Preliminary Results of our Global LTE Speed Test

As the end of 2012 approaches we are able to publish a preliminary set of findings from our global 4G speed test – focussing just on LTE. This test aggregates 130,000 network speed tests run by OpenSignal users across  specific countries over the course of this year, giving a national perspective on 4G connectivity rather relying on the data provided by specific networks. While we have 4G readings from 31 different countries worldwide, we have only included those countries where we have a statistically significant number of readings. It is for this reason that the UK based 4G network Everything Everywhere, which only rolled out across the UK at the end of October this year, is not included.

Of the eight countries that registered on our speed test, Sweden and Hong Kong are the comfortable winners, with average speeds of over 20 mbp/s and 17mbp/s respectively.  The United States and Japan finished bottom of our table, posting average download speeds of around 10 and 6mbp/s respectively. It is interesting to note that according to the technical definition of 4G (set by the ITU), a download speed of at least 100mbp/s is required, which shows that even the faster networks of Sweden and Hong Kong still have a long way to go before they can be considered to be ‘true 4G’. When Verizon (who are the most established LTE network in terms of user-base worldwide) launched their 4G LTE service in December 2010 they claimed that their service would offer real world speeds of 5-12mbp/s. Our data from two years down the line shows they are comfortably within that range.

While United States carriers might be disappointed with their average 4G speeds, it is important to bear in mind that this is still approximately 10 times faster than the 3G service it was replacing. In comparison, the UK has yet to auction off most of its 4G spectrum, despite the recent news that the Chancellor, George Osborne, has already included the projected revenue of that sale in his annual budget. While the preliminary findings of our global speed test reveal 4G speeds well below their expected theoretical level,  they still represent a significant advance on the network coverage available to the rest of the world.

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