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Countries Ranked by 4G Download Speed at Different Times of Day

Wednesday, Feb 20th, 2019 (5:00 am) - Score 9,715

Crowd-sourced data analyst firm OpenSignal has today published a new report that examines how future 5G based Mobile Broadband networks could solve the congestion problems of current 4G networks, which includes a ranking of 77 countries by average download speed experienced at different times of day.

The new report stems from app-based crowd-sourced data that was gathered from 94,071,939 total devices and 585,738,011,995 total measurements between 1st January and 31st December 2018. Across the 77 countries studied it notes that 4G (LTE) download speeds are between 31.2Mbps and 5.8Mbps faster at the “best hour of day” compared with the slowest hour of the day.

While some countries offered much more consistency in speed than others, every country was still found to have some degree of speed fluctuation throughout the day. As a result Opensignal believes that congestion on current 4G networks is holding back speeds and that this in turn helps to highlight areas where future multi-Gigabit capable ultrafast 5G networks could help.


General Study Highlights

* Even at the most demanding high-data-traffic hours, most European countries were able to maintain a minimum 4G Download Speed average of 20Mbps. There were seven exceptions, but three of them fell just below the 20Mbps mark during their slowest times: the UK (19.7 Mbps), Italy (19 Mbps) and Ukraine (18.8 Mbps). Belarus, Ireland, Poland and the Russian Federation, however, were far below that benchmark.

* The most consistent country in our 77 nation analysis hailed from Europe. In the Czech Republic, the difference between best 4G Download Speed and worst speed over 24 hours was only 20%. That means consumers are likely noticing little change in their average speeds even during the peak-usage hours of the day.

* The UK and the Netherlands were quite the anomalies in our hour-of-the-day analysis. While the vast majority of European countries racked up their busiest hours between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., UK consumers were most active on 4G networks at 5 p.m. while for the Netherlands the peak time was one hour earlier.

* While wild fluctuations speeds were common in all European cities, London had some particular broad pendulum swings throughout the day, ranging from 17.5Mbps to 38.3Mbps. The only European city in our sample with bigger fluctuations in speed was Paris.

The report states that even the fastest 4G countries need 5G to “counter big drops in speeds at busy times.” For example, South Korea and Singapore, users experienced a speed gap of 13Mbps between the fastest and slowest hours, despite having the two highest average download speeds measured of 55.7Mbps and 54.7Mbps respectively.

opensignal 4g speed variations by time of day

At this point it’s worth noting that 5G by itself is, not unlike 4G before it, just as vulnerable to capacity problems if network operators don’t supply their masts and cell sites with enough capacity (both in terms of backhaul and radio spectrum). Indeed if existing 4G networks had more spectrum and data capacity then we suspect that many of the fluctuations identified in today’s report might be less of a problem.

opensignal countries by 4g speed at fastest and slowest hour 2019


By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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12 Responses
  1. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

    Presumably the position of the U.K. is adversely affected by the performance of Three and O2? No doubt it would be higher based purely on EE.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Probably. Of course the same would be true for any other country in the table with a similarly competitive mobile market.

  2. Avatar photo Sunny says:

    O2 have by far the worst 4g. 500-950kbps . Same time I’m getting around 25+ mbps on my other network SIM.

  3. Avatar photo TheFacts says:

    What is the max speed of 4G and why would I not achieve that? Distance from mast and backhaul?

    1. Avatar photo New_Londoner says:

      And ground topology, building materials (if inside or between you and the mast), network loading, etc.

    2. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Not to mention the physical differences between networks and spectrum bands / use. So many factors go into this one, which is why comparing mobile connectivity is so incredibly difficult.

  4. Avatar photo SimonR says:

    Presumably for some both the minimum and maximum speeds for 4G is zero – to get a bigger picture of 4G, coverage comes into it, no? Otherwise it’s like measuring the wealth of a nation and only counting millionaires and above.

    After all, if I can get zero here, and 30 down the road then 4G is not a service to be relied on. If I drop down to 3G or below frequently, then that must be the speed to work towards.

    Admittedly a little off topic, and exaggerated examples, but I can’t drive 15 miles to work without losing signal.

  5. Avatar photo Mike says:

    One should be careful when judging purely on speed as unlimited 4g like in the UK is hard to come by abroad.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Cashmore says:

      Except that in Scandinavian countries ‘unlimited’ is the norm, but somehow they all outperform the UK, so must be other factors at play.

    2. Avatar photo Gerarda says:

      In Paris too, 4G services are sold as a viable, similarly priced and structured alternative to Fttc. I suspect much the same applies to all those places where peak demand is from 8pm

  6. Avatar photo BdyT says:

    Not enough masts in the UK!

  7. Avatar photo Adam says:

    I have tried to download free software for Windows in my location and the download speed was 10 MB per second.

Comments are closed

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