Markus Mandau and Wolfgang Pauler
The Austrian subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom wins our network test in Austria this year. The advantage over A1 is small, but the victory is deserved, because Magenta has the best network for telephoning and surfing. The 5G technology also works very well – Magenta also performs better than the competition here.
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After several years in second place, Magenta can ascend the throne, crown itself as the best network in Austria and thus push the former state-owned company A1 into second place. With a school grade of 1.2, the network performs very well. In terms of reliability and performance, we hardly have anything to complain about. Magenta is turning the tables this year: Last year, the network of the Telekom subsidiary had to admit defeat to the market leader A1 in many sub-disciplines. However, Magenta is currently just a step ahead when making phone calls and surfing the Internet. The network operator also comes up trumps when it comes to 5G expansion, with A1 being just as far ahead in terms of 5G availability, while we measured better performance values for Magenta. It is also interesting that the magenta network performs better than that of A1 in both urban and rural areas. It also excels in urban hotspots such as public squares, shopping malls and train stations in big cities. Only in long-distance trains does A1 come before magenta.
Quickly finished: Magenta often makes content that is called up available faster than the competition.
Magenta has the most reliable network
The fastest network does not always win our test, reliability is very important. And a network operator can also score points with a fast response time. The latter two factors, along with the 5G rating, are the reason why Magenta is ahead this year. This is shown, for example, by the tests that we carried out for telephony: Magenta is ahead of A1 and Drei in successfully switched calls and also has the lower dropout rate. This also applies to the aborted WhatsApp calls. Here, magenta is the top value with a share of 0.51 percent, while A1 with 1.02 and three with 1.43 percent have a higher error rate.
We evaluate the voice quality using the POLQA algorithm (Perceptual Objective Listening Quality Assessment). POLQA issues a Mean Opinion Score (MOS), which ideally is just under 5 points, the worst possible value is 1. Magenta also has a small lead in terms of voice quality. The network achieves an average POLQA-MOS of 4.53. Three with 4.46 and A1 with 4.45 follow in the places. However, the difference between the network operators is so small that you can measure it but hardly notice it in everyday life. Magenta also has the lowest rate of phone calls with very poor voice quality. This is reflected in the measurements by speech samples with a POLQA-MOS of less than 1.6.
5G performance: In this discipline, Magenta can overtake its long-term rival A1 – albeit only just.
5G network with the best performance
Magenta doesn't have the fastest LTE network. In this discipline, it can only rarely overtake A1 in downloads. The only exception are the measurements that we made at the urban hotspots in the inner cities of the metropolises. If the network reception is not that good there, Magenta is just ahead of A1. To determine that, let's look at where the bottom 10 percent of all downloads begin. In city centers it is 39.5 Mbit/s for magenta. A1 achieves 38.6 Mbps. Bringing up the rear is three with 28.9 Mbit/s – all pretty good values by the way. When uploading, it looks better for magenta. In the cities, our test winner with 62 MBit/s even achieves a better average than A1 with 58 MBit/s. Three is still doing very well with 54 MBit/s.
In the 5G network, on the other hand, Magenta sets a brisk pace and delivers the fastest downloads with an average of 416 MBit/s. However, A1 is only one MBit/s slower. If you only look at the top 10 percent of all download measurements, Magenta leads with 721 MBit/s, while A1 comes in at 700 MBit/s. Three has to leave some distance and achieves 530 MBit/s. If you look at the maximum speed, Magenta delivers by far the fastest 5G sample at just under 1.4 GBit/s. A1 does not reach the GBit limit with 960 MBit/s and three remains well below with 548 MBit/s.
But high speeds are only one aspect of 5G. As long as the network operators are still in the middle of the expansion, availability plays a major role. In the five major cities of Vienna, Linz, Graz, Salzburg and Innsbruck, all three network operators don't give each other much. Even on the N78 band at 3.6 GHz, they have an availability of just under or over 90 percent. Impressive, because band N78 does not have a large range compared to the LTE bands, but allows for the very fast downloads mentioned above. Although the availability only applies along our route through these cities, it is still gratifyingly high. In Vienna, Magenta is even at the top with an availability of 92.9 percent, followed by Drei with 91.6 percent and A1 with 88.7 percent. Overall, however, Magenta has to admit defeat in terms of availability in the A1 cities. While driving on freeways and country roads, we registered the fast 5G at 3.6 GHz for Magenta more often than for A1. But if you take all the frequencies on which 5G is sent together, A1 gets the best rate in the country with an availability of 67.9 percent. Magenta comes close with 62.3 percent. Overall, we currently see magenta just ahead of A1 in 5G. However, the lead is so small that only further 5G expansion will show whether Magenta will keep its lead or have to vacate the throne again next year.