Telecommunications coverage mapping company OpenSignal has released its LTE report for the first quarter of 2017, revealing that Australia dropped six places to come in at 19th place worldwide in terms of 4G availability, and dropped two places to rank 10th globally in terms of download speeds.
Australia had an average 4G download connection speed of 33.76Mbps, according to OpenSignal, just over 1Mbps faster than it was six months ago.
Singapore was the global leader in this category, with 45.62Mbps speeds on average, followed by South Korea, with speeds of 43.46Mbps; Hungary, at 42.61Mbps; Norway, at 41.36Mbps; the Netherlands, with 38.36Mbps; Luxembourg, at 35.44Mbps; Croatia, at 35.19Mbps; New Zealand, at 34.91Mbps; and Bulgaria, at 34.07Mbps.
The United Kingdom's average 4G speed was 22.65Mbps, 39th place globally, while the United States came in at 59th place, with 14.99Mbps.
"How fast a country's 4G speed is can depend on many factors: How much spectrum is devoted to LTE; whether it has adopted new 4G technologies like LTE-Advanced; how densely networks are built; and how much congestion is on those networks," the report noted.
"In general, though, the countries with the fastest speeds tend to be the ones that have built LTE-Advanced networks and have a large proportion of LTE-Advanced capable devices."
Australia's telcos have begun rolling out LTE-A or 4G+ services that enable gigabit speeds, with Telstra launching its 1Gbps 4G service in January throughout Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and Adelaide and Perth set to join later this year alongside more areas in future.
Optus similarly switched on its 1Gbps 4.5G network in February, although it was only made available at the telco's headquarters in Macquarie Park, Sydney, ahead of being rolled out to 70 percent of Optus' network in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth during 2017.
Telstra has also promised to upgrade its standard 4G network to 300Mbps speeds for 80 percent of its footprint by 2019, with its 4G network from 98 percent to reach 99 percent of the population by mid-2017.
According to the report, despite such far-reaching 4G networks, 4G in Australia has an availability of just 79.26 percent. OpenSignal tracks availability not by overall population or geographic coverage, but rather by the proportion of time that users have access to 4G networks, including when indoors and during times of high congestion.
South Korea led the availability metric, at 96.38 percent, followed by Japan, with 93.48 percent availability; Norway, with 86.96 percent; the US, with 86.5 percent; Hong Kong, with 86.41 percent; the Netherlands, with 86.06 percent; Lithuania, at 85.06 percent; Sweden, with 83.65 percent; and Hungary, with 83.59 percent.
Despite placing second last in terms of 4G speeds, with an average speed of 5.14Mbps and ahead of only Costa Rica, India came in at 15th place for 4G availability, on 81.56 percent.
According to OpenSignal, which ranked Airtel as India's fastest mobile provider on 4G speeds of 11.53Mbps as of April, India is in a "unique" position wherein one mobile operator -- 4G-only operator Reliance Jio, which was formed last year by oil and telco billionaire Mukesh Ambani -- has pushed the nation's global availability ranking significantly higher.
"While we measured 4G availability for most Indian 4G operators at around 60 percent in our recent India report, new entrant Reliance Jio provided an enormous boost to India's overall availability with the launch of a nationwide LTE network that attracted 100 million subscribers in the space of six months," the report said.
"The South Asian giant has moved into the upper echelons of 4G availability thanks largely to Jio's nationwide LTE rollout. But while signals may be plentiful in India, capacity isn't. India has some of the slowest LTE speeds in the world."
Also beating Australia on 4G availability were Taiwan, Finland, Kuwait, Singapore, Estonia, Qatar, Canada, and the Czech Republic.
New Zealand lost almost 10 places over the half year to trail in 63rd place worldwide, with just 58.06 percent availability -- OpenSignal said that while New Zealand has built high-performing 4G networks, it is having "difficulty delivering those powerful signals to consumers on a consistent basis" -- while the UK came 43rd, at 66.05 percent availability.
Also publishing global rankings this month was Akamai, which last week pinned overall average Australian mobile speeds at 11th globally and fastest in the APAC region, on 15.7Mbps.
According to Akami, Australia's leading APAC mobile speeds were followed closely by Japan, which clocked in at 15.6Mbps on average, and by Taiwan and New Zealand, each with 13Mbps; Indonesia, with 12.8Mbps; and South Korea, with 11.8Mbps.
Globally, Akamai said Australia's mobile broadband speeds followed only the United Kingdom, which had average speeds of 26Mbps; Cyprus, with 24.2Mbps; Germany, with 24.1Mbps; Switzerland, with 22.4Mbps; Finland, with 21.6Mbps; France, with 17.4Mbps; Norway, with 17.3Mbps; Denmark, with 16.6Mbps; Belgium, with 16.2Mbps; and Romania, with 15.9Mbps.
OpenSignal had in February ranked Australia fifth worldwide in terms of overall mobile speeds, taking into account both 4G and 3G.