Smartphone users are on average connecting to fourth generation Long Term Evolution networks at much faster speeds than Wi-Fi, according to Open Signal, a circumstance that might surprise you.
In the past, users connected to Wi-Fi because it provided a faster connection than the mobile network. That might still happen, but, on average, LTE connections now are faster than Wi-Fi.
Open Signal points out that there is “tremendous variance” in Wi-Fi connection quality around the world.
In North America or East Asia, a consumer might see 50 Mbps or better connections on their home or office networks, but then find their internet connection timing out at a local coffee shop.
There’s also a lot of variance in Wi-Fi speeds between countries, with some of the fastest Wi-Fi speeds in Europe.
Of course, network loading and backhaul availability and cost are key parts of the picture.
Some of the earliest adopters of LTE -- like the U.S., Japan, Sweden and Germany -- are starting to fall behind in terms of data performance. In part, these older networks are suffering from their own success, Open Signal says.
In the U.S., for instance, LTE’s introduction in 2010 resulted in a huge base of LTE subscribers in the country today. Those subscribers are all competing for the same network resources, slowing down average speeds.
In comparison, newer networks in South America and Europe are more lightly loaded. But the U.S. has also failed to keep up with the rest world in both spectrum and technology, Open Signal argues.