Having announced its 5G strategy in April 2018, which has since been incorporated in the country’s Broadband Strategy 2030, new analysis from Ookla shows that Austria is making good headway with its 5G rollout, with network operator Drei out-performing its rivals.
Austria committed to the rollout of 5G in all state capitals by the end of 2020, which it achieved, and said it would deliver 5G coverage to all main traffic routes in the country by the end of 2023, with full nationwide 5G coverage by the end of 2025.
“We analyzed Speedtest Intelligence data from Q1 to Q2 2021 to see how performance is tracking two years on from launch,” Ookla analysis explained. “We compared Austrian 5G speeds to those of its regional peers and examined how its operators 5G networks perform across the country.”
Top providers in Austria
5G performance varied among Austria’s top providers, but Drei Austria had the fastest median 5G download speed at 183.04 Mbps. This was at least 20% faster than the nearest competitor.
“Despite COVID-19 related delays, the Austrian regulator has completed the auction of spectrum in key 5G bands,” Ookla’s analysis said. “The first auction in early 2019 saw all three national mobile operators acquire contiguous bands at least equal to the EU’s recommended 80-100 MHz in the C-band. A follow up multi-band auction (which included spectrum in the 700 MHz band) was conducted in September 2020 and included obligations to cover a range of not-spots (areas of zero mobile broadband coverage) and partial not-spots (areas of coverage by only one network operator).”
Drei Austria recently announced a trial in the capital Vienna and plans to launch a commercial 5G SA network in spring 2022. And whilst Austria has seen a clear improvement in mobile network speeds with the arrival of 5G, over the next 12 months the onus is on Drei’s competition to make up lost ground.
“We’ll be interested to see if other providers make the necessary investments to catch up to Drei,” Ookla’s analysis said. “This could bring up speeds across the country and improve Austria’s standing relative to its peers in the Speedtest Global Index™, where it ranked 31st for mobile speed in July 2021. Learn more about how Speedtest Intelligence can help you benchmark your 5G performance against competitors.”
And according to Ookla, having access to large contiguous blocks of spectrum in the key C-band will “allow Austrian operators to make more efficient use of their spectrum resources”, whilst and better supporting high-bandwidth, low-latency 5G use cases.