OpenSignal: U.S. has fastest “5G” download speed out of 8 countries tested

by Ian Fogg, OpenSignal (edited and augmented by Alan J Weissberger)

Overview:

In Opensignal’s latest analysis of 5G, we’ve looked at the maximum real-world speeds seen in eight countries which have launched 5G services. The maximum download speeds smartphone users see are much faster than the average speeds experienced by 5G users as the market research firm expected.  OpenSignal relies on crowd-sourced, device-based data and regular application servers for its information on user-experienced speeds, as opposed to test servers that may be located within an operator’s network. Data was collected between April 1st and June 30th.

The highest maximum speeds were seen by 5G users in the U.S. with 1815 Mbps, which is approximately three times as fast as 4G users’ maximum speed. Switzerland followed in second place with 1145 Mbps and South Korea ranked third with 5G users’ maximum speed of 1071 Mbps. The speeds we measured in these three leading countries were significantly faster than the maximum speed in European markets where 5G has only just launched such as Italy or Spain, or in the UK where the first operator to launch 5G only has 40 MHz of suitable spectrum which is far below 5G technology’s 100 MHz channel size sweet spot.

The current 5G maximum speed is so much greater in the U.S., because wireless network operators there are already able to use mmWave spectrum for 5G. This is extremely high capacity and extremely fast spectrum but has very limited coverage compared with the 3.4-3.8 GHz 5G “mid band” spectrum typically used in most of the other countries we analyzed where mmWave spectrum is not yet available.

Real-world measurements of 5G maximum speed accurately record the experience:

Opensignal says they focus on analyzing the true end-to-end network experience of mobile users. Our approach means the speeds we measure represent the typical real-world experience of smartphone users. This means other speed tests which use dedicated test servers that are often located very close to a user inside the same operator’s network will inflate speeds compared with Opensignal’s real-world measurement of maximum speed.

To measure the real-world experience accurately, Opensignal’s tests connect our users’ smartphones to the same servers that host all the popular mobile apps and websites which all smartphone users connect to daily.

Editor’s Note: Some deployed pre-standard 5G networks (like AT&T’s) don’t have 5G smartphone endpoints at this time.  AT&T only sells a Netgear “puck” which is a WiFi router with AT&T’s 5G used for backhaul.

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The 5G experience is set to improve quickly:

At this early stage of the 5G era, the maximum speeds are already many times higher than the maximum speed we have measured with our 4G users. The difference between 5G users’ max speed and 4G users ranged from 2.7 times as fast in the USA, 2.6 times as fast in Switzerland, down to Australia where the maximum speed experienced by 4G users was so extremely fast – close to the theoretical best performance of 4G – that the maximum 5G speed was actually slightly slower than the maximum 4G speed.

Opensignal expects 5G maximum speeds to continue to increase as 5G expands its reach. This is just the start of the 5G era and the market is moving quickly. More 5G services will launch using more spectrum and wider channels — there are few 5G services currently using 5G’s ideal 100 MHz channel size  — and 5G technology evolves to be able to combine the performance of multiple 5G channels and bands together to boost both the maximum and average 5G speeds and further improve the mobile user experience of 5G users.

It’s quite interesting that OpenSignal’s analysis found that 4G LTE users in Australia actually have peak speeds faster than 5G speeds: 950 Mbps on 4G versus 792 Mbps on 5G. OpenSignal noted that Australia’s 4G performance is close to the theoretical limits of 4G LTE.

References:

https://www.opensignal.com/blog/2019/07/08/5g-boosts-the-maximum-real-world-download-speed-by-up-to-27-times-4g-users-top-speeds

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/06/22/opensignal-reports-on-5g-speeds-and-4g-lte-experience-in-south-korea/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2019/05/29/key-findings-in-opensignals-state-of-the-mobile-network-experience-report/

 

2 thoughts on “OpenSignal: U.S. has fastest “5G” download speed out of 8 countries tested

  1. South Korea:

    The Republic of (South) Korea announced for the goal of the world’s first commercialization in February 2018 and finished auction for 5G Spectrum in Jun. 2018 and certified 5G base station equipment in September 2018 and launched 5G service using mobile routers first in December 2018.
    The new milestone of 1 million 5G subscribers was reached on 10th June 2019, 69 days after Korea became the first country in the world to officially launch 5G commercial services on April 3, 2019.

    Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) announced the 3rd plan (from 2019 to 2023) on January 25, 2019. The master plan for radio waves promotion is mid- and long-term spectrum policy for every 5 years. The potential additional candidate bands for 5G are divided into two parts, below 6 GHz bands and above 24 GHz bands.

    (Band below 6 GHz)
    – 2 300 2 390 MHz (former WiBro service band)
    – Adjacent band(s) with the 3.5 GHz band (e.g. 3.4-3.42 GHz and 3.7-4.2 GHz, portions thereof)
    – Portion(s) of 1 452 1 492 MHz band
    – If necessary, prepare supplementary supply plan such as 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz band etc.
    (Band above 24 GHz) To secure additional 2 GHz bandwidth, Korea is considering the availability of equipment/terminals and WRC-19 results
    Table Planned schedule
    ‘19 ‘20 ‘21 ‘22 ‘23
    5G Allocation 2.3 GHz band Adjacent band(s) with 3.5 GHz band 1.4 GHz band Bands above 24 GHz
    Re-allocation
    (2G-4G) Existing bands

    5G+ Strategy
    MSIT and nine other related ministries jointly announced the “5G+ strategy” at the “Korean 5G Tech-Concert” on April 8.
    The vision of 5G+ strategy is realization of innovative growth through 5G+ and the goal is achieving 180 trillion won in the production of 5G+ strategic industry by 2026 (15% of the global market share)
    The Korean government is planning to foster 15 5G-based “strategic industries” to create 600 000 jobs and export $73 billion worth of goods and services by 2026.

    The 15 industries consist of five “Key services” and 10 “Key industries”. The five key services include immersive content, smart factory, autonomous vehicles, smart city and digital health care, while the 10 key industries include network device, next-generation smart phone, AR·VR Device, wearable device, intelligent CCTV, future drone, connected robot, 5G V2X, information security and edge computing.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
    5G frequency allocation in Japan:
    Toward the launch of 5G in 2020, MIC (Ministry of Internal affairs and Communications) allocated frequency for 4 operators.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
    China (People’s Republic of):
    On 6th June, MIIT of China issued 5G commercial licenses to four major operators, which are China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network.

  2. Sweden’s Ericsson sees Brazil switching on 5G network by early 2021

    Ericsson expects Brazil to switch on its fifth-generation (5G) network by early 2021, several months after a spectrum auction set for March next year, a top executive told Reuters.

    The company is working closely with local operators and Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel to test the technology ahead of the long-awaited auction, said Eduardo Ricotta, president of Ericsson Latam South.

    He said the pace of 5G deployment in Brazil would depend on each carrier’s strategic plan, but it could take several months to switch on the ultrafast network once they win the spectrum rights, as work to avoid interference from other services is required.

    “Cleaning up the bandwidth is necessary because some of the frequencies to be allocated to 5G might have interferences with satellites,” Ricotta said. “We are still conducting tests with Anatel to determine what has to be done, but deployment is likely between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.”

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/swedens-ericsson-sees-brazil-switching-on-5g-network-by-early-2021/70201234

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