South Korea, Australia, Taiwan among 5G speed leaders as US brings up the rear

Opensignal says the usage and launch of 5G on low-band spectrum improves range, but hinders the speed measurements.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: Opensignal

If getting over 200Mbps on a 5G connection gets you excited, but you also enjoy a level of human rights, particularly if you are female, then you'll want to head to one of South Korea, Australia, or Taiwan as the trio recorded the second, third, and fourth highest 5G speeds in an Opensignal comparison of twelve nations.

If all you care about are high 5G speeds, then getting to Saudi Arabia is the ticket, with the nation being the only to post 5G speeds in excess of 400Mbps. Saudi Arabia recorded 414Mbps, followed by South Korea on 313Mbps, Australia with 216Mbps, and Taiwan with 210Mbps.

Bringing up the rear on the speed test was the United States, which recorded a paltry 51Mbps on 5G.

"The modest 5G download speeds in the US are due to a combination of the limited amount of new mid-band 5G spectrum that is available and the popularity of low-band spectrum -- T-Mobile's 600MHz and AT&T's 850MHz -- which offer excellent availability and reach but lower average speeds than the 3.5GHz mid-band spectrum used as the main 5G band in every country outside of the US," Opensignal's Ian Fogg wrote.

Fogg added that tests on Verizon's millimetre wave 5G recorded 495Mbps, which would top the table.

Looking at the amount of time users are connected to 5G networks, Saudi Arabia leads the way again with 34% availability, followed by Kuwait with 29%, and Hong Kong on 26%. South Korea recorded a 21% availability and the US had 19% availability, once again due to the use of low-band spectrum.

At the bottom end, Canada and Australia had 8.8% availability, Switzerland recorded 7.5%, and the UK was last with 4.5%.

"Smaller geographies like Kuwait or Hong Kong have an advantage over large countries like Australia or the US in offering users high levels of 5G availability which makes the achievements of operators in both Australia and the US -- powering their 5G users' experience ahead of the UK, and Switzerland -- all the more impressive," Fogg said.

Measuring the overall experience of a 5G phone user on both 5G and LTE networks, Saudi Arabia was once again at the front with 145Mbps, followed by Canada with 90Mbps, thanks to it having the fastest 4G speeds among the group, with South Korea on 76Mbps and Taiwan on 71.5Mbps.

The trio bringing up the rear on this measurement were Kuwait with 44Mbps, the US on 33Mbps, and the UK on 32.6Mbps.

Earlier in the month, Opensignal said, in Australia, Telstra had the fastest 5G speeds but Optus pipped it on availability.

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