Americans like myself are usually blessed with the best selection of, well, just about every consumer good imaginable. The glaring exception, of course, is in the area of Internet connectivity, where many developing nations best us.
This is just as true with mobile connectivity. According to data from Web content delivery network, Akamai Technologies Inc., the average mobile speed in Q2 in the United States was about 950 Kbps, or just shy of 1 Mbps (download the full white paper here).
This is an average of the three American wireless carriers that deal with Akamai. Their average Kbps ranged from 910 Kbps to 980 Kbps.
While Akamai doesn't name the carrier, the 910 Kbps average speed likely belongs to AT&T, since its users also up/downloaded an average of 351 MB of content per month - more than 12 times more than users from the two other carriers. Those are presumably its iPhone-wielding users.
With watching videos and surfing the Web now the fastest-growing activity on smartphones, complaints will inevitably increase about how, Mi-Fi or not, slow and spotty mobile connectivity remains here.
Meanwhile, Slovakia boasts the world's fastest mobile carrier. Users get an average speed of 6.1 Mbps, and an average peak bandwidth of 20.2 Mbps.
The carrier? Almost certainly Orange Slovensko, the local branch of the global mobile operator, which has reportedly covered two-thirds of the country with 3G HSDPA with a maximum speed of 14.4 Mbps.
Ironically, Slovakia also has one of the slowest of the 109 mobile carriers listed by Akamai, with an average user speed of just 115 Kbps.
Here's a list of the ten fastest carriers by average overall mobile speed:
- Slovakia 6.1 Mbps
- Russia 5.3 Mbps
- Poland 3.7 Mbps
- United Kingdom 3.7 Mbps
- Canada 2.8 Mbps
- Austria 2.7 Mbps
- Italy 2.7 Mbps
- Czech Republic 2.6 Mbps
- Hong Kong 2.5 Mbps
- Germany 2.5 Mbps
Even Puerto Rico's mobile carrier offers users an average speed of 2.3 Mbps, or more than twice the fastest American carrier.
Here's a list of the ten fastest carriers by users' average peak mobile speed:
- United Kingdom 36.5 Mbps
- Slovakia 20.2 Mbps
- Russia 18.9 Mbps
- Canada 13.3 Mbps
- Hong Kong 11.7 Mbps
- Poland 10.6 Mbps
- Austria 10.4 Mbps
- Italy 10.3 Mbps
- Kuwait 10.3 Mbps
- United Kingdom 9.4 Mbps
Below is the complete list, in two parts (click to display a larger version in new tab/window):
All told, almost a fifth of the mobile providers had average connection speeds of 2 Mbps or more, while almost a third had average connection speeds of 1 Mbps or more. That puts the American carriers in the mediocre 65 percentile.
Sixty-five out of a 100 earned me a D back when I was in school. Is that the grade you would give to U.S. mobile carriers?