This story is over 5 years old.


U.S. mobile internet speed lags behind more than 30 countries, study says

United States’ mobile internet speeds are slower than more than 30 countries, including South Korea, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and most of Europe, according to a new report from wireless-mapping company OpenSignal.

Using data from the more than 1 million ordinary smartphones that have downloaded OpenSignal’s app, the company collected data speeds from 87 countries from November 2016 to January 2017. Researchers didn’t differentiate between 3G and 4G networks when analyzing the data, to make sure the report “reflects not only the speed of [countries’] best networks, but the speed of all their networks as well as the amount of time they’re connected to them,” explained OpenSignal analyst Kevin Fritchard.


Here’s what you need to know:

  • When it comes to mobile speed rankings, not much has changed. South Korea again takes home the title for fastest mobile internet in the world.

  • Mobile users in many countries still opt to spend the majority of their time on Wi-Fi — in the Netherlands, which boasts some of the world’s fastest cellular networks, people still spent almost 70 percent of their time on Wi-Fi. This suggests most users see cellular networks not as a replacement for Wi-Fi, the report argues, but as a supplement: “We may be in the 4G age, but, as always, consumers are using a multitude of wireless technologies.”

  • While the United States’ 4G availability outstrips most countries, old LTE networks hobble the county from making the strides seen in South Korea, Norway, and elsewhere.

But that isn’t a huge problem for right now, Fritchard explained, since most Americans already enjoy all the connection their daily smartphone habits require.

“While the speeds aren’t necessarily that fast, you have access to those speeds very, very often,” he said. “But is it going to be enough for what’s going to happen in the future? … Some countries are able to use services that U.S. consumers can’t, because their mobile speeds aren’t fast enough.”