The State of LTE in September 2015

Today OpenSignal released the next installment of our State of LTE report, which tracks the coverage, speed and overall performance of 4G networks worldwide. This is our most comprehensive LTE report to date, including data on 183 operators globally drawn from our crowdsourced network of smartphone users in the three months between June and August.

What did we find exactly? Well, there are surprisingly fast networks emerging in Eastern Europe as operators launch powerful LTE networks over multiple frequency bands. East Asia is starting to show off new LTE-Advanced networks and expand 4G coverage far and wide. In South Korea you can now expect to get an LTE signal 97 percent of time, making 4G nearly as ubiquitous as 2G and 3G.

State of LTE Q3 2015 screenshot

A chart from the State of LTE report showing operator 4G speeds versus coverage. Click on the image to see the full report with interactive graphs.

But we’re also seeing some of LTE earliest movers fall behind the curve. The U.S., Sweden and Japan were among the first countries to launch LTE, and consequently they have some of the highest coverage networks in the world. All three, however, are losing ground in terms of speed. The U.S. may have one of the highest concentration of LTE devices in the world, but its 4G networks are also among the slowest in the world even despite recent upgrades.

What we’re seeing is evidence of LTE in various states of maturity around the world. Latecomers are launching networks using the latest technology advances and spectrum, and since their networks are still lightly loaded, they’re able to demonstrate some truly astonishing speeds. Meanwhile 4G old timers are starting to suffer from their own success. Their huge subscriber bases are eating up capacity and taxing their network resources. Some like South Korea and Singapore have managed to remain on top through upgrades and plowing more spectrum into their networks, while others are having trouble keeping up.

You can see all of the data and read our in-depth analysis in the full report. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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