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Ookla 5G speed test: UAE crowned world's fastest 5G network in Q2 2023

A depiction of 5G network

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has grabbed the crown of the world's fastest 5G network, according to the latest report by speed test company Ookla. The middle eastern country recorded median 5G download speeds of 557.63 Mbps in Q2 2023.

Narrowing further, the UAE-based telecom operator etisalat by e& emerged as the fastest 5G network globally with median speeds of 680.73 Mbps. Meanwhile, du, another leading operator in the country, also ranks among the top 5G operators with a download speed of 453.93 Mbps.

UAE's impressive numbers resulted from the growing competition between the two operators, according to the analytics firm. When speaking of mobile gaming and video streaming experience, Ookla recorded median gaming latencies of etisalat by e& and du at 43 ms and 57 ms, respectively.

This has led to improved video start times and less video buffering when compared to 4G LTE or even WiFi. Ookla notes that UAE's improved 5G experience has boosted the Net Promotor Score (NPS) of its operators and users are more likely to recommend 5G over 4G. For reference, NPS is a research metric used to measure the likelihood of a customer recommending a product or service to their friends.

In its blog post, Ookla stated:

Indeed, 5G users in the market are more likely to recommend the nation’s networks when compared to 4G, with etisalat by e& leading the market with a score of 64.7 in Q2 2023, and du following with 46.7.

The speed difference between the two operators widened as du recorded a performance decline in Q2 2023. Also, etisalat by e& echoes the same lead in the 4G space with a median download speed of 83.35 Mbps, followed by du's 64.96 Mbps.

5G was commercially available in the UAE back in 2019 after the regulator TDRA (Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority) allocated the spectrum. Both operators managed through challenging conditions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to plunging revenues and limited prepaid spending.

Now, the operators are focused on bringing more postpaid subscribers under their roofs by offering bundled perks such as video streaming services, live sports, and mobile gaming.

Ookla 5G speed test Q2 2023

The UAE is followed by South Korea (501.56 Mbps), Qatar (465.62 Mbps), Brazil (447.30 Mbps), and Singapore (388.55 Mbps) among the countries with the fastest 5G networks. Singapore often finds its name at the top when talking about the fastest fixed broadband networks. However, the United States and India, which is the second largest smartphone market, couldn't make it on to the top 10 5G markets.

One of the concerns associated with 5G networks is they take a bigger toll on the battery when compared to 4G LTE. This is where Qualcomm Snapdragon chips take the lead with the lowest battery drain among flagship SoCs, Ookla said in its report earlier this year.

Source: Ookla

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