Ookla: State of 5G Worldwide in 2022 & Countries Where 5G is Not Available

Executive Summary:

In a new blog post, Ookla asseses The State of Worldwide 5G in 2022.  The market research firm examined Speedtest Intelligence® data from Q3 2022 Speedtest® results to see how 5G performance has changed since last year, where download speeds are the fastest at the country level, and how satellite technologies are offering additional options to connect. Ookla  also looked at countries that don’t yet have 5G to understand where consumers are seeing improvements in 4G LTE access.

Editor’s Note: for some unknown reason, China is not included in Ookla’s report

Some high-level highlights are the following:
  • 5G speeds were stable at the global level with:

a] Median global 5G download speed of 168.27 Mbps in Q3 2022 as compared to 166.13 Mbps in Q3 2021

b] Median upload speed over 5G slowed slightly to 18.71 Mbps (from 21.08 Mbps) during the same period

  • Ookla® 5G Map™: 127,509 5G deployments in 128 countries as of November 30, 2022, compared to 85,602 in 112 countries the year prior
  • South Korea and the United Arab Emirates led countries for 5G speeds
  • 5G Availability points to on-going challenges

5G Availability measures the proportion of Speedtest users with 5G-capable handsets, who spend a majority of time connected to 5G networks. It’s therefore a function of 5G coverage and adoption. We see wide disparity in 5G Availability among markets worldwide, with for example the U.S. recording 54.3% in Q3 2022, well ahead of markets such as Sweden and the U.A.E., with 8.6% and 8.3% respectively.

Critical levers for mobile operators to increase 5G Availability include:

  • Increasing 5G coverage by deploying additional base stations
  • Obtaining access to, or refarming, sub-GHz spectrum, to help broaden 5G coverage, as sub-GHz spectrum has superior propagation properties than that of higher frequency spectrum bands.
  • Encouraging 5G adoption among users with 5G-capable handsets.

Speedtest Intelligence points to 5G adoption challenges in some markets, with 5G Availability dropping in Bulgaria, South Korea, the Netherlands, and the U.A.E. As more users acquire 5G-capable devices, operators need to balance their pricing models to ensure users have sufficient incentives to purchase a 5G tariff.

Countries where 5G is not readily available:

Speedtest Intelligence showed 29 countries in the world where more than 20% of samples were from 2G and 3G connections (combined) during Q3 2022 and met our statistical threshold to be included (down from 70 in Q3 2021). These are mostly countries where 5G is still aspirational for a majority of the population, which is being left behind technologically, having to rely on decades-old technologies that are only sufficient for basic voice and texting, social media, and navigation apps. We’re glad to see so many countries fall off this list, but having so many consumers on 2G and 3G also prevents mobile operators from making 4G and 5G networks more efficient. If operators and regulators are able to work to upgrade their users to 4G and higher, everyone will benefit.

Countries That Still Rely Heavily on 2G and 3G Connections
Speedtest IntelligenceⓇ | Q3 2021
Country 2G & 3G Samples
Central African Republic 76.2%
Turkmenistan 58.5%
Kiribati 51.6%
Micronesia 47.4%
Rwanda 41.1%
Belarus 39.7%
Equatorial Guinea 37.7%
Afghanistan 36.7%
Palestine 33.5%
Madagascar 27.5%
Sudan 27.4%
Lesotho 26.5%
South Sudan 26.3%
Benin 26.0%
Guinea 25.5%
Cape Verde 24.3%
Tonga 24.3%
Syria 23.4%
The Gambia 23.4%
Ghana 23.3%
Palau 22.9%
Niger 22.8%
Tajikistan 22.7%
Mozambique 22.4%
Guyana 21.8%
Togo 21.8%
Congo 21.1%
Moldova 20.8%
Saint Kitts and Nevis 20.0%

Conclusions:

Ookla was glad to see performance levels normalize as 5G expands to more and more countries and access improves and we are optimistic that 2023 will bring further improvements. Keep track of how well your country is performing on Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index™ or track performance in thousands of cities worldwide with the Speedtest Performance Directory™.

References:

 

2 thoughts on “Ookla: State of 5G Worldwide in 2022 & Countries Where 5G is Not Available

  1. Speed is a nice metric, but how important is it when the device is handheld with a relatively small screen and doesn’t really require more than probably 5 Mbps downstream to show high-quality video?

    Out of curiosity, I just tested mine and got 12.6/1.46 Mbps down/up. The video works great at even these relatively low-speeds. Of course, this is inside a building, so this performance is to be expected; back to WiFi.

    1. For 5G, I submit that ultra low latency is more important than speed. Without URLLC, there is no real advantage of 5G over 4G.

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