High-speed mobile data congestion in Tokyo; iPhone worse than Android


Mobile Marketing Data Laboratory recently conducted a study into data packet congestion in LTE 4G networks in Tokyo. Packet congestion was defined in this survey as when on an LTE connection the web page under test – Yahoo! Japan’s top page was used – fails to completely load within 30 seconds.


Between the 10th and 14th of June 2013 the investigation team visited the six busiest stations on the Tokyo Yamanote line, choosing two spots on each to test, during both the morning peak period of 7 am to 9 am, and evening peak of 5 pm to 7 pm. 100 connections were made from each collection point, for a total of 1,200 tests for each phone.

Specifically, the stations and locations were Shinjuku South and East entrances, Ikebukuro in front of South ticket wicket and Seibu East entrance, Shibuya in front of Tamagawa ticket wicket and Hikarie entrance, Tokyo Yaesu Central entrance and Marunouchi North entrance, Shinagawa Minato South entrance and Central ticket wicket, and Shinbashi Kasumori entrance and SL Plaza. For the tests, au and SoftBank iPhone 5s tested out Apple connections, and Android was represented by docomo’s Xperia Z, au’s HTC J butterfly, and SoftBank’s Aquos Phone Xx.

Instead of a graph, here’s Shinbashi’s SL Plaza:

17:01 Shinbashi

SL is the abbreviation used in Japan for Steam Locomotive, as you might have guessed!

Research results

1. iPhone 5 packet congestion rates

Stationau iPhone 5 congestion rateSoftBank iPhone 5 congestion rate

2. iPhone 5 page load time

Stationau iPhone 5 page load timeSoftBank iPhone 5 page load time
Shinjuku18.11 seconds5.50 seconds
Ikebukuro8.24 seconds4.84 seconds
Shibuya6.46 seconds3.74 seconds
Tokyo7.49 seconds4.15 seconds
Shinagawa18.32 seconds7.94 seconds
Shinbashi9.64 seconds3.28 seconds
Total11.38 seconds4.91 seconds

By time of day, au was about 50% slower in the evening, versus about 20% for SoftBank. By day of the week, Monday and Friday mornings were slower than the mid-week mornings for both carriers, and Friday evening was the slowest overall for au.

3. Android packet congestion rates

Stationdocomo Xperia Z congestion rateau HTC J congestion rateSoftBank Aquos Phone Xx congestion rate

4. Android page load time

Stationdocomo Xperia Z page load timeau HTC J page load timeSoftBank Aquos Phone Xx page load time
Shinjuku6.27 seconds2.47 seconds3.30 seconds
Ikebukuro8.96 seconds3.16 seconds5.12 seconds
Shibuya4.78 seconds2.76 seconds3.76 seconds
Tokyo8.06 seconds2.98 seconds3.46 seconds
Shinagawa4.00 seconds3.28 seconds3.86 seconds
Shinbashi5.08 seconds3.24 seconds4.19 seconds
Total6.19 seconds2.98 seconds3.95 seconds

It was difficult to see any obvious trend by time of day or weekday here.

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