Mobile starting to dominate Wi-Fi but US still lags - Mobile World Live

Mobile starting to dominate Wi-Fi but US still lags

22 NOV 2018

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.

Australia leads
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”.

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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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