LTE Benchmarking in Madrid

  • Coverage, ailment throughput and interoperability benchmarking

  • Study of the networks of the four mobile operators in September 2013

Top Optimized Technologies has performed a complete study with the aim of analyzing the features offered by the new LTE deployments in Madrid. Sony LT25 Xperia V terminals with TEMS Pocket and TEMS Discovery Tool were used. Some of the highlights are included in this report.

Download: White Paper – Benchmarking LTE in Madrid


The studied area was in central Madrid between Paseo Castellana, order viagra | Alcalá, sale Príncipe de Vergara and María de Molina. The images below show that the coverage is adecuate for a new deployment, although operators 1 and 4 have signal levels above those of operators 2 and 3, obtaining very few points below -110 dBm RSRP (red colour).


Furthermore, indoor measurements were conducted in the same area proving that, due to the high transmission frequencies, indoor penetration is very low and the signal level drops very fast as you get inside the buildings.

To complete this coverage tests, measurements were made in some strategic spots:

  • In Barajas airport T4 only one of the operators had coverage.
  • In Atocha train station there was no coverage when the terminal moved away from the outside areas.
  • The measurements in shopping centers had mixed results, some of them completely covered and others with no coverage at all.


Throughput is not only affected by the received signal level RSRP, but also by the transmission bandwidth, the quality of the signal (RSRQ), configuration parameters, etc.

Measurements included http, email sending and receiving and ftp. They were performed in several spots: Plaza de Colón, Sor Angela de la Cruz, commercial center in Serrano Street and Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The following graph shows ftp results after downloading 25 files of different sizes from 4 to 20MB. It includes tests with the 3G network technology to compare technology performance:


The throughputs obtained are much higher than those of the 3G network, being more than three times faster in most cases, although important differences exist between operators. Stands out one of the operators, with average rates of 20 Mbps in 4G, well above the others.


One of the design criteria of LTE technology was to reduce network delays. The latencies directly impact the quality of service perceived, not only because of the delay at the beginning of the data connection, but because they are critical for some advanced services such as online gaming. Also, as a fully packet switched network, very low delays are mandatory in order to offer voice over packet in the future (voice over LTE:VoLTE), as opposed to the traditional voice over circuit switched network in 3G and 2G.

The graph below summarizes the results achieved with 50 pings per operator and technology over two different servers:


In all cases operators show significant improvements in network delays in comparison with the 3G technology, always below 100 ms including peak values. In 3G there are also important differences, with the first two operators exhibiting latencies much higher than the other two. Furthermore, LTE traffic priorities can be assigned by service type which, properly configured, could improve the delays offered for services that are sensitive to this parameter.

CS Fallback and fast return to LTE

Today in LTE networks in Spain and in most of the world, the voice service is not offered through the LTE network, but the call is redirected to another technology with CS support like 3G, in what is known as CS Fallback. A series of calls were made to analyze how this process was performing, concluding that calls were directed to 3G properly, without drops, and with almost unnoticeable delays.

Nevertheless, there were differences in behavior in the way the call returned to 4G and in the delay to return after the call ends. As it turned out, for three of the operators, if at the end of the voice call there was an active data session, the mobile remained in 3G indefinitely. After the data session finishes, the terminal does return, but with different delay depending on the operator.

One of the operators analyzed proved an appropriate behavior, returning immediately to 4G right after the voice call ends even if there is an ongoing data session. However, for one operator it took up to 1m19s to reconnect to the 4G network. This is a very important behavior to have in mind as many instant messaging applications perform regular updates at short intervals, which could cause to stay attached to the 3G network indefinitely. A good parameter setting and implementation can make the terminal to immediately return to 4G, preventing it from getting stuck in the 3G network.


Deployed LTE networks in Madrid show great improvements over existing 3G networks, especially in terms of throughputs and latencies, which is going to establish a significant step forward in the user experience and in the use of mobile networks. However, it is necessary to pay attention and optimize some of the issues arisen, because they might impact users when traffic and number of LTE terminals start to grow.

Even between different networks deployed by the same supplier there are important differences in behavior, which shows the need for a proper network configuration and optimization. Companies with experience like Top Optimized Technologies can be helpful in these activities.

Download: White Paper – Benchmarking LTE in Madrid

Published originally in by Jesús Martínez de la Rosa (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

Let’s go with some LTE news!

Reflection about the possibility of using the 60Ghz band as a backhaul solution for small cells.

Interesting NSN results, where they prove the performance of calls that begin in LTE coverage (with VoLTE) and finish in 3G (what is known as SRVCC).

Article about 4G conectivity rising in cars, with some real examples and some reflections about the possible selling model.

(Language: Spanish) Deep comparative analysis about the different 4G rates of Spanish Operators.

(Language: Spanish) Amena (with Orange network), is the first Spanish virtual Operator with 4G services

Another interesting NSN trial, in this case with China Mobile, where they analyze the performance of a high quality video call between some Chinese cities using TD-LTE China Mobile network.


(Language: Spanish): When Movistar started offering 4G services, it had big issues with the iPhone 5 handset, since it couldn’t use its services. Some days later, Movistar broughth a solution.

Other interesting links

Interesting web where you cand find a lot of videotutorials about different LTE aspects, explaining them in a simple and a brief way.

ASCOM blog, where you can find some interesting studies.

And that’s all for now. See you next week!

Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

Summer is ending… But LTE news are really fresh! Let’s go with them:

First NSN trials of VoLTE in Medium East, with very interesting results.

Interesting analysis about how important will be LTE in critical communication services, which until now had been supported by TETRA.

British Operator EE has reached one million 4G users.

Complete summary about VoLTE state of art. For more information, take a look to this link:

General description of Self-organising Networks (SON), and its importance in heterogeneous networks (HetNets).

Interview with Hari Hariyanto, senior researcher for Telkom Indonesia, who describes the present LTE situation and deployment in his country.

(Language: Spanish) The European Union (EU) has approved its telco plans in order to eliminate roaming in Europe in 2016. As a first step, EU expects that before July 2014, Operators won’t charge to their users when they receive calls abroad.

(Language: Spanish) Some important news about Movistar (Telefonica) and 4G. The operator, since September 13tH .

NSN White paper about small cells deployment, in both outdoor and indoor scenarios, in order to offer high speed services to users.

(Language: Spanish) Complete summary about LTE current deployment in Spain, and the handsets which users could use to enjoy 4G services.

Other interesting links

Interesting web where you cand find a lot of videotutorials about different LTE aspects, explaining them in a simple and a brief way.

ASCOM blog, where you can find some interesting studies.

And that’s all for now. See you next week!

Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

I know that is summer, but after 4 weeks without any post, I think it’s time to give you some news about LTE. Don’t you think so? Let’s go with them!

(Language: Spanish) Vodafone will deploy 4G in other 8 Spanish cities during September and October.

(Language: Spanish)Vodafone and O2 plans in UK after theirs LTE networks have been activated. O2 case could give indications about what will do Movistar in the near future (for more information,,

Interesting reflection about how an operator has to act in order to compete with the rest of operators in the 4G market, offering some examples.

First convergent Orange rate, where it is offered ADSL services and a 2GB data plan with 4G speeds for only 50 euros.

Really interesting evaluation by Gartner about vendors “end to end” LTE deployment using magic quadrant.

Interview to Michele Zarri, who analyzes the VoLTE challenges that operators will have to handle, and details some of the advantages of this voice service. For more information, take a look to these interviews: and

“Carrier Aggregation” description, one of the most important “LTE Advanced” features, which allows higher speeds (than the LTE that is being deployed now) since supports bandwidth channels until 100MHz.

Some information about LTE world deployment.


(Language: Spanish) The new Samsung Galaxy terminal with special camera features lands on Europe including LTE functionality.

Other interesting links

Interesting web where you’ll see a lot of videotutorials about different LTE aspects, explaining them in a simple and a brief way.

See you next week!

Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

Is there any news about LTE this week? Of course! Let’s go with our newsletter:

(Language: Spanish) Yoigo and Telefonica have announced officially their agreement to share their networks. In this way, Yoigo will be able to offer ADSL and FTTH to their users, and Telefonica will offer LTE services using Yoigo infrastructure, waiting until the 800MHz Spanish band is liberalized.

(Language: Spanish) Telefonica rivals don’t agree with the alliance between Yoigo and Movistar, and here they explain their reasons.

Interview with Neelie Kross, EU Commissioner, who provides some information about the LTE status in Europe, and the problems that the technology will have to face in our continent.

Review about the latest topics related to the LTE roaming and the importance about its operating, especially for voice.

Description of the advantages of the “local-breakout” feature to the operators, since it would allow that the roaming traffic wouldn’t have to come back to the home network, but it could be managed directly by the local operator.

(Language: Spanish) Telefonica (O2) has announced LTE deployment in the UK since 29th of August, in three cities, using 800MHz band. O2 users from London, Leeds and Bradford will be able to enjoy 4G services since the end of this month.

Interesting Nokia white paper where are proposed some smart scheduling optimized algorithms.


(Language: Spanish) Pantech has launched onto the market a smartphone with LTE-Advanced connectivity, among other interesting features.

Other interesting links

Interesting web where are a lot of videotutorials about different LTE aspects, explaining them in a simple and a brief way.

See you next week!

Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

Let’s go with some news about LTE. Don’t miss them!

(Language: Spanish) Vodafone Spain will remove the extra fare of 9 euros that 4G users had to pay in order to use this technology. There is also an interesting comparative table between the different 4G Spanish Operators plan fares.

The next VoLTE Congress will take place in London on 1st-2nd October. In addition, they mention some information about the situation of this technology.

Citrix has won recently the prize ‘Best LTE Traffic Management Product’ at the LTE awards, due to the introduction of its new system call T3100, which allows operators to offer to the users a quality of experience (QoE), according to the expectations.

Many TETRA manufactures are planning to introduce in their portfolios LTE in addition to TETRA.

Huawei is already working in 5G (in fact there are right now 200 people working in this field), and they expect that in 2020 it will be available.

Summary about the recent LTE African congress that took place in Cape Down

Interesting interview to the SK Telecom CTO, reviewing the actual situation of the Operator with respect to LTE.

Interview with a Mastercard representative, who explains why LTE will have a key role in the future of the mobile payments.

Interview with the System Development responsable of Telia Sonera, who says how Europa will reach Asia in LTE, and the Operator plans abot LTE roaming and VoLTE.

In the last LTE awards, Samsung won the “Best LTE ran product” Price, due to its solution about smart LTE networks.

Other interesting links

A brief in general terms about what was decided in the LTE World Summit, which we attended in Amsterdam last June.

And that’s all for now. See you next week!

Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

Here we have some information about this week LTE news:

Massive CSFB Speed Improvement in German LTE Networks.

(Language: Spanish). A brief analysis about the possibility that our current data plans may result insufficient for the 4G services.

U.S. carrier Sprint has announced that its new 4G LTE network will be available in two New York boroughs Bronx and Brooklyn beginning on July 30. Transit Wireless and Sprint recently announced that the companies have finalized their contract to bring Sprint’s wireless voice and data service in the New York subway system.

A recent GSA LTE report confirms that 194 LTE networks are commercially launched in 75 countries, symptoms planned or in progress in 120 countries including existing commercial launches and forecast that there will be 260 commercial LTE networks in 93 countries by end 2013.

Nokia Siemes article where it is explained what is TD-LTE about.

Interesting seminar about how LTE can help operators become more profitable

Analysis of the situation of VoLTE. LTE Voice Summit is taking place on the 1st-2nd October 2013 in London

Article about how does roaming work in LTE networks


(Language: Spanish). Comparison of the best 4 handsets to enjoy connection speeds with Vodafone 4G

(Language: Spanish). Information about Samsung Galaxy S4 update to Yoigo and Orange 4G networks

See you next week!

Published originally in by Leticia Almansa López (contact)
and by Helena Muñoz Ayuso (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

LTE for begginers, Day 3: How fast can my LTE smartphone go?

If you have been watching at the 4G ads surrounding us lately, medicine the number 150 Mbps must sound familiar to you. This is the download speed we are supposed to reach from now on if we jump into 4G.
However, as it usually happens with these matters, that is the system maximum theoretical speed, only reachable if the maximum bandwidth (20 MHz) is available, we are alone at the network and our mobile phone belongs to a specific category.
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to accomplish these conditions simultaneously, and that’s why we will try to approach a more realistic speed depending on these features. There are a lot of features indeed that influence the download and upload speed we experiment. Of course, the network load will make it change significantly, but we leave this analysis, a lot more complex, for future posts.
For a start, we will suppose that the device has all the radio resources for itself for the following speed values shown. In this situation there are two things that affect in a direct way to the speed decrease: the LTE device category and the bandwidth that our 4G provider has available. Let’s have a brief look at them:

LTE device categories

There are five different LTE UE categories (UE stands for User Equipment). They are needed to ensure that the base station, or eNodeB, can communicate correctly with the user equipment. By relaying the LTE UE category information to the base station, it is able to determine the performance of the UE and communicate with it accordingly. The following tables show the supported features for the five categories and the maximum speeds reachable for each of them:


The modulation that provides the highest speed is 64 QAM, as it sends more information per symbol; but the fact that it can or cannot be used depends on the radio channel instant state. We suppose this modulation is been used for the given speed values (if the device category supports it).


The more TX and RX antennas (MIMO) are used, the bigger speed. However it is quite probable that the device only supports a 2×2 MIMO squeme.
According to the antenna configuration, the maximum download speed in shown in the next table:


It is not until Category 4 when we can reach the famous 150 Mbps, and we could get even twice that speed with Category 5, though this speed is not advertised because on the standard LTE deployments being made in Spain, 2×2 MIMO is used.
It is also worth noting that UE class 1 does not offer the performance offered by that of the highest performance HSDPA category.
(All categories for a 20 MHz bandwidth).

The category our LTE device belongs to is something that could easily not be taken into account, and however will condition significantly its performance. High range devices available nowadays such as Iphone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S4 are Category 3 devices. Huawei has presented on march 2013 the Pocket Wi Fi LTE GL04P that has among its features been the world’s first 4G LTE Category 4 User Equipment.
LTE UE categories are defined in the 3GPP specification “3GPP TS 36.306 Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA); User Equipment (UE) radio access capabilities (Release 8)”.

LTE Bandwidth

The configured bandwidth defines and limits the amount of physical resources that carry the information scheduled to the phone. The maximum configurable bandwidth in LTE is 20 MHz, but network providers may not use all of it, but 5, 10 or 15 MHz. So if we want to know the speed we can reach when we choose a provider, we should also know the bandwidth it is been using.
At the present moment, the spectrum distribution in Spain for the four LTE operators is as follows (the 800 MHz band is not yet available for LTE):


Even though they bought the license for 20 MHz, it is possible that it is not fully used at the beginning and so be extended in the future as the number of users increases. So this could be another possible reason for our speed falling.
Anyway if we supposed the 20 MHz are used, and also the best channel quality (that is 64 QAM), the maximum download and upload speeds for each category are as follows:


In order to have a reference, the 100 Mbps we get for a category 3 device and 20 MHz, fall to 79 Mbps with 10 MHz and to 39 Mbps with 5 MHz.
Therefore, we see that in the best situation, the 150 Mbps have fallen to 100 Mbps if we have a category 3 device. Starting with these 100 Mbps we will then have to take into account that we are not alone at the network and we have to share the resources with others users. Measurements taken in slightly loaded scenarios show peak rates between 50 and 70 Mbps as best performances at places where the coverage was maximum.
Even though the facts we have been discussing , with LTE we will experience better rates and much lower delays than with the previous HSDPA technology, but we have to take into account that those 150 Mbps are, at the moment at least, an utopia.

Published originally in by Leticia Almansa López (contact)

The best of the week

Let´s see this week summary of news about LTE:

Interview with Jeff Glueck, cialis CEO de Skyfire, about mobile telecom needs to cover during FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

Information about LTE the deployment in 2018.

(Language: Spanish) 4G Vodafone connection analysis made in several areas of Madrid.

(Language: Spanish) Information about the increase of the download limit in Vodafone 4G data fees.

NSN comparison between VoLTE and others VoIP alternatives.

Information about the intention of Yoigo to deploy its 4G network in every city over 70.000 inhabitants before the end of the year.

Other interesting links

On the website of Orange it´s already possible to check its 4G network coverage.

¡See you next week!

Published originally in by Helena Muñoz Ayuso (contact) or follow me on Linkedin

The best of the week

What’s new with LTE? Let us give you some pieces of information!

Huawei has recently made LTE available on Mount Everest, 5200 meters above sea level.

(Language: Spanish) Interesting news about the inminent agreement between Yoigo and Movistar. Yoigo will be able to offer ADSL services and Movistar could provide LTE to its users.

Current situation of the LTE deployment in Africa.

LTE handset evolution. Since February 2011, the number of LTE phones has increased from 63 to 948.

(Language: Spanish) Compilation about the most important information related to the LTE deployment of Vodafone Spain.

And that’s all for now! See you next week!


Published originally in by David Rueda Gómez (contact) or follow me on Linkedin