HOW 5G IS CHANGING THE GLOBAL MOBILE LANDSCAPE
Five months ago, we started using the Ookla 5G MapTM to track 5G across the world. In the months since, 5G deployments have increased exponentially — where we saw 294 around the world in May, today there are more than that in Switzerland alone. Today we’re exploring where 5G is gaining the most traction, including an analysis of how much faster 5G is than 4G in various markets.
Countries with the most 5G deployments
The Ookla 5G Map reveals that Switzerland is winning the race of 5G expansion with more than twice as many commercially available deployments as second-place South Korea. Kuwait has the third largest number of 5G deployments in the world.
It’s interesting to note that of the world’s six largest economies, three do not have commercially available 5G at all (China, Japan and India). China does have 29 locations where 5G is in pre-release (with 5G network hardware in place but not yet accessible to consumers). Japan is expected to launch 5G in 2020 and 5G will likely be available in India in 2021.
The other three largest economies (the U.S., Germany and the U.K.) do feature among the 10 countries with the most commercially available 5G deployments, although they individually have many fewer deployments than Switzerland, South Korea and Kuwait.
5G downloads are at least 300% faster than 4G
In theory, 5G could eventually offer download speeds about 1300% faster than those on 4G. Real-world factors affect those numbers, though, so we examined data from Speedtest IntelligenceTM to see what consumers actually experienced in several key markets between June and August 2019.
|Country||4G Download (Mbps)||4G Upload (Mbps)||5G Download (Mbps)||5G Upload (Mbps)||% Difference Download|
|United Arab Emirates||59.23||20.12||334.27||32.07||464.4%|
The mean download speed over 5G was fastest in the U.S. and also showed the largest percent difference when compared with mean download speed over 4G. Saudi Arabia had the second fastest mean download speed over 5G with South Korea coming in a close third. On the other end of the spectrum, the U.K. had the slowest mean download speed over 5G. Australia was the second slowest and Bahrain third slowest. Bahrain showed the second highest percent improvement when comparing 4G and 5G download speeds, though, and Kuwait was third. Australia showed the lowest percent increase between 4G and 5G download speeds and Qatar had the second lowest.
Mean upload speeds over 5G are less remarkable, though in almost every country we analyzed they represent a 50-120% improvement over those available on 4G. Kuwait was the exception, with only a 26.6% improvement in mean upload speed when using 5G rather than 4G. The U.S. and Bahrain were nearly tied for most improved with increases of 119.7% and 119.1%, respectively, when comparing mean upload speed on 5G to that on 4G. Switzerland had the fastest mean upload speed over 5G, Qatar was second and Saudi Arabia third. Mean upload speed over 5G was the slowest in the U.K., second slowest in the U.S. and third slowest in Kuwait.
|United Arab Emirates||0.65%|
The 5G share of the tests taken on either 4G or 5G differs widely among the countries on our list. South Korea was clearly on top with 5G accounting for nearly 13% of Speedtest 4G/5G samples. This is not surprising given that one South Korean mobile operator already has 1 million 5G subscribers. Australia had the second largest percentage of 5G tests and the U.A.E. third. Saudi Arabia had the smallest percentage of 5G results.
OoklaⓇ is your go-to resource for ongoing 5G analysis
Ookla will continue to analyze 5G speeds as operators across the globe make this significant improvement in their networks. We’re uniquely capable of measuring 5G speeds because Speedtest uses a client and server testing engine capable of measuring high-speed connections (up to 10 Gbps) that dynamically scales the number of connections to the server in order to saturate and accurately measure the client-side connection. This allows us to measure the full extent of real-world performance and overcome the effects of network bottlenecks such as TCP slow start and means we are unique in our ability to measure 5G.
In addition, Ookla has partnered with operators and device manufacturers all over the world to implement accurate in-app 5G detection — even as Android Pie, which powers the current generation of 5G devices, does not natively identify 5G connection types. Through this approach, we’re able to properly configure the parameters of a Speedtest and measure 5G tests.
Keep watching this space for future analyses or contact us to learn more about how our data can help you.
To get a broader understanding of how 5G is changing the mobile landscape, read our previous coverage here: