U.S. drops to 55th in 4G LTE speeds

22 Mar, 2019

OpenSignal's new report about global LTE speeds doesn't have the best news for Americans. Average U.S. LTE speeds improved slightly between the second and third quarters, but the country is still nowhere near the top of the list for download speeds.

Some late bloomers have launched high-speed mobile services in unlikely places, while other markets gear up for 4G growth spurts.

Earth's oldest LTE network is less than six years old, but the technology is growing up so fast it's comparable to that one boy everyone knew who was already shaving by the time he started big school...as if something has gone wrong and he's growing up in dog years.To string this questionable analogy out even further, much like our oddly mature and hirsute young friend, 4G already appears a bit past it as far as some are concerned, and the new, fresh-faced 5G can't come along soon enough.

For most though, 4G is just starting to come of age, and "we're seeing awe-inspiring data rates in seemingly unlikely places," wrote coverage-checking app maker OpenSignal in its 'State of LTE' report this week.Don't panic, OpenSignal, it's perfectly natural but it wouldn't hurt to invest in some deodorant. Also, by all means take up the guitar, but don't inflict it on anyone until you know how to play it properly.

Already looking old enough to be served in a pub, and therefore by default the coolest kids in class, are South Korea and Japan.According to OpenSignal, South Korean mobile customers are connected to LTE 97% of the time. South Korean operator LG Uplus is the top-ranked telco, its customers being connected to LTE 99.6% of the time."Instead of mapping out specific geographic areas where a signal is available, our metric looks at the proportion of time a user has access to the LTE network," explained OpenSignal. "That gives a more accurate look at how real-world users are being served by their provider."

Japan also scores highly with 90%, followed by Hong Kong and Kuwait, which both score 86%, then Singapore and Uruguay, which each notched up 84%. Completing the top 10 are Kazakhstan (81%), the Netherlands (80%), Bahrain (79%), and Sweden (78%). The U.S. sits just outside the cool clique with 77%.

The U.K. is definitely not part of the in-crowd. With a score of 50%, the world's fifth-largest economy by GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund, ranks 52nd."There are several operators that clearly have work to do when it comes to providing