forget that there is a life besides 4G and this life is totally worth it.
      3G has already changed habits of millions of people in Myanmar and our humble opinion is that there is already a lot to do with this technology before rushing into another.

      We truly believe for instance that Telenor strategy to keep 4G in Nay Pi Taw and focus and invest in 3G elsewhere was wiser and paid off according to the tests we have been running recently. Topic of a new post coming soon.

      Our objective is definitely not to bash the mobile operators but to incite them to improve their network quality of service for the benefit of the consumers.

      We are also looking at more honesty and transparency and we feel that the operators succumb too easily to the marketing sirens. This is actually valid for Myanmar but we have seen the same happening in the past all over the world.

  6. 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 print-screen so if you or your team is in Yangon, it would be great to have it in order to close the subject.

    Internet in Myanmar will (for sure) accept a “right of reply” with evidences using Speedtest/4G mark.

  7. 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 but of course the coverage is going to be different. Telenor’s GSM is on the 900MHz, and Ooredoo’s LTE is on the 2100MHz spectrum.
    Please Peter, do I need to teach people the laws of physics here? This article is so wrong on so many levels…it’s just disappointing journalism.
    Ok, so how do I upload or add a photo to this post ? I still have a few screenshots still on my phone.

    • Dear Perry,

      We feel you are a little upset and we are sorry about that. Once again, our intention is to help Internet service providers to improve their services not to bash them.

      Just as a reminder, this was not a review Ooredoo vs Telenor and we feel like our screenshot about the signal quality is misleading. We did compare the signal of Telenor HSPA+ vs Ooredoo LTE and we found that Telenor signal was slightly stronger. We will amend the post accordingly to make it clearer. But to speak frankly, that is just a detail and does not serve any point on this article.

      Once again, we believe you are not looking at it from the good perspective. Take a step back, this is a blog on the Internet.

      You kept mentioning since the first comment that something may be wrong with the APN. But you did not bother to provide the good APN settings. We think that this is not constructive at all. This is a lack of consideration for us as Ooredoo customer and for all the readers. Why don’t you simply provide the good APN settings so we can check this point and move on to your next argument? It will also help our visitors that may end up on this page via Google and find a solution to their trouble! This looks like the right thing to do…

      Moreover, If you are so convinced about Ooredoo 4G network performance, why don’t you ask us to test again? Why don’t you demand more evidences about what we are stating? That looks like the right thing to do. But you did not. At any moment. We are under the impression you don’t want to go down this road, and that says a lot about your state of uncertainty regarding the network itself.

      You kept deviating the subject to your confort zone: technical knowledge and the law of physics. Because you know there is certainty here and there is no way we are going to say anything about that. This again proves our point.

      So we decided to go down that road. We tested again. And this time against Telenor as we feel you did not want us to do that. We took another neighborhood, another time, we are at the antipode of our previous scenario.

      Camp the scene. We are at Saunchang now, near Aung Yadanar Monastery. The streets are crowded, this is the morning, everybody is going to work or taking breakfast on the way to go. This is sunny and hot, ask your colleagues on the ground what the weather like.

      Different day, different time, different place.

      First, we removed our Telenor SIM. We tested only Ooredoo on SIM1. HSPA+ first and then 4G LTE.

      HSPA+ comes at a solid 2mbps.
      Ooredoo 3G Speedtest

      I say solid not because performance but because it is literally capping at 2mbps. What have you done Ooredoo? Why have you capped your excellent 3G to 2mbps?

      Then, 4G.

      I uploaded the signal capture because you seem to like these things. And that will help the RAN team to track down the faulty cell or to track me and beat me to death 🙂

      Signal:
      Ooredoo Myanmar 4G Signal
      Speedtest:
      Ooredoo Myanmar 4G LTE Speedtest

      I got 6mbps / 1mbps. Is it good? Yes it is good! Is it 4G good? No, certainly not.

      This is my APN setting even if you don’t ask for it (which would have been constructive though).

      Ooredoo Myanmar APN Settings

      Then, I put Telenor back in the phone.

      This is the signal capture:
      Telenor 3G Signal

      And that is the speedtest.
      Telenor 3G Speedtest

      Once again, we can run these speedtests over and over and get different results. You and I both know that a radio network is a difficult beast and it takes a lot of effort and investment to bring optimal and consistent performance. But again, our goal is just to provide the opinion of one Ooredoo consumer.

      You can claim that we are doing all wrong, that our APN settings are bad, that our phone is not working properly etc. But lets get more customer-centric here. Are you going to explain to 8M of subscribers that they are doing it wrong? Or are you going to make it simple, straight forward, plug and play enough so that everyone can enjoy fast and reliable Internet the second he is turning on his phone?

      This is once again a question of perspective and we strongly invite you to look at the bigger picture and to stop having this passive aggressive attitude on a simple consumer blog. This is not going to bring you anywhere.

      You are very welcome to provide your own evidences by adding photos to your comments. It is very simple but you will have to find it by yourself like you want our readers to find the good APN settings by themselves. Or they can simply go to this page, we will explain them.

      • Thanks Perry and Internet in Myanmar,

        Very interesting to see that 3G seemed to be capped at 2!

        Perry, I think that this new print screen is quite clear: customer perception for à 4G experience is not really good.

        In addition, you said: “Normally you should not need to set the APN, the staff set it all up for you”, in a Digital World?!?! In 2016 ? REALLY ?

        Then, theses tests are really recents and your experience was in July……. data and internet is a day-to-day work and operational excellence is important.
        I really believe that Internet in Myanmar is supporting the customer experience and the technical/physics law are not the subject.
        The subject is: customer experience for Ooredoo 4G customers.

  8. 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 ?

  9. 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 I just had to step in and say something…and hopefully the readers are learning something at the same time.

    Also, before I ask you to repeat your tests, it would be useful to make sure all your tools and settings are set correctly. One tick, APN seems correct, let move to the next topic eg. if you select the Ookola server in Hanoi (and Ookola tries it’s best to set the right server) you will get a different result. Even different Ookola servers within Yangon hosting sites will provide different results of speed and ping.

    Next topic, you can be getting 1Mbps, and if you are connected to a LTE network, it is still 4G. 4G is defined not by your actual speed alone. And just because you have 5MHz to deliver LTE (4G) and max. theoretical with 2×2 MIMO is only 35Mbps, can still mean at a busy location that cell will deliver 1Mbps and it is still 4G.
    4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced.
    http://www.3gpp.org/technologies/keywords-acronyms/98-lte
    And so your phone in the top bar says you are connected to a 4G network….I don’t understand what you are trying to prove. Peter, please let me know if you agree…
    Because dear unknown author if you have 5MHz of LTE and 35 people are downloading all at the same time, it’s a shared resource, and therefore you can expect everyone at that moment getting 1Mbps….but it is still 4G.

    So what are you trying to say dear Unknown author, and why are you so hung up on the marking naming ?

    • 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 downlink (not even talking about the 100 Mbps required for Real 4G as defined in IMT Advanced, and that’s okay).

      3. Having a sustained 10 Mbps throughput is achievable with a good 3G, even without DC-HSPA+ (and Telenor tests show that this is possible in Myanmar despite the challenges to acquire enough sites and have sufficient density to cope with their subscriber base, which is about twice as big as Ooredoo’s).

      4. Why the hell Ooredoo called it “4G Plus” with a “Plus”? Their knew from the beginning that with only 5 MHz they would barely beat the performance of a proper 3G network. Doing 4G without at least 10 MHz of spectrum does not make sense irrespectively of the improved spectrum efficiency. This is just excessive marketing.

      Real 4G will exist in Myanmar at large scale after 2×10 MHz of 1800 spectrum is sold to operators and not on an experimental basis on just 5 MHz on 2100 Band. Hopefully, low band spectrum will also be made available soon. But we can expect it will be done at a hefty price, as Myanmar government is very smart is distributing spectrum little by little to maximize the value they get from auctioning it.

    • The hyperlink for Ooredoo’s network coverage is working properly. But it is on an unusual port (9090) that is more likely blocked by your corporate firewall.

  10. If I understand correctly, you are satisfied to get 9-12Mbps in 4G?

    It is probably satisfactory in light with the technical implementation. Maybe you can tell us more about the spectrum span, modulation and MIMO which was implemented so we can compare our/your test results in line with the theory.

    If you look at our article, you can see that we reached the same speed from time to time (ex: around Singapore Embassy). So not sure to get your point here…

    However, we would not call it “wonderful” to get 9-12mbps for a so called “4G Plus” network. If we can get exactly the same result using Telenor 3G and much more consistent along our tests (not even talking about the uplink), what is all the fuss about 4G Plus?

    This is exactly what we are pointing in this article, thank you for noticing.

    As for the test server, we always make sure to use the operator own speedtest server as we are not interested by the IP Transit performance (at that stage).

  11. 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 ITU reference, I believe that Internet in myanmar is showing a customer point of view and what they are showing at the moment is: Ooredoo pre-launch 4G but they are not delivering the “real” 4G speed.
    It seems to be an average 3G or only a “marketing” launch because, when customers will test, send reports and experience the speed everday, I m not sure that they will feel the 4G “wahoo effect” etc… and then they will show, report and post a poor average DL and a low UL 4G speed.

    Last point, technology & technical points of view are important but the most important is customer experience.

  12. 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 broadband in Myanmar.
    2. LTE has a theoretical net bit rate capacity of up to 100 Mbit/s in the downlink and 50 Mbit/s in the uplink if a 20 MHz channel is used — and more if multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna arrays, are used. (extracted from Wiki on IMT comments).
    And 3GPP Release 8 was frozen in Dec 2008, with LTE defined bandwidth of 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 5MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz, and 20MHz. So, please don’t assume 100Mbps is a requirement for 4G.
    3. I can’t speak for Telenor’s experience, I haven’t bought a SIM card from them, they didn’t offer 4G. As a Ookola doesn’t represent a true user experience, since the newspaper I read, or the airline booking service, or the weather map, or … pokemon Go, isn’t hosted within the network like the Ookola server is.
    Keep in mind the ping time of 3G is generally slower, and 3G traffic has to run through a RNC, where the LTE service goes directly into the CORE (EPC). The result is when you testing a 10Mbps 3G service on Ookola and your result on LTE might be 8Mbps on 4G network, your user experience of day to day webpages and services ie. download of music or games can be faster on the 4G network. Since this traffic is made up of TCP packets which require an ACK before the next packet is sent.
    So a if a 3G ping is 100ms, and a 4G ping is 50ms (remember this is network ping, not radio interface…so I don’t want someone coming back with 4G should 10ms as per standards)…back to the example, if you have a web page which is made up of 100 packets it will be quicker on 4G. Do you follow ?
    4. Why call it 4G plus, that is a good question, but dozens of operators have given those sorts of marketing names. Why not? Excessive marketing, I’m technical…it looks like marketing has got it right, it’s creating awareness, and legally there is nothing wrong with it. Choosing to use 10MHz or 20MHz before calling it plus, well I am sure Telenor, and Ooredoo would be saying they wished they had that luxury…but they have to work with what they are allowed to buy from the government.
    5MHz experimental…I think not, there are dozens of operators around the world that are using only 5MHz and they are calling it LTE (4G). If you have some more intel on what 1800 spectrum will be sold for, I am very interested…

    Now Unknown Author,
    Yes, 10Mbps of 4G is great, I could watch youtube, and do everything on the move while in Myanmar, the improved ping time also helped 🙂 Facebook pictures loaded face, and uploads were fantastic. I was very impressed, considering a year ago, this is a huge improvement, and I am sorry if you are expecting more…but it’s 4G.
    Try downloading a Youtube HD video (not cached), see the difference on a 3G network, than a 4G network.
    How can you not consider the IP transport network, Ookla doesn’t measure the Radio interface, it measures the network performance?
    https://support.speedtest.net/hc/en-us/articles/203845400-How-does-the-test-itself-work-How-is-the-result-calculated-
    You really want me to discuss 3G, and 4G modulation ? I think you can find more detailed articles on a google search than what I can fit on this blog.

    Now Peter,
    First let me say the 35users on a 35Mbps cell achieving 1Mbps was an approx. example. I didn’t want to get into statistical traffic management flow, and keep it as simple as possible, but needs less to say IP packets arrive from various sources at different locations at different rates, and you can have many more people connected before you get the 1Mbps experience, in addition the cells allocation that is negotiated between the mobile (UE) and the base station determine your throughput allocation….oops I am getting off the topic.
    Yes, through network densification (and managing your cell interference) you create a lot more capacity per user.
    There is no definition of “real 4G” speeds, in fact there have been law suits against operators that claim users can get the theoretical speeds of LTE, so I state it again, if you are getting 1Mbps on 4G network, and 10Mbps on a 3G, the 1Mbps service is still a 4G service, but that has not been my experience with Ooredoo. And if the blog site could be updated so I can upload the 3 speed test I have from Yangon today, I can show it…

    I responded to this article not because of the customer point of you (valid point) but because of tone this article took against 4G technology.

    Let me share some experience of when Korea first turned on their LTE network. The average user was downloading via the 3G network about 800~900MByte per month, then the LTE network came on. Due to priority network layering strategy if you had a LTE phone it would camp on the LTE network…of course there were only a few LTE sites, and they began soaking up all the LTE phones, the few 3G only phones left on the 3G network were experiencing a high download speed than LTE for a time, the result was the average 3G only phone was downloading ~1.5GByte per month.
    This soon changed as more LTE sites were built…but no one wrote “Still, we are victims of an immense and organized scam” about any of the 3 operators…really.

    Ok Klone, you have gone quiet, anymore questions ?

    • Hi Perry,

      So it looks like you don’t want to see any speedtest capture anymore but want to capture the real user experience.

      Well I have to say that my experience with Ooredoo 4G has been really poor and inconsistent so far and totally translate what I wrote in the performance report.
      From time to time, I can get good speed and reactive browsing experience but most of the time is laggy and slow. Nothing compared to my experience on Telenor 3G sorry to say that.

      But I assume that if our article was all about user perception without any solid evidence, you would have blamed us for it.

      Just for your information, IP Transit or Internet Transit is a term that design the service a mobile operator or ISP use to connect to the rest of the Internet. So yes I do confirm that a speedtest on Ooredoo speedtest server is not taking account the IP Transit as per the definition.

      • Dear Unknown Author,
        Ookla is good, but you must take it in context of what it is testing.

        This is where I this were we disagree, as my experience of Ooredoo has been fantastic, and I will purchase a SIM card from them again.

        In relation to your article of sensationalism, it is rather disappointing at your choice of words, but then again you are a blog writer in a powerful position, since professional technical journalists and their name, and sometimes photo and bio about their credibility to post such an article.
        Whereas I have added my full name and eMail to this blog, and I see that people I have not known looked up my profile in the last few day…and stress to focus on good fact finding and good technical journalism, see articles like ITwire, Light Reading, or even blogs in Linkedin.

        That combined with the several facts that you have got wrong (glad you corrected some of them), makes this a disappointment, and I hope no one takes it seriously.

        You call it IP Transit, I call it Transmission network, the result is the same 🙂

        Don’t give up, just try a bit harder…and be objective.
        Myanmar has come along way over the last few years, and it’s changing at a rapid pace, but things take time, and keep that in mind.
        I hope no offense taken.

        • Dear Perry,

          Internet in Myanmar would like to thank you for your insightful comments.

          Thanks to you, our article views have been hitting the roof over the past 3 days (10 times the usual traffic pattern).
          I guess it is not everyday that a simple blog receives the honor of the vendor itself.

          We are convinced that your team on the ground will do what’s necessary to improve the performance and we are looking forward to write a new article demonstrating the quality improvement.

          It is great to see that a simple blog can have significant fallback on the customer end.

          That truly encourages us to keep in that direction and post unbiased reviews on the internet broadband market in Myanmar.

          • Dear Unknown Author,
            I am not writing on behalf of an operator, nor a vendor…I made that clear in a earlier blog. If I would do so, I would need to seek their approval first (legal statement).
            I am writing this on behalf of me, and my experience, and my 26 years of knowledge in the telco industry.

  13. 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 Data Package” with 4G connectivity was a smart move which makes me buy a mifi unit just for ooredoo data but if this kind of poor user experience keeps up, I don’t think I can hold on to my loyalty longer.

    Just saying.

    • 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.

      My spend on Ooredoo internet packages each month is well over MMK100,000 not including my staff packages. It is just so frustrating to be waiting for pages to load as time being wasted.

      I would welcome any suggestions of alternatives. To this point I have only stuck with Ooredoo because it is my business number and I am told the other providers are no better. Once I have an option to end my relationship with Ooredoo I most certainly will.

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