Forty-two million tests conducted in Poland by users of the SpeedTest.pl platform in 2021 show that this was a year of significant changes in Internet speed. The average download speed for both home and mobile Internet has increased by 42% compared to 2020. The previous year was also the beginning of the growing popularity of new technologies – Wi-Fi 6 and 5G, which will determine the increase in speed in the coming years.
This is not the end of the good news – both home Internet (30% to 33 Mb / s) and mobile Internet (up to 10 Mb / s) have accelerated the average data download. . In 2021, the average ping value in both categories also decreased by about 10% (to 23 and 34 ms, respectively).
What affected Internet access settings in 2021?
According to the editors of SpeedTest.pl, the first three of the following factors, which support such a significant acceleration in 2021, were key, and the next three are a signal of the processes that will stimulate the Internet access market. coming years:
- COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating investment
- Increasing share of FTTH fiber optic lines
- migration of customer offers to higher speeds
- Popularization of the Wi-Fi 6 standard
- Development of 5G technology – waiting for the frequency auction
- access of mobile operators to the fixed internet market
COVID-19 accelerated investment
In 2020, the telecommunications industry struggled with a strong movement created by “covid” restrictions that forced students and people working remotely to use home Internet connections. In many parts of Poland, the quality of data transmission turned out to be unsatisfactory for distance education and business services.
The third spring wave of 2021 did not have a significant impact on the quality of Internet connections. Operators, especially mobile operators, who were “pushed” by the first wave of COVID-19, which saw a sudden 30-40% increase in traffic, made significant investments in 2020 to improve network capacity. Thanks to the reconstruction of the 2100 MHz band, among others, the increase in the number of Carrier Aggregation devices, or the continuation of the introduction of 5G, the average speeds from 2020 increased more dynamically than in previous years. Home Internet has been less affected by the pandemic.
Map of changes in average download results for mobile operators for 2020 and 2021
Fiber-optic Internet is becoming more widespread
This method of access to the Internet is the most desirable and best rated by Polish Internet users (according to a study by NPS SpeedTest.pl). It is becoming increasingly popular and is likely to become the leading type of home Internet in Poland. It has both the highest average data download speed of 188 Mb / s in 2021 (twice the average speed of home Internet) and the lowest ping (twice as low) of 10 ms. higher than the average for home Internet).
As the number of users increases, so does the surface area. According to SpeedTest.pl, the number of communes where FTTH tests are registered in 2021 will increase by about 35% compared to 2020.
Availability of tests on FTTH technology in 2020 and 2021
Such a dynamic change in coverage indicates that, in addition to the investments of operators, more and more connections are being made within the OP DP, although the percentage of lines used in this case is still low and requires incentives from operators and perhaps from the state. Thanks to the decision of the UKE to determine the conditions for the use of electric poles in the construction of telecommunications infrastructure from the beginning of 2021, the growth dynamics of the accessibility of the FTTH network may even increase. As a result, the construction of new fiber-optic networks will be both cheaper and faster.
Migration of customer offers to higher speeds
This is not a spectacular, but a fundamental process that “pushes the Polish Internet upwards” in parallel with technological development. Each year, a significant portion of Internet access contracts, usually for 2 years, expire. This is a unique opportunity to extend your contracts, usually with a new router and a higher speed option. Operators often entice customers with faster Internet for the same (and sometimes even lower) price, relying on higher satisfaction and loyalty. This is a classic way to protect your customer base from competitors.
In addition to the access network, the key to improving the quality of the Internet is the modernity of the equipped router, as the vast majority of users use the Internet at home via Wi-Fi. Operators focus mainly on the access network, which saves on subscriber equipment, which is a certain inconsistency, often due to a conflict of purpose between the technical and marketing and sales departments.
The differences between Wi-Fi standards are huge – the most popular 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (more than 65% of tests) provides an average download speed of 23 Mb / s on the home Internet, and only 37 Mb / s on the FTTH input. , Wi-Fi 6 provides speeds of 366 and 512 Mb / s, respectively, which is up to 15 times faster. Currently, the percentage of tests performed by users of this standard in Poland is still very low, <1%, and Orange is the leader in the supply of Wi-Fi 6 equipment.
5G, ie waiting for the auction
In connection with the cancellation of the auction, a new technology was introduced on the frequencies used for 4G LTE transmission in the networks of three operators. Unfortunately, these are already overloaded with current traffic. Plus, the fifth generation was the only operator to launch the network in a specific range, which means that the 5G performance of this operator is significantly better than the other three.
The results of this year’s tender should finally make this segment more dynamic.
Access of mobile operators to the fixed internet market
2021 is also an important entry for mobile operators into the cable internet market. Play and T-Mobile have recently stepped up sales. The presence of three additional strong brands in this market (with the exception of Orange, which has long been a leader in the fixed line Internet access market) will further accelerate the migration of customers of local WLAN and mobile networks to cable networks. The direction of the market was determined by the capture of UPC by Play.
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