Sweden has the world's fastest 4G LTE speeds, US ranks 8th overall

By on February 14, 2013, 12:30 PM

Despite having the most developed LTE infrastructure in the world, the speedy 4G network in the US isn’t actually all that fast compared to implementations in other countries. According to a new report from UK network testing firm OpenSignal, seven other nations have faster wireless connections than the ones Americans enjoy.

If you recall, Sweden was the first country in the world to launch a commercial 4G LTE network and according to the report, theirs is also the fastest with an average download speed of 22.1 Mbps. The US assembled LTE networks shortly after Sweden but despite that fact, they rank eighth overall in terms of download speed.

Hong Kong, Denmark, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Germany – in that order – all have faster average download speeds than the 9.6 Mbps scored by the US. The US is a vast country with multiple wireless carriers, so why are they falling so far behind other nations in terms of overall speed?

GigaOm believes it has to do with how wireless networks in the US are configured. They point out that most carriers around the globe are working with 40 MHz of spectrum when deploying a network. In the US, however, carriers are lucky to get half that spectrum. For example, AT&T and Verizon both are using 20 MHz for their rollouts while smaller operators like MetroPCS and Sprint only have 10 MHz to work with.

What is the fastest 4G LTE connection you have seen on your mobile handset locally? For me, I once hit 31 Mbps on a speed test over AT&T’s network in the Memphis, TN area.




User Comments: 18

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Littleczr Littleczr said:

For a country the size of the United states that's pretty good.

cmbjive said:

I think the spectrum plays an important part but also consider that the countries that rank higher than the US have a combined population that is less than it. Therefore there are not that many demands made by its citizens on their respective networks as it is in our country on an even lower spectrum.

While it is not as good as Sweden's, 9Mbps is not that bad for the US. I haven't benchmarked my usage and I haven't been on the 4G network for months now but 9Mbps is 3Mbps less than what I get on my landline DSL.

Ultraman1966 said:

UK isn't even in the top ten (for obvious reasons). Having said that, we're a relatively small island for the population so this will change over the next two years.

MilwaukeeMike said:

The US is just about perfectly setup to perform poorly in an average speed test like this. The US has many large population areas that would make it very expensive to outfit with fast 4G. I don't know about 4G configs etc, but I've seen plenty of reviews of smart phones that show US cities getting 25Mbps over 4G. I think the average is low because there are just too many people to cover in too much space. the only large countries in that list (Canada and Australia) also could have a high average because they have so few 4G areas.

In the effort to not make their results bogus though, I'd hope they accounted for population and done this test by taking the fastest 10 markets in each country and averaging them. Obviously they didn't since I doubt some of those countries even have 10 4G markets, but that would help the credibility. In the same manner that an MLB hitter isn't considered for batting average titles unless he has enough at-bats. Going to bat once and hitting 1.000 isn't really a good measure, right Hong Kong?

Lionvibez said:

I'm in canada and I've hit 23Mbps using the speedtest.net app on rogers with LTE and a Iphone 5.

On my New Blackberry Z10 also on rogers LTE I've hit 22Mbps max so far.

Guest said:

I can indeed confirm that the 4G speed in Sweden is very good, especially in major cities. I usually get around 60-80mbps down and 15-40mbps up in my apartment (Stockholm suburb).

My personal record though is 94mbps down and 57mbps up, this however was done in the middle of the capital.

rimasiba rimasiba said:

Not sure why you look so surprised. Americans still have a lot to learn with the Old continent.

veLa veLa said:

I got at least 20Mbps in San Antonio, TX on AT&T's 4G LTE. Sadly I live out in the boonies where the only "4G" service is HSPA+, which I get about 5Mbps with, which is about as good as the DSL connection I have to live with here as well.

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Yay Australia! Glad to see we're keeping up in SOME aspects of techology

dennis777 dennis777 said:

Your so lucky, in the Philippines the average speed is less than 1mbps :P

gobbybobby said:

Its very disappointing. I remember 2 years ago reading about how 4G will change everything with 1000+ Meg download speeds

yet highest you see is 30~

tests in London, UK got 100, but that was in closed testing with only a few people using it. I doubt that the case today. Well it might be with only 1 4G carrier, EE who have insane usage caps and ridiculously overpriced 4G. You can have 4G but don't you dare try and use it.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

In cities here in Canada, the 4g is for me is always 40+ mbs

1 person liked this | Guest said:

In South Africa we write messages on the cured skins of indigenous beasts and parcel them on carts drawn by oxen. Sometimes, if the roads are not slick from the winter rains, we can get parcels and missives to neighbouring villages in less than a week! We also have a mobile data telecoms infrastructure but nobody uses that because it's simply so slow.

Guest said:

What ? Seriously ?

Guys I live in Saudi Arabia and I get between 22 Mbs and 27 Mbs and never less than 21 Mbs , and once reached 57 Mbs.

Does this mean my country is the fastest in LTE ?

waterytowers said:

I think the spectrum plays an important part but also consider that the countries that rank higher than the US have a combined population that is less than it. Therefore there are not that many demands made by its citizens on their respective networks as it is in our country on an even lower spectrum.

So is Hong Kong a small place that would not have any demands on its network??

cmbjive said:

So is Hong Kong a small place that would not have any demands on its network??

I did say "in addition to spectrum".

Guest said:

55 Mbps here in PH!

Miloslav Miloslav said:

Its very disappointing. I remember 2 years ago reading about how 4G will change everything with 1000+ Meg download speeds

yet highest you see is 30~

Unfortunately journalists (and marketing guys sometimes as well) does not distinguish between peak technology performance and real user experience. LTE is capable of 100+ speeds and LTE-A can even reach 1Gbps BUT it is a radio technology and resources are SHARED between users. So 10 users connected to one sector in base station and downloading at the same time means that their average experience will be 10 Mbits/s. That spectrum bit is nonsense. Current devices cannot work with more than 20MHz. Reason for poorer performance in US are:

- much higher penetration and usage of LTE devices

- generally higher population density thus lower average performance

- wast covered areas means that many base stations are not connected with fibre, but with some 100+ Mbps wireless technology instead, so even that each sector on base station can perform over 100 Mbits, base station performance is limited with backhaul speed /will be case in many parts of Europe as well.

tmobilesucks tmobilesucks said:

For a country the size of the United states that's pretty good.

The United States continues to fall behind on most of the Internet/TV/Mobile/4G, you name it. In Canada the speeds for a 4G Hot Spot are blazing fast. I have a T-Mobile hotspot that claims 4G, but the page loads slower than dialup. In Canada on the Rogers Network pages load in milliseconds.

I have also had the opportunity to use 4G in Papua New Guinea, where their network is just rolling out, but the speeds on their network are way faster than in the United States.

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