We wrote about it lately, mobile operators in Myanmar have been running similar pricing and promotions when it comes to mobile Internet. Consumers are pushed to look at other factors of differentiation such as coverage and performance.
Saying that and knowing how difficult and complicated it is to evaluate mobile network performance, we have decided to go on a tour of Yangon, spotting very specific and popular locations and testing the mobile operator’s network performance on each location.
Disclaimer: this exercise does not aim to be a detailed benchmark on the mobile operator’s performance but a sneak preview into the Yangonite always-connected daily life.
Before getting to our first location, lets have a look at our test protocol.
Speedtest.net: the most famous speed test worldwide.
This is an excellent tool for a quick assessment on the network performance. Every operator in Myanmar hosts a speedtest server. That means that testing the operator against its own server results in testing its radio / transmission and core network, leaving the international IP transit aside.
Fast.com: Netflix speedtest
Netflix streaming service is available worldwide including Myanmar. The American entertainment company recently released a speed test against its own servers to help customers evaluating their ISP performance. As quality of experience is key for Netflix, this test will definitely be a good hint on the customer experience journey.
Our Home made tool: IiM v1
As we were unable to find a tool really fulfilling our needs, we decided to build one. The objective is to evaluate how long a customer would need to load a bunch of popular websites.
To tailor our test to the local customer experience, we picked the most popular sites in Myanmar according to Alexa.
This is the list:
No big surprise in this top 10. The usual Google, Facebook, Youtube, a few local websites and a porn site. The same browsing pattern can be found all over the world.
Note: we removed pcloud.com from the list as it is a file sharing service and it did not seems relevant for our test bench.
We developed a small script that will load each site one by one and output the loading time.
We will soon release the script so our readers can run their own benchmark and share the results.
Combined these different tests and the results will certainly be close to the real customer experience.
Hey taxi, where do we go now?
For our series of locations, the objective is to live a typical customer day and to follow yangonite habits: a walk in a park, a busy day of work or a late drink in a crowded bar.
Weather is so great these days in Yangon. People’s Park is one of the top location to chill out on a lazy sunday afternoon. People are laying down here and there under the trees, sleeping, eating, flirting but also browsing.
What’s best than watching cat videos on Youtube or catching up on your favorite show on Pyone Play comfortably laying on the fresh grass of the People’s Park on a warm sunday…
Hopefully, our moment of true happiness will not be troubled by any stuttering or buffering so we can really let go and relieve the stress of the weekdays.
Ericsson study shows that Slow mobile buffering is as stressful as a horror show
A quick reminder of the forces in presence:
- Ooredoo 4G
- Telenor 3G
- MPT 3G
So lets start by the usual Speedtest.net:
We can already see some big differences here. Ooredoo is clearly the winner with a solid 11Mbps. This is definitely a good result for the Qatar-based operator but we would expect more from a 4G network.
Note that we were totally unable to perform the upload test. We don’t believe this is an issue with the network as the rest of the benchmark and our own customer experience were spotless but more likely an issue with the speedtest server.
Then comes MPT with a decent 5mbps speed. It is more than enough for web browsing and streaming (even in 720p). Good job MPT.
The big surprise comes from Telenor which is surprisingly weak in this location and really struggled to reach 1Mbps.
Fast.com results are pretty similar. By comparing speedtest.net and fast.com results, we can assess that there is no congestion issue at the IP Transit level. The main bottleneck remains (as often) the access layer.
Our homemade tool humbly named IiM v1
Once again, there is no match here and the winner is Ooredoo hands on. All the websites are loading smoothly on the operator network.
MPT is doing pretty good as well. It loads the sites just a bit slower than Ooredoo except for www.thithtoolwin.com where the public operator is even faster.
Telenor due to the lack of throughput available is lagging behind. In total, it takes 161s to load the 10 websites for the Norwegian operator versus 42s for Ooredoo and 55s for MPT.
In conclusion, this first contest has a clear winner: Ooredoo.
Ooredoo is the only 4G available operator of the match and definitely deliver the best performance. MPT with its 3G network was really close and finally Telenor was a huge disappointment at People’s Park.
There is still a lot of room for improvement for the three mobile operators. Ooredoo 4G shall be capable of delivering more throughput. We would also like to see MPT closer to 10mbps on 3G. And Telenor has a lot of work on the table to provide the park visitors a smooth Internet experience.
That is it for our first challenge. Stay tuned for the next location!
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.