Even as 5G networks continue to be established worldwide, it turns out the US has some of the slowest 5G speeds in the world

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14 countries with faster 5G than the US

  • Even as 5G networks continue to be established worldwide, it turns out the US has some of the slowest speeds in the world

The game-changing benefits of 5G connectivity have been repeatedly touted in these pages, but the fact is that the road towards harnessing the true capabilities of 5G is still long and bumpy. Its high speed, low-latency advantages are expected to accelerate the digitalization of many industries in the coming years, but we aren’t there yet.

Only a handful of countries had commercial 5G infrastructure up and running in 2019, and progress has been slow-going this year as most nations grappled with pandemic-affiliated delays and interruptions. The United States was one of those regions that gained 5G early, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s faster.

In fact, a new report indicates that a number of countries have faster connectivity than the world’s biggest economy, including several territories in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. Opensignal benchmarked the 5G speeds in 15 countries between July 1 and September 28, and it turns out the US suffers from some of the slowest wireless speeds in the world.

The report found real-world download speeds the fastest in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, at 377.2Mbps and  336.1Mbps, respectively. That is 5.6x faster than South Korea’s 4G speed, while Saudi Arabia’s network is 12 and a half times faster than its 4G LTE bands.

Of the 15 nations listed in the report, the US had the slowest with the exception of the Netherlands, whose 5G is a mere 1.6 times faster than its current networks. Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and the UK all have faster 5G speeds according to the Opensignal study.

South Korea may have the best speeds in APAC, but Thailand and Hong Kong are ahead in availability, which measures the number of times users are connected to a high-speed connection compared to a 4G network. The US comes up just behind them, with a 5G connection 21.4% or roughly one-fifth of the time, placing it sixth overall in network availability.

The US’ overall poor network performance is probably due to its expansive size: smaller countries like Kuwait, Thailand, and Hong Kong all have superior 5G performance to the US, but the US reaches a wider coverage area, and therefore will be more ready to scale up in both speed and availability as 5G improves in the United States in the coming months and years.