Fastest LTE networks and countries revealed

by: Rob TriggsSeptember 24, 2015
2.6K

4G LTE evolution Shutterstock

4G LTE has been rolling out across the globe for a number of years now, but your typical speed and coverage can still be highly dependent on your country of residence and choice of carrier. OpenSignal has just published its report on global 4G LTE networks for Q3 2015, which reveals the fastest and most consistent networks around the world and in which countries you can find them.

Before we delve into the leader boards, the research also finds that 4G LTE speeds are generally increasing around the world. 20 Mbps connections are now quite common, partly thanks to the introduction of LTE-Advanced. However, it’s the late adopters that seem to be providing the best speeds these days, while some countries that were previously on the cutting edge are falling behind.

LTE vs WiFi OpenSignal

In fact, the 4G wireless standard has easily surpassed typical broadband WiFi speeds available through telephone wires. The average 4G LTE speed sits at 12.6 Mbps, faster than 3G’s 3.2 Mbps average and quite a bit quicker than WiFi’s rather poor looking 5 Mbps. Although regional broadband speeds vary considerably from this average.

Top 5 fastest countries

  1. New Zealand, 36 Mbps
  2. Singapore, 33 Mbps
  3. Romania, 30 Mbps
  4. South Korea, 29 Mbps
  5. Denmark, 26 Mbps

Despite only introducing 4G LTE to the country two years ago, New Zealand now tops the table as the country with the fastest LTE network. As we have come to expect, countries in Asia are generally up there with the best performance too, although some European countries are also quite competitive. Interestingly, South Korea has managed to double its LTE speed in the past year, thanks to the introduction of carrier aggregation technologies.

For comparison, the typical speed in the US is around only 10 Mbps, less than a third of the speed of the top nations. The UK sits on 13 Mbps and the typical speed in Europe is closer to 20 Mbps, although it varies a lot. India, which is seeing growing LTE use, sits at 10 Mbps as well. Early LTE adopters, such as the US, Japan, Sweden and Germany, don’t feature in the top 5 anymore.

While the best performing networks were in Asia, European operators delivered some impressive performances as well, notably TDC in Denmark and KPN in the Netherlands. – OpenSignal

Top 5 countries with the best coverage

  1. South Korea, 97%
  2. Japan, 90%
  3. Hong Kong, 86%
  4. Kuwait, 86%
  5. Singapore, 84%

Of course, coverage is just as important as the top achievable speeds. There’s little utility in a super-fast connection available to just one village. However, OpenSignal doesn’t calculate these results based on geographic coverage, but rather caculates the score on time in coverage, which takes into account the strength of indoor signals too.

Again, we see a particularly strong showing for the Asian nations. However, speed leader New Zealand drops down to just 51 percent coverage, sitting right next to the UK’s and India’s 50 percent.

While the U.S., Sweden and Japan are falling behind in speed, they are among the top countries in the world in terms of coverage. – OpenSignal

The US fares much better in this category, managing to offer a LTE connection to customers around 78 percent of the time, although the Sprint network falls to 64 percent. Europe is a very mixed bag, with the Netherlands managing 80 percent while France struggles on just 47 percent. The worst carrier coverage can be found in Indonesia, where Axiata’s XL network provides a LTE connection just 19 percent of the time.

Top 5 fastest networks

  1. Starhub, Singapore, 38 Mbps
  2. Vodafone, Romania, 36 Mbps
  3. TCD, Denmark, 35 Mbps
  4. Olleh, South Korea, 34 Mbps
  5. SingTel, Singapore, 32 Mbps

Finally, a quick look at the fastest carriers around the world. Unsurprising, Singapore manages to nab a couple of the top positions, but European countries also host two of the top five. Looking more broadly, Europe is a mixed bag, where as Asia and some Middle Eastern countries offer the most consistent selection of local carriers.

For US readers out there, T-Mobile and Verizon are the two fastest networks in the country at around 12 Mbps each. Sprint, AT&T and C Spire are slower, hovering around the 7 Mbps mark on average. There’s quite a way to go to catch up with Singapore.

5g logo mwc 2015 2See also: 5G network speed defined as 20 Gbps by the ITU35

4G LTE technology has already helped hook up a large number of mobile customers to blazing fast wireless connections, but it is apparent that a number of carriers still have a long way to go to offer a suitable levels of consistent coverage. If you are looking for the fastest data connections around, Asia is still the place to relocate to, but the rest of the world is catching up.

You can read the full report in the source link below, complete with some interactive charts to help breakdown the data.

  • RO
    • Andrei Dragan

      Wtf are you talking about dude? This is about 4G LTE not fiberoptics internet speeds -_-

  • Luke Perry Glover

    I guess Canadian speeds are crap? Lol Coverage obviously isn’t as good.

    • Arman

      I am not sure about that! Rogers and Bell have really fast speeds… The coverage might not be that good.

      • John Doe

        Rogers blows chunks, worst service provider on the planet ..
        Bell when they get there upgrade completed will be the fastest in Canada ..
        Telus, which I am on is Meh .. not bad, but could definitely faster ..

        • Luke Perry Glover

          Yeah, well I’m on wind….so NO 4G FOR ME! (even though they say they have it), and no Canadian wide coverage…but unlimited data and cheap! …sigh.

    • Happy

      Yes, it’s hilarious how they are comparing the coverage of Singapore and Hong Kong with Russia, Sweden, Canada and Australia :-) And the top countries for coverage are …cities. :-)

      The carrier in Denmark is TDC not TCD…

      • Teo Jia Rong

        Singapore is a country……

        • Happy

          Can you name all the cities in it? It is a city and so is Hong Kong.
          Area of:
          Greater London – 1572 sq km
          Singapore – 718 sq km
          Hong Kong – 1104 sq km
          Canada – 9984670 sq km

          • Yellowpot

            Singapore is one of the smallest countries in the world. Do some research.

      • Luke Perry Glover

        Yeah, thanks for that :P I used to be with Koodo which are pretty good, but I’m on wind now… …theyre cheaper and have unlimited data, but no actual 4g or coverage for the whole country, only sections…and yet if i go to the U.S., the $50 plan or a $15 add-on I can get unlimited everything including data …

        • Hiran

          If you go to USA. I strongly suggest Verizon. I get faster LTE speeds and more coverage in USA. Than T-Mobile and Sprint

  • Gepstra

    Can confirm, the 4G network from KPN in the Netherlands is very good. They are also testing their 4G+ network.

  • Teo Jia Rong

    I am proud to call Singapore my home. Majulah Singapura! :)

    • xAntifreeZe

      same here :)

  • Javid Nazim Mammadov

    Funny, South Korea has the best internet coverage in the world, but its neighbor – North Korea doesn’t even have internet connection.

    • Paco Inurreta

      They count for 2!

    • Callum

      The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea have 3G…

      • Javid Nazim Mammadov

        Yeah, but only for high-level government officials. Internet is kinda restricted there.

        • Callum

          Actually, lots of people have it, it’s just that only website hosted in the DPRK are whitelisted.

    • Jesus

      Not that funny in my opinion…

      I mean, they are separate countries, with different ideals and governments etc.

  • Ezzy

    Averages are funny. Finland has unlimited 300Mbit 4G LTE available for 50 bucks a month (and it actually works at that speed if your device supports LTE cat6), I had 100Mbit 4G that passed 100Mbit speeds, but had no coverage at my house and it drains battery super fast, so I downgraded.
    My current 3G HSPA is constantly over these averages though. I still don’t see why you’d need 100+Mbit speeds on a phone (unless you’re tethering, that is). Just more marketing nonsense, like 4K displays on phones, 4GB RAM etc.

    • Frosti

      I agree 100%

      Could you give me a source to the 300Mbit 4g LTE offer? I live in Austria and the best contract aviable here is 150Mbit 4G LTE unlimited for 50€

      • Ezzy

        Saunalahti.fi is the ISP I was referring to.

    • Akira Tabuchi Yagui

      Actually 4GB RAM is usefull if you want to install windows (There are some mods online :3 )

  • abazigal

    Is this article for real? Singapore second fastest and Starbub having the best coverage? I am from Singapore, and from what I can tell, our 4g speeds are pretty congested and Starhub has the dubious honour of having the worst coverage of all!

    • Boqiang Chen

      i cannot agree more. I am from Singapore too. I was shocked to see Starhub having the fastest network in the world.

    • Teo Jia Rong

      IMO Singtel network like better than Starhub’s leh..

      • abazigal

        They all have their blind spots. For example, my workplace has zero Singtel reception, but full M1 coverage and Starhub is so-so (only 3g, no 4g). Don’t even get me started on the state of the reception at Jurong East MRT station at 6 pm a year ago.

        Will be interesting to see how they got their averages.

        • R6ex

          Viewquest better than Singtel?

  • z00rg

    I’m not really sure to get the results. I just did a test today in Strasbourg I got this http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/1472565461
    The coverage of this French carrier is not as good as the others but the speed as you can see is pretty good.
    Especially with 50Go of data for 20€ a month!

  • james hobbs

    I get over 80Mbit 4G here in Sweden. Just sayin’

    • B. Alex

      dude , i have vodafone in romania and touch 140 Mbit on 4g . It also depends a lot on the phone you have . You may have a categ1 4g ready phone but you wont get more then 10 Mbps . Just saying .

  • Martin Cimbálek

    Is there available full list?

  • VytautasK

    OpenSignal is not the best choice if you want to know about network coverage because they data are based on OpenSignal users information and in many countries they have not enough users to measure network. I have up to 92Mbps download ant 30Mbps upload In Lithuania and almost all country is covered by LTE but dont know any users who are using OpenSignal…

  • Muhammad Talha Lone

    This is a bogus list, and has let me know your statistics aren’t realistic, in Pakistan we have Zong touching 35 Mbps and Pakistan isn’t even in your list. I’d have said it’s not consistent but I’m a user and it’s as good as it gets

  • Martín Zorko

    Here in Argentina LTE coverage is abysmal, no wonder it sits comfortably in the 65th position (out of 68). Better to have a solid WiFi connection than anything else.

  • Wandile Tembe

    Failing to understand this. I just did a speed test on HSPA+ on the MTN network and the down speed was over 31 Mbps. My Ookla Speedtest result – Check out my Ookla Speedtest result. What’s your speed? http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/1471450476

  • I’m in the UK with O2 on a 4G connection and I get 30Mbps + download all the time.

    • Callum

      Currently on EE and get around 80Mbps, normally around 40 though.

      • Nice. That’s faster than more peoples home broadband! O_O

  • M3D1T8R

    I now get around 12 on Verizon at my house out in the woods. I would get about 0 here but installed a system signal amplifiers/external antennas. Before we got LTE around here a couple years years ago, I would get maybe 0.1 on 3G. Also my ping has gone from 200 to 60. As long as my unlimited data exists, I’ll be sticking with this (WiFi hotspot). Nice to see I now actually have an “average” connection. Anything over 5 or so is good enough for streaming HD Netflix. So I’m super happy with this.

    The other day at a certain location in town I managed 67 down, 24 up, by far the best I’ve ever seen on LTE.

    • Hiran

      HOw does pinging work? Is lower ping the better?
      What device are you using? I have Droid Turbo and what area are you in?

  • Joe

    My home connection is 1Gb via comcast.my sprint lte hangs around 12 to 15 Mbps..

    • Hiran

      Where are you located and how is Verizon for you?

      • Joe

        Im in Chicago suburbs. Verizion doesnt have homeservice here and not sure on verizon speeds. They cost too much to use . My wife used to use verizon and coverage was better nation wide but what you got for the price and you had to be in a contract wasnt worth it.

        • Hiran

          How much do you pay for Sprint? WHo has better LTE: Sprint/Verizon? I have a family plan, $130. 700 mins, 2gb and unlimited messaging. (Verizon)

          • Joe

            I know this is old but anyways for my Sprint cell service which is no contract prepaid I pay $60 a month true unlimited no throttle no cap..Unlimited talk text and data. With taxes and fees about $65. I have used up to about 80 GB in a month on my phone and I have used it to tether my tablets and stream videos to chromecast

  • Alim Naizabek

    I get around 7-10 mbps on 3G and my friends get ~30-40 on 4G

  • Andreas Reitzel

    Just for your info, the danish network carrier is not TCD but TDC ;)

  • tanjiajun34

    Oh well I am from Singapore and using Starhub. Kind of didn’t expect it to be the top. I always thought it isn’t the fastest in Singapore, never even thought about the world.

  • M42

    Some of these countries may have greater speed but the uniformity of coverage is sorely lacking.

  • Dave M

    I get 44 megs on LTE in Canada on Telus LTE

    • Hiran

      Which part of Canada and How is Rogers/Bell? In Toronto, who is the best Rogers/Bell/Telus?

  • Andreas

    I get 175 mbits on 4G in my town I live in Sweden in a town called karlstad. I use Huawei Mate 7

  • Andreas

    I get 172 mbit with 4g I live in Sweden in a town called karlstad

    • Baluta Cristian

      Because marketing… Your Mbits means actually around 20Mbps

  • I get around 65mbps on LTE.
    Country: Slovakia
    Carrier: SWAN SK

    My data plan is 100GB/Month (then after reaching my FUP i get a slowdown to 1/1mbps) – i pay only 5€ /month for it. It’s not a business plan – just regular data plan they’re selling.

  • Naoki

    Starhub, Singapore the best? You must be fucking kidding me. I’m using their 4G network and seriously getting a 15mbps is lucky

    • tanjiajun34

      I just randomly run Speedtest on my s6 edge 4g+ and I am getting 100+mbps download and 30+mbps upload. Either you off 4g or you are just always in a poor 4g coverage area and therefore always connected to 3g network instead.

      • Naoki

        I am working in the mobile industry and I have all 3 telco lines, and M1 gives me the best speed even at some common blind spot. And out of so many areas Starhub only perform well outside of town, CBD, IBP, CBP, Bedok and Changi area. While others can give me better performance at those critical area.

        • tanjiajun34

          I never done a speed test at town area. I never really do much speed test because it waste a lot of my data but at my home at Yishun I am getting high speed as well. The speed test I done above its at cck. But not saying Starhub is the best or what but 15mbps and below? Really that bad for Starhub?

          I only know AMK is the worse area for Starhub.

          • Naoki

            Nopes…Bugis is the worse no 3G at all let alone 4G

          • R6ex

            How does Viewquest compare to the 3 telcos?

        • R6ex

          Viewquest faster than the 3 telcos?

  • Marco Moreira

    Uk three network lg g4 unlimited data 4g. And i just pay £17 month i get this enside my house the best a saw was 70 mb.

  • Jacob Markussen

    The Danish carrier is called TDC, not TCD :-)

  • John

    Something wrong in your survey “Android Authority”
    In hongkong, 4G speed is nearly 100 Mbps and i am using it.

  • Daniel Moraru

    All internet speed is good in Romania. For us, gigalan speed on wan is no longer “a thing” from 2 years. Download speeds of 70-80 MegaBYTES/s are a common thing in every house hold. Unfortunately is the only thing that works in this country.

  • pablo

    Korea has 5g did not ad that to fastest speed

  • Roy Tide

    This must be really old, as I live in Latvia for nearly a year now and my 4G has never been bellow 45Mbps. Most I’ve had was 85ish.

  • Adikovec

    Well, those graphs are kinda shit. Getting 50Mbps+ in my city…

  • Mazen

    Lol we have an average 50 mbps LTE speed in lebanon on touch.