New research shows the 5G download speeds early adopters are getting

12 Jul 2019

Image: © Wayhome Studio/

An analysis by OpenSignal of 5G download speeds shows how much faster the next-generation technology is relative to 4G.

5G is being hailed as the next technological revolution and every country in the world is chomping at the bit to gain dominance. Faster, smarter and more efficient connectivity paves the way for next-level technological innovation – which in turn, begets general societal advancement. So for many nations, 5G dominance equals global dominance.

Setting aside the largest geopolitical implications, however, 5G is touted as a vastly improved service for smartphone users who will be able to download video and load pages faster than ever before.

Though 5G likely won’t be widely available for another year or two, some early adopters have already gotten a taste of 5G download speeds, and OpenSignal has analysed these speeds to determine whether they outperform 4G, and if they do, to what extent.

OpenSignal looked at the maximum real-world speeds seen in eight countries that have launched 5G services in a limited capacity. In the vast majority of instances, the maximum download speeds for these 5G trial users is significantly faster than 4G, as analysts were expecting.

The highest maximum speeds were observed in the US at 1,815Mbps. This is significantly faster than the current maximum speed experienced by 4G users, 678Mbps – almost three times so, in fact.

“It’s unsurprising to see that the current 5G maximum speed is so much greater in the US, because operators there are already able to use mmWave spectrum for 5G,” writes Ian Fogg for OpenSignal. “This is extremely high capacity and extremely fast spectrum but has very limited coverage compared with the 3.4 to 3.8GHz 5G ‘mid band’ spectrum typically used in most of the other countries we analysed where mmWave spectrum is not yet available.”

The second-highest maximum speed is in Switzerland, where 5G download speeds came in at 1,145Mbps, more than two and a half times higher than the maximum speed for 4G users (443Mbps).

The United Arab Emirates also showed a drastic speed difference. Users in this country availed of 5G download speeds of 665Mbps, while 4G only experienced 292Mbps. That constitutes a more than doubling of speed with 5G – though UAE’s 4G speed is markedly lower than those in the other seven nations studied.

Notably, 5G users in Australia actually experienced lower 5G speeds than they would on 4G. 5G clocked in at 792Mbps according to OpenSignal. Meanwhile, 4G users had a maximum download speed of 950Mbps. Fogg argues that this can be attributed to the fact that 4G in Australia is already extremely fast, “close to the theoretical best performance of 4G”.

In Spain, the difference between 5G speeds and 4G speeds was negligible – 602Mbps and 596Mbps respectively.

You can view the insights and accompanying infographic in full here.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic