TIM takes gold for mobile connectivity at Rio Olympics

29 July 2016 | Jason Mcgee-Abe

TIM has taken home the gold for the top network and spots for mobile connectivity after network tests of the top mobile carriers in host city, Rio de Janeiro.

Ahead of the world’s eyes falling on Brazil for the start of the Olympics next Friday, engineers at Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) have put Rio’s largest mobile network providers to the test by carrying out mobile network performance benchmarking while visiting Rio’s top tourist attractions and sports venues.

Just over 23,800 task tests were conducted in order to evaluate network performance of Tier 1 Brazilian carriers (TIM, Clara, Oi and Vivo) throughout Rio ahead of the city’s expected 500,000 additional visitors.

To rank Rio’s top mobile providers, GWS applied its recently launched proprietary OneScore and benchmarked mobile internet performance across operators looking at typical usage scenarios including music and video streaming, social media browsing and posting and video calling.

Overall, TIM has the highest OneScore™ ranking for visitors to Rio this summer, having the top data reliability and speed at visitor hotspots Maracanã, Christ the Redeemer, and Barra. 

mobile operating ranking

Best and worst locations

The best connected locations in Rio are Copacabana beach and the Sambadrome, with all four networks scoring high for both speed and availability. On average, at the majority of locations hosting sporting events carriers nearly achieve 100% LTE across all sites. For tourist-specific locations, carriers TIM and Claro maintain the highest percentages of LTE services, offering the best 4G experience.

The site of one of the city’s top tourist attractions, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, offers the worst location with inconsistent connectivity across all major mobile providers, the GWS research has found: “Even the best network (TIM) only gives users an 89% of successfully uploading images and video” and there was a 38% success rate on the Vivo network here for live streaming.

OneScore

“This summer, Rio’s mobile networks will be under the spotlight, with an unprecedented surge in the number of users and devices they will have to support. Therefore, it is critical that mobile operators take the necessary steps to support the increase in demand from fans, sightseers, and those who are lucky enough to be in Rio,” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions.

“While operators may be taking extra precautions like installing additional cell sites to help increase network capacity, just building out the networks to support the influx in users doesn’t guarantee a great experience. In the end, what’s the point of being at an event and seeing a signal on your phone if you can’t share what’s going on? These are meant to be the fastest games ever – not just for the athletes, but also for mobile data speeds, and users will expect to be able to upload photos and videos in real-time. Our testing showed that when it came to the tasks consumers really look for – downloading event information and results to uploading a selfie, TIM came to win.”

According to the GSMA, Brazil has a mobile broadband coverage level of more than 90% of the population. Yet, GWS’s test has shown that network reliability still seems to be an issue across mobile operators.

London 2015 vs. Rio 2016

London '15 vs Rio '16

GWS says “with 4G widely available, these will be the fastest and most connected Olympics in history” and the networks in Rio are quicker than speeds registered during testing in London during 2015.

However, this doesn’t mean that every single tourist attraction is equally well-connected, and it also doesn’t mean that every single provider in Brazil gives users equal access to mobile connectivity, GWS points out. Rio still has “notspots” at notable tourist destinations as well as network discrepancies, but a varied experience across different providers and variations in reliability and speeds will characterise the Rio Olympics experience, added GWS.

To view all the results you can access the interactive map here: http://goo.gl/Q8qxfm