Today, OpenSignal released its new Global State of Mobile Networks report, our first worldwide report that looks beyond 4G technology to examine the overall mobile data prowess of nearly 100 different countries. While you can see the overall conclusions and analysis in the report itself, we’re also drilling down to specific regions in a short series of blog posts. Today we’re starting with Europe.
The chart below shows how 33 European countries stack up in mobile data performance, plotting combined 3G and 4G availability on the vertical axis and average 3G/4G speed on the horizontal axis.
Europe does quite well in general in both speed availability, reflecting not only their investments in LTE but the mature state of their LTE infrastructures. Most of them are clustered in the upper central portion of the chart with speeds between 10 and 20 Mbps and high levels of mobile data signal availability. The vast majority of European users can latch onto a 3G or better signal more 80% of the time, according to our data.
Outside of that main cluster, we do see clumps of countries in similar stages of development. We find several Eastern European countries that haven’t quite caught up with the rest of the region in either speed or availability (sometimes both), though Germany falls in the underperforming category as well. Being a former member of the eastern bloc isn’t always indicative of poorer mobile data performance, though. Both Lithuania and Hungary are well to the right of Europe’s main cluster, joining the Nordic states and the Netherlands in an exclusive club of outperformers. These are the rare countries that are able to offer a consistent mobile data connection greater than 20 Mbps.
3G signals are plentiful around the world
3G has definitely taken hold in most countries. On the 95 countries in our sample, 93 of them had 3G or better signal availability more than half the time, while the vast majority had availability greater than 75%, according to our data.
Big differences remain in average consumer data speeds
Though 3G or 4G connections may be the norm, there are some sizable gaps country-to-country in our overall speed metric, which measures the average download performance across all networks. South Korea had the fastest overall speed of 41.3 Mbps, while the slowest average we measured was 2.2 Mbps in Afghanistan.
The dominant connection type is (surprise!) Wifi
We found high levels of mobile Wifi connections both in countries where mobile broadband is ubiquitous and in countries where mobile data infrastructure is more limited. The most mobile-Wifi-hungry country in the world was the Netherlands, where Wifi accounted for 70% of all of the smartphone connections we measured.
LTE development patterns are clearly emerging
When we correlated overall speeds with 3G/4G availability, we found distinct clusters of countries in similar stages of mobile development. Examining 3G and 4G together paints a much clearer picture of a country’s network progress than measuring 4G alone.