Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) evaluated mobile network performance in
Chicago’s Grant Park while walking amongst thousands of Pokémon GO
players (“trainers”). Using their smartphones and tablets, trainers
moved around Grant Park while actively engaged in the app’s social
gameplay activities including online interactions with each other.
During this popular four day event, GWS network testing specialists
measured how well the mobile networks managed the surge in connectivity
and social media traffic while thousands of trainers were online in the
park in search of Pokémon (an estimated 21,000
participants attended in 2018 along with curious spectators).
In terms of overall performance during the Pokémon GO Fest, mobile
networks posted a OneScore of 72 out of 100 – the equivalent of an C-;
an average score particularly when compared to other large events tested
so far this year. Earlier this year, GWS Event-O-Meter recorded
OneScores of 38 at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, 76 at
the Boston Marathon, 87 and 70 at MLB’s Opening Day in Nationals Park
and Yankee Stadium respectively, 66 during Mardi Gras in New Orleans,
and 77 for New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
“Thousands of Pokémon GO Fest participants gathered together over four
days at Grant Park, diligently playing and constantly connected
regardless of whether it was sunny, rainy or chilly – that’s an
impressive outing with large demands on the mobile networks. Fortunately
the networks held up and provided participants what they needed the most
– reliability,” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO and founder of Global Wireless
Solutions, Inc. (GWS). “With the networks achieving data task success
rates of nearly 100%, participants were able to play unimpeded and
spectators were able to post to their favorite social media sites
without problems; the net result was four days of fun and entertainment,
and an event that was well done with a solid performance by the network
This report marks the sixth GWS Event-O-Meter for 2019, a measure of
network performance at popular events nationwide and a barometer for how
American consumers experience wireless connectivity when networks are
trying to accommodate 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 based on customer experience.
Event-O-Meter Key Findings at Pokémon GO Fest 2019 in Chicago:
GWS performed four days of testing throughout Grant Park where Pokémon
GO Fest was held including all areas where participants played (i.e.,
areas where trainers captured, traded, trained and battled Pokémon).
This included the Buckingham Fountain, Spooky Woods, Winter Forest,
Fairy Garden, Sandy Desert, Team Lounges, and Battle Arena. The mobile
networks scored a 72 out of 100 for overall performance at this popular
GWS results also revealed the following while testing:
- 100 percent of voice calls were completed successfully.
Almost 100 percent (99.9) of data-related tasks, like web browsing,
sending and receiving app-related data, and uploading posts to social
media were completed successfully (this is notable considering that
players were constantly online while playing the game).
Video uploads took 9 seconds, and photos and selfie uploads took 5
seconds (not too slow but not as fast as other major events tested by
All network operators deployed some level of advanced features such as
two, three, and four channel carrier aggregation as well as 256QAM (a
higher order advanced modulation technique). In some instances, AT&T and
Verizon had five channel carrier aggregation active as well as LAA
(license assisted access). In addition, GWS observed that voice over LTE
(VoLTE) was nearly 100% available (99.6% and above) on all networks.
These features are becoming more commonplace in networks across the U.S.
as GWS also saw active usage of LTE multiplexing techniques (i.e., 2×2
and 4×4 multiple-input and multiple-output) particularly with 2×2 MIMO.
For example, networks used 2×2 MIMO at least one third of the time
during testing; in fact, 2×2 MIMO usage on Sprint’s network was observed
88% of the time during testing.
From June 13th to the 16th 2019, GWS network
testing specialists collected throughout Grant Park (site of Pokémon GO
Fest 2019 in Chicago) including designated Pokémon GO Fest areas (the
Sandy Desert, Fairy Garden, Winter Forest, Spooky Woods, Buckingham
Fountain, Team Lounges, and Battle Arenas). SwissQual QualiPoc on
Samsung Galaxy S9 collection devices were used to measure the
performance of the Tier 1 mobile networks. Just over 15,000 voice and
data samples were collected and compiled into a single OneScore,
resulting in a combined overall event experience measurement on a scale
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.