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Benchmarking the Global 5G Experience – April 2021

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In Opensignal’s latest analysis of real-world 5G measurements across all frequency bands, we see that the leading cities have a significantly better 5G experience than national scores. Users in the city of Jeonju have both the fastest average 5G Download Speed of any city in South Korea as well as the fastest experience in any city we analyzed. Jeonju’s 5G Download Speed of 415.6 Mbps is 15% faster than South Korea’s national result.

Only three of the cities in the 5G global top ten are capital cities: Riyadh, Tokyo, and Dublin. Of the other cities, several are key business centres, notably Dubai, Zurich and Barcelona. Perhaps most notably, the fastest 5G city in Spain and Australia top their local rival cities, with Melbourne beating Sydney to be Australia’s fastest city and Barcelona topping Spain’s capital Madrid. While those living in Canada’s most highly populated cities — Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver —  must venture to the winter sports destination of Calgary to see Canada’s fastest average 5G Download Speed.

Nationally, we see the 5G experience continues to be strong. South Korea again tops the ranking for 5G Download Speed, but we see Taiwan jump to the top of the 5G Upload Speed chart this time. Japan makes a strong arrival in our global rankings, placing highly in both 5G Download Speed (231.5 Mbps) and for 5G Peak Download Speed (856.5 Mbps). In Europe, while Finland has the highest average 5G Download Speed (219.5 Mbps), Netherlands has the highest average 5G Upload Speed in Europe with 34.7 Mbps, and Greece, Spain and Switzerland all have higher 5G Peak Download Speeds.    

Across our experiential measures, 5G Games Experience has the biggest range of values across the top 10 with South Korea jumping to the top position this time. Overall, the top 10 positions for 5G Games Experience are split between European markets and Asia Pacific with five from Europe and four from Asia Pacific. Games Experience and Voice Experience — 6 of the top 10 are from Europe — are Europe’s strongest showing in our global 5G rankings. Markets in Asia dominate the top positions for Download Speed, Peak Download Speed and the Video Experience categories.

A number of large and early 5G markets miss out on a top 10 position. For example, while Germany is among the top 10 for 5G Upload Speed, it misses out on both 5G Download Speed and 5G Peak Download Speed and 5G Video Experience. Similarly, Italy misses out from placing in the leaderboard in all the 5G categories.

The benefit of 5G is clearest when we compare the results for 5G with the older 4G, or LTE, network technology. Users in Thailand and the Philippines see the biggest improvement in their experience using 5G compared with 4G. Looking at average download speeds, users in those markets see an improvement of approximately ten times faster with 5G over 4G. For Video Experience, Thai users’ scores are almost one third better when using 5G.

Notably, users in the markets with fastest 5G Download Speeds — South Korea, Taiwan and UAE — also see some of the greatest improvement over 4G and are in the top 10 for “uplift” with an improvement of 5.8 times, 8.6 times, and 6.1 times with 5G. These results indicate that all markets are able to benefit from 5G — even those where the 4G experience is already very good.

More users are able to connect to 5G more of the time. When we analyze 5G Availability — time connected to an active 5G signal — we see seven markets now score over 20% or one fifth of the time, up from six one quarter before. Similarly, when we look at the locations where users see 5G, we see four markets scoring 5 or more on a ten point scale, up from three a quarter before, indicating that in over half the locations our users visit they are now able to experience 5G.