Europe has best 4G ahead of 5G launches

(Image credit: O2)

Europe continues to have the best 4G networks in the world, although coverage is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the globe according to new figures from Opensignal.

Opensignal’s application collects billions of measurements from millions of devices each day, believing this data provides a more accurate view on how network performs in the real world than in controlled environments.

It wanted to provide a snapshot of 4G around the world in 87 countries, looking at data prior to the launch of the first 5G services in South Korea and the US.

UK 4G speeds

European nations dominated key performance metrics, with Norway and Netherlands boasting average download speeds of more than 40Mbps (South Korea topped with more than 50Mbps), with most countries achieving between 10Mbps and 20Mbps.

However, some major markets lag behind in terms of availability. While the US and India fell short in other categories, both made the top ten, whereas availability in Germany, France, and Italy was below the average of 80 per cent. Fifteen markets have rates of more than 90 per cent.

By way of comparison, the UK boasts download speeds of 21.7Mbps and 84.7 per cent 4G availability.

The latest figures demonstrate not only investments made by operators, but also show why some parts of the world shown more enthusiasm to be the first with 5G than others. Whereas Europe has very good 4G infrastructure, networks in Asia and the US are under more strain.

Opensignal’s findings also show the potential for lower latencies. Although 13 countries achieved less than 40ms, no country broke the 30ms barrier. Meanwhile, the UK managed 46ms.

5G networks promise faster speeds, greater capacity and lower latency, network characteristics that promise to enable a range of new consumer and business applications.

EE will switch on the UK’s first 5G network on May 30 in a number of major cities, with Vodafone set to follow on July 3. O2 and Three also plan to launch their 5G services in 2019.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.