Smartphone users in 33 countries now experience faster speeds using a cellular network in comparison to Wi-Fi, but mobile technology in three developed markets including the US continue to underperform, a new OpenSignal report found.
In a study looking into Wi-Fi and the mobile network experience, wireless mapping company OpenSignal said mobile download speeds proved superior to Wi-Fi in a range of countries, including richer nations like Australia and France, as well as less developed markets such as Qatar, Turkey, Mexico and South Africa.
However, in three highly developed geographies – the US, Hong Kong and Singapore -“the mobile experience bucks the global trend” and “significantly underperforms” compared with smartphone users’ Wi-Fi download experience.
On a mobile network, users in the three countries experience a slower download experience of -38.6Mb/s, 34Mb/s and 25Mb/s respectively, compared to Wi-Fi.
Of all the countries analysed, smartphone users in Australia benefitted the most from using mobile over Wi-Fi, where average download speeds came in at 13Mb/s faster overall. Users in France had a 2.5Mb/s advantage, while Qatar and Turkey had an uplift of 11.8Mb/s and 7.3Mb/s respectively.
OpenSignal said newer mobile technologies, such as 4G, increased mobile network superiority.
“In 50 countries, 63 per cent of those studied, 4G networks offer a faster smartphone download experience than Wi-Fi, up from 41 per cent of countries when compared with overall mobile broadband experience instead of 4G,” said the company.
On 3G, only seven countries experienced a faster experience, and even then, the experience was modest with an increase of 3Mb/s in Lebanon.
OpenSignal added mobile technology is expected to dominate further through 5G, due to the pace of mobile innovation and the dependency of Wi-Fi experiences on fixed-network broadband deployments, “which are slow and expensive to upgrade with fibre to the premise (FTTP)”.
The report added that operators and smartphone makers must “re-evaluate their Wi-Fi strategies”, in light of the results, especially around mobile offload, automatic network selection and indoor coverage to make sure they don’t push consumer smartphones onto “Wi-Fi that offers a worse experience than the mobile network”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back