Global Wireless Solutions Event-o-Meter reveals Mardi Gras 2019 has the worst mobile network reliability they have ever seen

DULLES, Va. — March 5, 2019 — With crowds estimated at around 1.4 million, the city of New Orleans has been filled with throngs of people this year celebrating Mardi Gras, and Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) network testing specialists were in the midst of it all to see how well – or in this case, how poorly – the mobile networks responded to the overwhelming demand at one of the biggest multi-day parties in the country.

According to the GWS Event-O-Meter, Mardi Gras 2019 received a OneScore of 66 out of 100, earning the event a “D” in the classroom of mobile network performance. That OneScore is notably lower than Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration (75), the 2018 New Year’s Eve celebration in New York’s Times Square (77), and the 2018 Boston Marathon (86).

The Mardi Gras 2019 findings of the GWS Event-o-Meter provide a true measure of network performance at popular events nationwide and a barometer for how American consumers experience network performance at times of heavy traffic. The GWS Event-o-Meter is based on the company’s OneScore evaluation process, a measurement of overall performance that takes into account voice, data, video, coverage, and reliability metrics, as well as customer experience.

In today’s mobile society, reliable cellular networks are a given – a requirement for daily life. So, what happens when you attend a major event like Mardi Gras and you want to post one of the coolest videos you’ve ever taken?  According to GWS testing and testimony on the streets of New Orleans, waiting the 30 seconds to post your video puts a damper on revelry.

“Four straight days of poor performance must have been frustrating for those attending this large and very popular event. The networks were simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of people trying to connect,” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO and founder of Global Wireless Solutions. “We did notice that the operators added more advanced features since we last tested in New Orleans six months ago. For example, multiple carrier aggregation has increased substantially, doubling the capacity. But it simply wasn’t enough.”

Event-o-Meter Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2019: Findings

GWS performed testing from March 2 through Fat Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at Mardi Gras events including parades, festivals, and celebrations in the French Quarter and across the city. The official OneScore for Mardi Gras in New Orleans was 66 out of 100, a near-failing grade for overall network performance.

Mardi Gras revelers also dealt with:

  • Video uploads that took about 30 seconds on average during Mardi Gras, compared to 13 seconds based on national averages.
  • Photos and selfie uploads took almost 14 seconds, an eternity compared to the six-second average for the same tasks measured on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
  • Video uploads took noticeably longer across NOLA parade routes (34 seconds) as compared to the French Quarter (27 seconds), suggesting that the performance was better in the Quarter. This is somewhat ironic, because people were packed in so tightly on Bourbon Street that they couldn’t even reach their phones, lowering network usage in the French Quarter overall.
  • Poor performance for data-related tasks, such as web browsing and uploading posts to social media, was noted particularly along parade routes, scoring a 94 percent for Task Success Rate (TSR) – one of the lowest scores ever recorded by GWS.

The lackluster performance was validated by people on the streets of New Orleans. “We expected there to be poor performance during Mardi Gras but not as bad as we experienced this year,” said one Mardi Gras participant. This sentiment was shared across the city.

Despite reports of poor performance, network carriers offered advanced features to improve performance, including LTE 4CA (carrier aggregation of four channels for the fastest 4G available), higher-order modulation like 256QAM, voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls, and increased use of LTE multiplexing techniques (multiple-input and multiple-output) like 2×2 and 4×4 MIMO.

“Americans count on wireless performance when and where they need it, especially at major celebrations like Mardi Gras,” added Dr. Carter. “Consumers want to share their experiences by posting photos, uploading videos and calling friends and family. Overall, the networks failed to accommodate the incredibly high traffic at one of the craziest times and busiest places in the country.”

 

Methodology

GWS had two data collection teams in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Each team used SwissQual QualiPoc on Samsung Galaxy S9 collection devices to measure the performance of the Tier 1 mobile networks. Nearly 11,000 voice and data samples were collected and compiled into a single OneScore, resulting in a combined overall event experience measurement on a scale from 0-100. Consumer feedback was collected on site during the festivities. Mardi Gras data collection started on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at 4 p.m. CT and concluded on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at 1 a.m. CT.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Global Wireless Solutions has set the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines high-level network testing data with real-world network usage scenarios to make the results of testing relatable and easy to understand. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of benchmarking products, services and OneMeasure diagnostic apps that include drive, venue and in-building testing. At last count, GWS has driven 12 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

 

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