East Asian telcos provided the fastest 5G download speeds globally, and 5G adoption is gaining ground worldwide: report

Using data from actual smartphone users from January to June 2021, global 5G operators have been ranked by the real-world 5G mobile network experience they provide.

The 5G mobile experience is further split into: Availability, Download Speed, Upload Speed, Games Experience and Video Experience.

The global rankings, commissioned by Opensignal, divide performance measurements across 5G connectivity at the operator level, and separately as a percentage improvement over older 4G. The purpose is to recognize top performers.

Global 5G experience findings

As more smartphone users embrace 5G and operators expand their 5G networks, the mobile experience continues to evolve rapidly, with some early adopters ceding ground to more recent entrants.

By monitoring and ranking real-world feedback from actual smartphone users globally, Opensignal provides insights for the industry to work on. For 2021, the following H1 findings have been reported:

  • East Asian telcos had the fastest 5G download speeds globally:
    4 out of the top 6 operators were from East Asia. Taiwan’s FarEasTone users enjoyed 5G download speeds of 447.8 Mbps, while South Korea’s SK Telecom’s 417.6 Mbps was the second-fastest, with Taiwanese Chunghwa coming in third at 391.3 Mbps.
  • ASEAN markets saw the greatest improvement in video experience using 5G, over 4G: Thailand’s AIS users saw the greatest 5G impact in the ‘video experience’ category, with a 36.6% improvement while streaming videos on their smartphones using 5G compared to 4G, followed by the Philippines’ Globe (32.8%) and Smart (23.4%). Users on all three networks enjoyed an ‘excellent video experience’ with 5G but not with 4G. Also, 24 operators saw a 5G boost of over 10% on their users’ ‘video experience’.
  • Six operators show vast 5G gains over 4G: On six operators5G download speeds were over 1,000% faster than 4G. Thailand’s AIS users experienced the greatest improvement of 1,775.2% in their average download speeds with 5G compared to 4G, followed by those on Japan’s Rakuten (1,560.5%) and Saudi Arabia’s Zain (1,560.2%). Opensignal users on FarEasTone (Taiwan), TIM (Italy) and Vodafone (Spain) also saw improvements of over 1,000%
  • Only one operator in Singapore made it to the global rankings:
    Among two other major telcos, only Singtel users reported world-class experiences. The telco ranked among the top 20 operators in 5G upload speed, and was among seven operators recognized in 5G ‘games experience’ category.

As 5G technology is still being rolled out and fine-tuned worldwide, the rankings are liquid for each half of the year.