The peruvian mobile market is comprised of several operators, of which four have their own networks: Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar. These four operators together have almost 100% of the mobile market share in Peru. Thus, the network situation for these MNOs acts as a trustworthy barometer of the network situation in the country. A good knowledge of the network situation also allows the customers to perform fully informed decisions. The objective of this report is to provide a summary of the network situation in Peru for these four carriers.
This report provides a quick overview of the network situation based on the following KPIs:
- Disconnection time: time that the users of an MNO have had only emergency coverage or no coverage daily in average, in minutes.
- 4G and 5G time: time that the users of an MNO have had 4G and, if deployed, 5G coverage (including 5G NSA and 5G SA).
- 5G penetration and usage: percentage of users that have 5G connectivity and the percentage of time that 5G is actually used.
- Network status in the Common Coverage Area: an analysis of the network status, based on the signal strength and the signal quality, for the areas where all four MNOs provide coverage.
- Call technology usage: percentage of use of each call technology by MNO. This shows which technologies are mainly used by the customers.
- Mobile network latency: percentage of customers on different latency ranks. The ranks are selected according to several performance thresholds.
The data collected by Weplan Analytics shows several notable differences among MNOs regarding coverage and user experience.
Bitel, the only MNO without a current 5G deployment in Peru, shows a higher disconnection time than its competitors. However, the 4G coverage provided by this MNO is highly similar to the other MNOs, with all of them providing 4G or 5G coverage at least 89% of the time.
5G connectivity is not widespread enough in Peru to provide solid affirmations about the different MNOs, but among the two MNOs with the most developed 5G, Claro and Entel, Claro offers more 5G coverage (40% of the time) to its 5G clients than Entel (27% of the time).
Regarding the mobile network situation, Bitel and Claro present better results both area-wise and measurement-wise, having more area and measurements with fair or better (and, specially, good or better) situation.
About the call types, 3G is still a relevant technology in the country, being used between 31% and 58% of the time in MNOs with VoLTE and, essentially, 100% of the time for Bitel, the only MNO without VoLTE service. 2G is, overall, almost unused, and VoLTE is gaining weight with between 40% of the calls (the case of Movistar) and 67% of the calls (the case of Claro).
Finally, regarding latency, Movistar and Entel present better overall latency than their competitors, with at least half the measurements being good or excellent. On the other hand, Bitel only has 40% of its measurements being good or excellent, that is, around 60% of their measurements show some sign of degraded latency.
The main key figures are the following:
- The four main MNOs (Bitel, Claro, Entel, Movistar) in Peru provide 4G or 5G coverage to their customers more than 89% of the time.
- 5G is still on an initial phase in Peru, with this technology restricted to some main cities and available only for three MNOs (Claro, Entel and Movistar). On average, 3% of all clients for the analyzed MNOs with 5G are 5G clients. The MNOs with most 5G clients are Claro and Entel (4%). Movistar has a very limited geographic scope for its current 5G deployment and is not fully comparable.
- Among the 5G customers, Claro leads the 5G coverage time with 40% of 5G coverage. Entel reaches a 27% of 5G coverage for its 5G clients.
- 3G is still very relevant in the country, being used in between 31% and 58% of the calls for VoLTE MNOs (Claro, Entel, Movistar) and essentially being the only technology used for calls in the case of Bitel.
- Only two MNOs, Entel and Movistar, have at least half their measurements with good or excellent latency. For Claro this figure is a 47% and for Bitel just a 40%, that is, 53% and 60% (respectively) of the measurements show some some level of degradation for those two MNOs.
In the following pages an in-depth description of each analyzed KPI can be found, including the methodology and rationale behind them. At a more general level, the following paragraph describes the data collection methodology.
At a more general level, Weplan Analytics collects crowdsourced data from more than 200 million devices in 31 countries. For this analysis, 4,798 million measurements collected between December 2022 and February 2023 were used. The following map shows the density of measurements taken throughout the country by Weplan Analytics.
The most relevant insights can be found in the Summary section above. A detailed account of each one comprises the rest of the report below.
As the four aforementioned MNOs serve their networks to other parties (such as VMNOs, due to roaming agreements or as part of emergency coverage) the following criteria to analyze each MNO were followed:
- Bitel: has been filtered by the SIM BITEL.
- Claro: has been filtered by the SIM CLARO.
- Entel: has been filtered by the SIM ENTEL.
- Movistar: has been filtered by the SIM MOVISTAR.
Connectivity: Daily disconnection time
The following table and graphic show the disconnection time as the average daily minutes that a MNO has experienced disconnection. Disconnection time includes moments when a customer has no coverage at all (for example in underground parkings, inside elevators, so far away from a site that connection is not possible...) or moments when a customer only has emergency coverage, that is, the ability to perform only emergency calls. This disconnected time may (and, in most cases, will) be discontinuous, and is the sum of all disconnections experienced by users.
Among the peruvian MNOs, Bitel experiences more disconnection time than their competitors with 33 daily disconnection minutes. Entel has the best disconnection time figure (23 minutes), followed by Claro and Movistar (26 and 27 minutes, respectively).
Connectivity: 4G and 5G time
With the advent of the newer 5G technology older technologies such as 2G and 3G are being turned off to free frequencies. Thus, guaranteeing at least a proper 4G coverage is one of the main goals of MNOs, and for those who already have 4G sorted out, the focus turns to 5G.
Regarding 4G and 5G connectivity the situation is more even. All four carriers have similar values: Entel and Movistar are statistically tied with 90% of 4G or better coverage time, whereas Bitel and Claro closely follow with an statistical tie at 89% of 4G or better coverage.
5G penetration and usage
Commercial 5G rollout started in Peru in 2021. However, its deployment has been limited to zones close to the capital city of Lima and a few selected cities. Bitel has no 5G network yet, so it will be ommited in the 5G analysis.
The ability of a customer to use the 5G network depends on several factors. First, their device must be 5G compatible. Second, the MNO must have a 5G network. Finally, the client must contract a mobile plan that allows the 5G to be used, as not all MNOs offer full access to the 5G network as part of the regular plans. The following charts show the percentage of users by MNO that have 5G access and, for those who do, the percentage of time that they are under 5G coverage. To establish whether a user is a 5G client or not, their 5G connectivity has been checked: if they have connected to the 5G network at least once, they are considered 5G clients.
The percentage of 5G clients in Peru is still low, with Claro and Entel statistically tied at 4% of their clients being 5G clients, and Movistar having just 1% of their clients as 5G clients.
Regarding 5G coverage, Claro leads the situation with 40% of 5G coverage for its 5G clients, followed by Entel with a 27%. Movistar, having a geographical scope even more limited than its competitors, has only a 2% time of 5G coverage for its 5G clients.
4G and 5G network status
There are two main network performance indicators: signal strength and signal quality. Each technology has its own measurements, but five great categories can be established:
- Very Good: the performance for all network usages will be excellent.
- Good: the performance for all network usages may present occasional difficulties but is overall good.
- Fair: most network-dependent usages (such as calls or data usage) will have a decent or better performance.
- Degraded: network usage will be unstable and unreliable but allows for basic usage such as calls with acceptable quality and very slow data transfer.
- Very Degraded: network usage different from emergency calls is nearly impossible.
There are two ways to establish this value: looking at the percentage of area and looking at the percentage of measurements on each category. Most measurements take place in urban areas, where coverage is better, but in most countries most of the area is not urban, so the percentage of area with a problematic network situation may be different to the percentage of measurements with a problematic network situation. To ensure a fair comparison between carriers only areas where all MNOs have data have been analyzed. Also, as most connections are made in 4G and 5G, only those technologies have been considered. The frequencies used, the total bandwidth per band, the number of clients and the assigned band for each MNO are very influential factors in these results.
The overall network situation in the common coverage area in Peru, area-wise, does not present extreme values. Only Bitel has a small percentage of area as Very Good, and it is a small percentage. On the other extreme, only Entel and Movistar present some percentage of area as very degraded, and it is once again a very small percentage. However, the percentage of area with fair or better situation is vastly different between MNOs: Bitel and Claro, with an 88% and a 85% of area with fair or better situation respectively, leave their competitors behind by a great difference. Movistar has a 73% and Entel just a 64% of area with fair or better situation; or, in other words, 36% of the common area has a degraded or very degraded situation for Entel. The differences in areas with good connectivity are also relevant: Bitel has a 32% of the common area with good mobile network situation, whereas its competitors have between 11% (Entel) and 14% (Claro).
Measurement-wise the situation is different. Bitel keeps its leadership in fair or better measurements, with an 81% of the measurements being fair or better, followed by Claro (77%), Movistar (66%) and Entel (63%). The difference is specially clear regarding good and very good measurements, where Bitel (49%) and Claro (41%) show a great difference compared to Movistar (33%) and Entel (31%).
Call type percentage
Although 2G and 3G are capable of data usage, the advent of 4G and more recently 5G technologies have relegated them to mostly call usage. The absence of 4G-based call technology ensured that 2G and 3G, as the only way to make a phone call, were still relevant. The development of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) calls during the 2010s marked the beginning of the end for these legacy technologies.
However, not all customers can benefit from VoLTE calls. For a customer to use this technology several conditions must be met:
- Their MNO must provide 4G and VoLTE.
- They must have a phone capable of performing VoLTE calls.
- They must have a phone rate that includes VoLTE calls.
- Their phone must be homologated by the MNO and the manufacturer to perform VoLTE calls.
The fourth condition means that a customer, without changing their phone, can have VoLTE with one MNO but lack it with a different MNO. When a customer connected to 4G without VoLTE capabilities (for any reason) tries to perform a call, a hand-off process to the 2G or 3G network takes place. This process, depending on the method applied, is called CSFB (the most common one) or SRVCC. Aside from those technologies, VoWiFi (Voice over Wi-Fi) is also used when a Wi-Fi network is available.
VoLTE usage is still making its way in the peruvian market. Bitel has no VoLTE, and mainly resorts to 3G (either directly or via CSFB) for its calls. Among the other MNOs, Claro has the highest VoLTE usage (67% of all calls), followed by Entel (51%) and Movistar (40%). 3G, both directly and as a fall-back resource for calls made under 4G connectivity but without VoLTE capability, is still very relevant in the country: almost 100% of Bitel's calls are made in 3G, whereas for its competitors the figures are lower but still high. Movistar has more than half their calls in 3G (58%), followed by Entel (49%) and Claro (31%). 2G is not very used, with the only relevant figure being 2% of 2G calls (either directly or via CSFB) by Movistar.
Latency is the measurement of how much time it takes for the information to be transmitted between the user and the network. A lower latency means a faster, smoother network experience, whereas a higher latency means that the network experience will not be as good, or even unusable. This makes latency a good indicator of user experience. We have divided latency in four great groups:
- Excellent latency translates to a very smooth user experience, even with the most data-intensive usage, such as gaming or 4K streaming.
- Good latency translates to a good user experience, although gaming may not be as fluid and 4K may present occasional problems.
- Degraded latency translates to a mediocre user experience. Gaming and 4K are either uncomfortable or impossible, videochat may present noticeable lag, messaging with multimedia may take a long time to load and loading a web may be slow.
- Bad latency translates to an essentially unusable network. Only the lightest usage, such as sending messages without multimedia works decently.
Among the four main MNOs in Peru, Movistar and Entel present the best latency results. They have at least half the analyzed measurements with good or excellent measurements. The other two MNOs do not reach this 50% threshold, with Claro having only 47% of their measurements being good or excellent and Bitel having a 40%, that is, having 60% of its measurements with bad or degraded latency. Movistar has a specially good situation, with 29% of its measurements being excellent.
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