U.S. stays in fifth in global 4G availability rankings, increases in 4G speed

According to OpenSignal’s latest State of LTE report, the country with the best 4G availability is South Korea — yet again. While the U.S. is still in fifth place for availability, it saw an increase in 4G speed.

OpenSignal monitors the performance of mobile networks using crowdsourced data with the OpenSignal app. The app compares the performance of networks in surrounding areas and tests the speed of the mobile connections.

This quarter’s report collected more than 58 billion measurements from more than 4 million devices from October 1 to December 29. The analysis highlights 4G LTE speed, 4G availability, and how other countries ranked in comparison.

While the U.S. hasn’t moved up from the fifth spot, 4G availability has increased in the country since last quarter from 86.94 percent to 90.32 percent. There is now a total of five countries that have 4G availability greater than 90 percent — which means South Korea and Japan are no longer the only ones.

Even though the availability is rising, the LTE speeds have failed to see a significant increase the past few global reports. Countries have been close to hitting the 50 Mbps mark, but seem to hover over 45 Mbps. But there were some notable increases in speed such as in the Netherlands and Spain, along with Canada.

The U.S. has also managed to regain its strength after it saw a major decrease in 4G speeds due to AT&T and Verizon’s reintroduction of unlimited data plans. The decrease was most likely due to network congestion caused by an increase in customers, or data usage from already existing customers — which resulted in the average connection speed for all customers to drop.

In an OpenSignal report from last August, both Verizon’s LTE download connection dropped 12 percent — from 16.9 Mbps to 14.9 Mbps — while AT&T was less extreme at 12.9 Mbps from its previous 13.9 Mbps. But as a whole, the country has gone from 13.98 Mbps in last quarter’s report to 16.31 Mbps, which is a sizable increase.

For now, the best performers in speed are Singapore, Netherlands, and Norway, who range from 41.20 Mbps to 44.31 Mbps. It’s important to note that while the U.S. was one of the first countries to take on 4G, a country’s speed is dependent on a variety of factors — including regulations, the economy, and technology.