The 5G cell network first hit the United States about 18 months ago, so we’ve got some good data now about its overall performance. And unfortunately, it’s not great news.
Out of 12 countries tested by Opensignal (an independent mobile analytics company), Saudia Arabia was the clear winner, leading the way both in overall speed and in availability (how often a user is connected to 5G compared to 4G).
Saudi Arabia’s average download speed was a blistering 144.5 Mbps, well above any other country. Canada took second place with 90.4 Mbps, South Korea third with 75.6 and Taiwan fourth with 71.5. Netherlands completed the top five with a 69.9 mbps average.
Going down the list, you’ll find Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany and Kuwait, and then, in spot number 11, the US with an average download speed of 33.4 Mbps. The UK stood in last place with a 32.6 average.
The US fared somewhat better in availability, earning fifth place with users on 5G an average of 19.3% of the time (compared to 34.4% for the top spot). The UK found the bottom here too though, with a paltry 4.5% average.
Of course, there’s a pretty big caveat here. Opensignal says the somewhat limited amount of US availability hampered things somewhat, as did the popularity of lower band spectrum devices.
But several carriers (notably T-Mobile) are soon rolling out standalone 5G, meaning a phone doesn’t need to connect to 4G for 5G to work – something that should help the averages. And there’s the juggernaut of Apple, who has yet to release a 5G device, but will soon.
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Artie has a degree in English from UNC Charlotte. He has over 20 years of experience as a writer, starting as a freelancer in college. Artie was late to the streaming game but has cut the cord and is still enjoying documentaries and historical fiction without paying a cable bill every month.