Wi-Fi going strong despite the spread of 4G - Mobile World Live

Wi-Fi going strong despite the spread of 4G

22 FEB 2017

Increasing 4G availability is driving up global average mobile data speeds, but many consumers still continue to rely on Wi-Fi networks to access the mobile internet, OpenSignal said in a new report.

The wireless mapping firm’s latest Global State of Mobile Networks report, which covers network performance of 87 countries globally, found even though fast 4G connections have become the norm in dozens of countries, “Wi-Fi remains an important technology for smartphone users”.

For example, in 38 of the 87 countries users spend more time connected to Wi-Fi than they do cellular networks.

Users in the Netherlands spent the most amount of time on Wi-Fi, with OpenSignal’s sample users connecting to an access point 68.5 per cent of the time.

The report found the country also had some of the fastest data speeds in the world, “which shows that having a good 3G or 4G connection doesn’t necessarily lead to shunning Wi-Fi”.

South Korea topped the rankings in terms of overall mobile data speeds, as it did in the last report, with OpenSignal’s measurement based on the average mobile data connection a user experiences based on both speed and availability of a country’s 3G and 4G networks.

The Asian giant was joined at the top end of the list by fellow powerhouse Japan, while the Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary also ranked highly with speeds over 21Mb/s.

The number of countries hitting speeds of more than 20Mb/s has now risen to 13, up from 9 in the company’s last report published in August.

Notably, it was Canada, not the US, which represented North America in the 13.

Despite being one of the first countries to launch LTE and with one of the highest penetration rates, the US sits in the middle of the charts, with its networks “on the slow side”.

OpenSignal said in its last report the US was causing a considerable drag on global averages.

There were also a lot of developing nations in the bottom half of the speed charts, many of which are still in the early stages of their 4G roll-outs.

Wi-Fi usage is also less pronounced in many developing Asian and African countries, “which is likely indicative of their less robust broadband infrastructure”.

OpenSignal’s report is based on 19 billion network measurements, derived from 1 million users.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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