OpenSignal, a company providing insights about the coverage of mobile networks worldwide, recently released a report that uses graphs to highlight some of the main metrics used when speaking about the global state of mobile networks.
For approximately a 3-month period, the “the Global State of Networks” report collected data from 822,556 users in 95 different countries, in order to find out how the overall mobile network performance varies from country-to-country. To determine this, categories such as availability and speed are also studied.
3G/4G network availability
3G/4G availability category measures the possibility and frequency with which users access a 3G or higher data signal.
While 4G’s LTE is one of the dominant technologies among a few of the countries with a high percentage of network availability, most of the countries examined are still in the midst of their LTE rollout and continue to rely mostly on 3G connections.
The countries with the best 3G/4G availability are South Korea, with its impressive leading 98.5% availability metric, followed by Japan with its 95.52% metric, and Israel with 95.23%.
Overall speed is the average speed of 3G and 4G network connections. Though the average speed for this category was approximately 8.5 Mbps, there was a broad spectrum of speeds across the 95 countries measured. On average, 3G connections typically have a download speed of 1 Mbps while 4G can reach more than 30 Mbps.
Only two countries had an average data speed faster than 30 Mbps, South Korea and Japan. This data speed was 19 times faster than Afghanistan, the country with the slowest overall speed of 2.17 Mbps at the bottom of the list.
Mobile network performance (speed vs availability)
Consider that there is a wide of range of speeds between the slowest 3G network and the fastest 4G network available. As a result, a country’s speed measurements can vary depending on its stage of 3G or 4G development.
In fact, South Korea also had a leading metric in this category ranking first, due to its fast 4G connection and its widespread 4G signal. However, though Japan ranked 2nd in the 3G/4G availability category, it came in at 39th place in mobile network performance as a result of its moderate LTE connection speeds.
Time on Wi-Fi
According to the report, in some countries where mobile broadband is ubiquitous, like the Netherlands, the most dominant type of connection among smartphone users is still Wi-Fi. Approximately 70% of all of the smartphones connections measured in the Netherlands were connected to Wi-Fi instead of to a cellular network.
On the other hand, this also appeared to be a trend in countries where mobile data is not as widespread, such as Guyana, or in countries where plans for mobile connectivity are very expensive. In Guyana, users rely heavily on the use of Wi-Fi due to the fact that the country’s 3G/4G signal availability is not adequate.