While 5G is just starting to roll out, 4G LTE has been around for years now — and no matter what phone you have, you’ll probably get a decent connection on 4G. Turns out, however, that your phone model can affect download speeds more than you might think, according to a new report from OpenSignal.
The report notes that Samsung users experienced the best download speeds in 35 percent of countries, beating out Apple, which achieved faster speeds in 17.5 percent of countries. In the remaining countries, neither Apple, Samsung, nor Huawei were notably the fastest.
When it comes to actual download speeds, in the U.S., Samsung users hit download speeds 8.2 Mbps faster than iPhone users on average. That’s pretty huge — but not quite as big as Norway, where Samsung users hit speeds 12 Mbps faster than Huawei users and a hefty 14 Mbps faster than iPhone users. It’s not all bad news for the iPhone. Download speeds were faster on the iPhone than on a Samsung device, by as much as 14.7 Mbps, in the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan.
Of course, brand isn’t the only thing that dictates smartphone connectivity. Higher-end phones generally have better networking technology, and thus can retain faster connections. In as many as 25 countries, high-end smartphones were at least twice as fast as low-end phones. In Thailand, high-end phones were a massive 4.3 times as fast, and 2.9 times as fast in Canada. High-end phones can often connect to more frequency bands, more radio bands, and so on.
Different manufacturers work with different modem suppliers too — Android manufacturers aften use Qualcomm modems, while Huawei has its own modems and Apple has been using Intel modems for the past few years. In the future, Apple will be using Qualcomm modems, and is expected to eventually switch to its own self-built modems.
The report included tests from 23,352,908 devices in 40 countries, and devices were split into three tiers — low-, mid-, and high-tier. Interestingly enough, each of the three top smartphone manufacturers were fastest in one tier — Samsung phones were fastest among high-tier users, while Apple users were fastest in the mid-tier, and Huawei in the low-end.
These results could change significantly over the next few years. As we move into an era of 5G, certain companies, like Qualcomm, are poised to be top players in the modem market.