OpenSignal: Mobile networks are getting faster than Wi-Fi on a global scale

mongeese

TS Addict
Staff member

According to OpenSignal, the majority of countries have average Wi-Fi speeds that are pretty much the same as cellular speeds, with Australia being the only large country to show a substantial difference. In America, however, Wi-Fi is still faster by 25Mbps on average, with Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea following the same trend.

The UK’s telecommunications regulatory body’s top tech expert, Mansoor Hanif, recently used the study as evidence to highlight just how bad the Wi-Fi industry is. Although Hanif mostly comes out like a disgruntled user's voice whose residential building's Wi-Fi probably doesn't work as it should, he shows his frustration with how slow Wi-Fi development is progressing.

With 5G on the horizon, cellular networking speeds are bound to get faster and better. However the next generation of Wi-Fi called 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6 is designed for cellular data offloading, so both technologies are not meant to act alone or exclusively apart from each other, but quite the opposite.

Editor's note: While we have no reason to doubt OpenSignal's study comprised of billions of measurements on Android and iOS mobile devices, and the trend is clear that wireless is getting better (data caps aside), having visited over a dozen of those studied countries in the past 18 months, our informal observations are that generally speaking Wi-Fi remains a more desirable connection over wireless (for now).

Also, while using 5G to power a home network is possible and is coming soon, it may not be an ideal solution for most either. To access 5G indoors, a large and power-hungry antenna needs to be attached to a building and connected directly to a Wi-Fi router.

Another interesting observation brought up by the study is mobile device’s tendency to favor Wi-Fi. With the exception of some phone brands like Huawei, most cellular devices will automatically switch away from cellular networks without performing a speed test. This is certainly cheaper and better in some circumstances, but as wireless gains ground, that assumption will have to be revised accordingly.

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mattsie

TS Enthusiast
Lol what happens when you have 5000 people on one cell tower?
Exactly!

Ethernet>WiFi(over Ethernet)>5G>4G

Not sure what the point here is. Yes, 5G will make our connected devices on par with home internet(not just wifi) but I do not see any change in a user habits to change. Maybe in 10 years this can be revised! Not a minute sooner.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
LMAO! The towers in my city are so overloaded, 10meg down 5 up would be considered a HIGH speed.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
If memory serves, one of the potential providers is going to be posting their transmitters on top of existing utility poles with one transmitter every 2nd or 3rd pole. Their choice was to avoid using Cell towers in order to maintain originally predicted 5G speeds. Of course, all of this is pure speculation but if comes to actually be such a feat one will have to wonder just how much longer hard wire & cable will survive? I'm just planning to stick around long enough to see it .......
 

Eldritch

TS Addict
Nobody minds difference in speed once its above 40 mbps as its more than enough for most mobile needs.
What does matter is data caps. Mobile internet is merely a hypothetical as downloading anything serious will result in wither hitting data caps or will result in huge bills. Mobile companies need to introduce plans to rival broadbands as increasing speed to even 100000 mbps wont matter if we will hit data caps in 2 minutes.
 
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yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Until data caps and throttling are a thing of the past 5G will be irrelevant.
Have you heard of TMobile? I frequently travel all over Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia Maryland for work and very rarely have I ever experienced a drop in service. I have their "international" plan so I can use my phone as a true 4G hotspot and the only time I get throttled to 3G when over 70GB is when the towers in my area start to get overwhelmed.

Been with them for 4 years now and their service is only getting better. Switched from ATT because they were two expensive for my data needs
 

Ravey

TS Addict
I was having this conversation with friends over the past few days! We will know for certain once 5G officially rolls if Mobile networks will be on Par (or even better) than regular Wi-Fi.

But you can already see that most of the major cellular networks (in the uk) are confidant that customers are going to make a big switch. Vodaphone and EE for example have been offering Broadband packages for a while, steadily building thier user base for the upcoming upgrade.
 

ChuckyDhaBeast

TS Enthusiast
I'm reaching 100mbit during the day at work, and in the evening, over 250mbit in the same spot!

If only the cap wasn't so low :(
 

TheBigT42

TS Maniac
You know what grinds my gears?

People referring to "WiFi" a type of internet connection. It's not.
It is only a way to connect to the local network. The speed of the Internet while connected to WiFi is determined by the internet connection of the network.

If the network only has dsl your are much better off using 4g
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
There are two data only plans in the US that might be worth considering to some. ATT has a 100GB 4GLTE plan for $99/mo, and T-Mobile has a 50GB 4GLTE plan for $50/mo. Don't bother with Verizon. Their 100GB plan is an asinine amount of something like $700/mo IIRC.

Adventure Wireless resells both. I'm under 100GB/mo, and I am on T-mobile's plan through Adventure Wireless. So far, I have not noticed any throttling or limits so far. I've had it for about 3-months now. I am within about a mile of a T-Moblie tower, though, and my download speed is about 40Gbps. I dumped Spectrum which was half the speed.