Initial 5G networks besting Wi-Fi data rates - Mobile World Live

Initial 5G networks besting Wi-Fi data rates

06 MAY 2020

Data from Opensignal showed 5G networks delivered significantly faster download data rates than Wi-Fi in seven out of eight countries with mature deployments of the next-generation mobile technology.

Saudi Arabia recorded the greatest 5G speeds, with a typical download rate of 291.2Mb/s compared with 21.4Mb/s for Wi-Fi, followed by South Korea, Switzerland, Kuwait, Australia, Spain and the UK. Of the eight markets where tests were conducted, only the US offered greater rates on Wi-Fi. (see chart below, click to enlarge).

Opensignal VP of analysis Ian Fogg explained the US lag is due to deployments using low-band spectrum, which sacrifice speed for coverage.

He noted in most countries initial 5G networks are deployed on high-capacity mid-band spectrum, generally the 3.5GHz band, also known at the C-band.

Notably, Opensignal’s analysis, conducted between 22 January and 21 April, found 4G also bested Wi-Fi in Australia and Saudi Arabia.

5G vs 4G
In terms of the mobile technologies, 5G’s advantage over 4G download rates ranged from 11.9-times faster in Saudi Arabia to almost twice as fast in the US.

In South Korea, average 5G rates were more than four-times faster, though the 4G rate was the fastest of the eight markets.

The country was one of the first to commercially launch 5G, with operators amassing 4.8 million users by end-2019.

Fogg said the difference in 5G download speeds is mainly due to the different amount of spectrum allocated to deploy the service.

He added the findings showed the importance of not letting the Covid-19 (coronaviral) crisis delay 5G rollouts, because the increased capacity and faster speeds the technology brings are critical to keeping people connected with rising network usage.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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