Opensignal Benchmarks 5G Readiness with New USA Analysis

4G Download Speeds, Upload Speeds and Latency will benefit from step-change improvements only 5G can provide

Opensignal, the independent global standard for measuring real-world mobile network experience, today released its State of Mobile: USA analysis for May 2019. The new analysis, building on Opensignal’s The State of Mobile Network Experience May 2019 global report, highlights Q1 2019 wireless performance across all 50 U.S. states, as well as the fifty largest U.S. cities by population, in anticipation of 5G rollouts nationwide.  By showing the real-world experience consumers achieve today Opensignal can help consumers and operators to more accurately measure 5G’s impact tomorrow, especially across some of the areas 5G aims to improve the most: upload and download speeds and latency.

The State of Mobile analysis finds that average download speeds experienced by smartphone users across the U.S. have risen only slightly from 17 Mbps in Q1 2018 to 21.3 Mbps in Q1 2019. U.S. users with 4G devices had LTE connections 93% of the time in Q1 2019 and experienced average upload speeds of 6.3 Mbps. And latency, or responsiveness, ranged from 44.1ms to 66.4ms – a far cry from the low single digits promised by 5G’s designers. Opensignal has an active U.S. userbase of over 1 million unique devices and analyzes network service the way users experience it in their everyday lives.

“While small scale 5G launches are now occurring in limited areas within select cities in the U.S., the majority of users across the country continue to connect to 4G with average download speeds of just 21.3 Mbps,” said Brendan Gill, CEO of Opensignal. “Due to the sheer size of the U.S., limited mid-band spectrum and a measured rollout of 5G-equipped devices, we expect it will be several years before 5G surpasses 4G as the predominantly used wireless technology across the country. Our new analysis takes a look at the real-world experience found in all 50 states today, showing not only where 4G still has room to improve, but also providing a benchmark for 5G as the service rollouts, cell site upgrades and backhaul connections needed to offer 5G at scale proceed.”

Download / view the full analysis and accompanying charts here. Key findings include:

  • Average download speeds smartphone users experienced ranged from 32.9 Mbps in New Jersey to 12.1 Mbps in Mississippi. The fastest states were a mixture of mid-Atlantic and New England population centers alongside heartland states such as Ohio and Minnesota, which ranked 4th and 5th respectively.
  • Technology hub cities did not excel when compared with the 50 largest cities: San Francisco, Seattle and Austin ranked in the bottom half of the largest fifty cities on measures of Download Speed, Upload Speed, and Video Experience. New 5G spectrum offers greater capacity which can help to support these high data consumption areas.
  • Cleveland (33.8 Mbps) and Minneapolis (32.2 Mbps), which is pegged as one of the first cities to roll out 5G, offered users the fastest Download Speed Experience across the fifty largest cities.
  • Additional cities aiming for early 5G rollouts didn’t perform quite as well with mobile download speed in Q1: Chicago (26.4 Mbps), Los Angeles (23.1 Mbps), Sacramento (22.9 Mbps) and Austin (20.4 Mbps).
  • Baltimore and New York City offered users the most responsive experience with average latencies of 44ms. With an average 60ms latency in the U.S., consumers are still a long way from 5G’s single-digit target.
  • New York City and Salt Lake City’s high upload speeds offer the best experience for sharing smartphone photos and videos.
  • Despite being the home to the Hollywood digital content machine, Los Angeles ranked just 30th for mobile Video Experience with a score of 53.3, which rates as just “Fair” in Opensignal’s metric.

To learn more about Opensignal, visit www.opensignal.com and check out the following resources:

January 2019 State of Mobile Networks: USA Report – https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2019/01/usa/mobile-network-experience