Mobile broadband speeds in the UK have been ranked as the 27th fastest in the world, according to a report from Opensignal.
The latest 2019 State of Mobile Network report from Opensignal studied mobile broadband speeds in 87 countries worldwide. The research revealed that average mobile broadband download speeds in the UK were 21.7Mbps, which is slower than many other European countries including Hungary, Greece, Slovakia and Belgium.
Opensignal’s report was based on crowd-sourced data taken from both Android and iOS smartphone users in multiple countries, between 1 January and 31 March this year. The study involved a total of over 43.6 million smartphones and just under 140 billion individual measurements.
European countries generally performed well in the ranking of mobile broadband download speeds, with 13 of the top 20 countries being on the continent. However, the country revealed as having the fastest mobile broadband in the world was South Korea, with average download speeds of 52.4Mbps, making it the only country in the study to exceed average speeds of 50Mbps. Second on the list was Norway with download speeds of 48.2Mbps, while Canada came third with average speeds of 42.5Mbps.
The study also ranked countries based on upload speeds, latency times and 4G network availability, with the UK ranking similarly mid-table for each. In terms of average upload speeds, the UK ranked 30th with 7.4Mbps. It ranked 29th for latency times with 46ms, and 26th overall for 4G availability, which was recorded as 84.7%.
While European countries ranked relatively well for average download speeds, they didn’t fare quite as well when it came to 4G availability. Only 4 countries out of the top 10 are in Europe, with leading economies such as Germany, France and Italy all surprisingly having less than 80% availability. South Korea once again led the way globally for 4G availability with an impressive reach of 97.5%. Japan came second with 96.3% and Norway third with 95.5%.
The mobile broadband rankings are expected to change over the coming months and years with the introduction of 5G technology slowly being rolled out worldwide. Some countries, including certain parts of the United States, have already been deploying 5G services, although its availability remains extremely limited.
The first 5G network in the UK is being launched by EE in six cities tomorrow – London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Vodafone will launch their own 5G network on 3 July. Once this new technology is available, average download speeds for mobile broadband are expected to soar, in some cases to above 1Gbps – quicker than most of the fastest fibre optic home broadband connections currently on offer.
“It’s very early days for 5G, but we’ve seen a number of commercial launches over the past couple of months, with the US and Asia leading the charge,” said Peter Boyland, senior analyst at Opensignal. “A lot of markets are still in the process of reallocating spectrum bands for 5G use. But once the first networks are up and running and 5G devices become more widely available, we expect to see the new technology take off in a big way provided the real-world 5G experience is significantly better than the existing mobile experience.”