Getty Images | zf L.
The average 5G download speed in the US is 50.9 Mbps. This is a nice step up from the average 4G speed, but it is way behind several countries where 5G speed is in the 200Mbps to 400Mbps range. These statistics were reported today by OpenSignal, which presented average 5G speeds in 12 countries based on user-initiated speed tests conducted between May 16 and August 14. The US occupied the last of the 12 countries with 5G speeds, 10 of the 11 other countries with 5G speeds, at least doubling that of the US.
The US average 5G speed is 1.8 times faster than the country's average 4G download speed of 28.9 Mbps. User tests in neighboring Canada found a 4G average of 59.4 Mbps and a 5G average of 178.1 Mbps. Taiwan and Australia both produced 5G averages over 200 Mbps, while South Korea and Saudi Arabia achieved the highest 5G speeds at 312.7 Mbps and 414.2 Mbps, respectively.
In the US, the average download speed for users who accessed 5G at least intermittently was 33.4 Mbps. That number includes both their 4G and 5G experience. This was the second lowest of the 12 countries studied by OpenSignal, with the fastest speeds in Saudi Arabia (144.5 Mbit / s) and Canada (90.4 Mbit / s). The US fared better on 5G availability, the percentage of time users are connected to 5G. The US number in this statistic is 19.3 percent, making it the fifth best. Saudi Arabia ranks first with 34.4 percent and the UK comes last with 4.5 percent.
These charts show how the 12 countries stack up in terms of 4G and 5G download speeds, the percentage of time users are connected to 5G, and the overall download speed:
OpenSignal collects "billions of measurements from over 100 million devices worldwide" every day. We asked OpenSignal for more details, including the reasons these 12 countries were selected, and will update this story as we get more information.
Modest speed bump in the low-band spectrum
The relatively small gap between 4G and 5G speeds in the US (28.9 Mbit / s versus 50.9 Mbit / s) reflects the widespread use of the low-band spectrum for both old and new networks. T-Mobile, in particular, has upgraded large parts of its low-band 4G network to 5G, which offers a speed boost, but not the huge speed improvements that are possible in 5G networks based on high-band spectrum. The OpenSignal report stated:
The modest 5G download speeds in the US are due to a combination of the limited amount of new 5G mid-band spectrum and the popularity of the low-band spectrum (600 MHz from T-Mobile and 850 MHz from AT&T) excellent availability and range but offers lower average speeds than the 3.5 GHz mid-band spectrum, which is used as the main 5G band in every country outside the United States.
Previous OpenSignal research, published in June, based on testing between March 16 and June 13, showed Verizon was well ahead of the US at 494.7 Mbps at average 5G download speeds. Is the market leader. T-Mobile and its newly acquired subsidiary Sprint both recorded an average 5G speed of just over 49 Mbps, while AT&T recorded an average speed of 60.8 Mbps.
Verizon's 5G network is tiny, however, largely because Verizon relies on millimeter-wave frequencies that are easily blocked by walls and don't travel far. Hence, Verizon's high 5G download speeds had virtually no impact on the US carrier average. OpenSignal Speed Test app users received a Verizon 5G signal 0.4 percent of the time, compared to 22.5 percent for T-Mobile, 14.1 percent for Sprint, and 10.3 percent for AT&T. These graphs from OpenSignal's June report show average 5G download speeds by carrier, 5G availability by carrier, and the total speed of 5G users on each carrier:
For more information on how 5G works in different frequency bands, see Jim Salter's recent feature, "What the advent of 5G – mmWave and others – will mean for online gaming."
Despite Verizon's small 5G network, 5G availability in the US is higher than 5G speeds, as the low-band spectrum used by other carriers "is ideally suited to provide large 5G range and users more Allow time for connection than in countries with higher frequency 5G spectrum, "wrote OpenSignal in today's report. "In the US, T-Mobile and AT & T's low-band 5G services have contributed to a high 5G availability outcome. T-Mobile US recently introduced standalone access to 5G where a phone does not Need to connect more to 4G For 5G to work – 5G services should help in the future. "
The gradual move from 4G to 5G seems familiar to those who remember the move from 3G to 4G that began about a decade ago. According to OpenSignal, the 5G market is currently "immature". "We are still in the early stages of a 5G era that will last at least a decade as the first 5G services weren't launched until 2019. In some countries, we are still seeing 5G services for smartphone users for the first time be introduced time, "said the report.