Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cuban 3G speeds in context

I have seen mobile speed tests in Havana ranging from .5 to 1 Mbps and want to put that in context.

In the 1990s, the ITU specified a minimum speed of 2Mbit/s for stationary or walking users and 348 kbit/s in a moving vehicle. Commercial service began rolling out in the early 2000s.

I have seen anecdotal reports putting 3G speed in Havana as being between .5 and 1 Mbps.

I had a hard time finding any actual 3G performance data since service providers have nearly all converted to 4G LTE, but I found two sources.

One, from 2014, reported 3G speeds ranging from 384Kbps to 2Mbps, but they gave no explanation of how they gathered their data.

The other is recent and better documented. Professor Peter Heinzmann the University of Applied Sciences, Rapperswil Switzerland sent a report on 3G speeds in Switzerland for the year between December 16 2017 and December 16 2018. They took 16,942 download measurements from 1,762 devices and 16,766 upload measurements from 1,757 devices. The median download speed was 4 Mbps and the mean was 6 Mbps. The median and mean upload speeds were 1 Mbps.

Here are the cumulative upload (green) and download (blue) speed distributions:

These speeds are well above those reported so far in Cuba. Since the Cuban towers were installed recently and some in Switzerland might be quite old, I suspect that the difference is due to congestion at the towers or in backhaul. Only ETECSA really knows what is going on.

#Internet #Cuba #mobile #ICT4D

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