5G global mobile network experience 2021 – Opensignal analysis

Image by Putilov Denis | Bigstockphoto

Despite the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile network operators across the globe have continued rolling out commercial 5G networks to support the demand for mobile data. With the ever-growing range of 5G capable smartphones available in the market, 5G adoption is spreading.

For the first time, Opensignal has ranked 5G operators globally by assessing their real-world 5G mobile network experience.  In this report, we have compared users’ 5G mobile network experience by operator during the first half of 2021 to see how operators stack up globally, using five key measures of mobile experience.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of report key highlights and regional insights:

T-Mobile (US) and STC (Kuwait) are 5G Availability, joint global winners

Users’ ability to enjoy all the benefits of 5G directly depends on the proportion of time they have a 5G connection. Our users on T-Mobile (US) and STC (Kuwait) spent the greatest proportion of time with an active 5G connection — more than one-third of the time. Both operators are statistically tied for the top spot with scores of 35.7% and 33.6%, respectively.

FarEasTone is the sole global winner for 5G Download Speed

With 5G download speeds averaging a blistering 447.8 Mbps, our FarEasTone users in Taiwan enjoyed the fastest 5G Download Speed globally. East Asian telcos dominated the category. Including FarEasTone, four out of the top six operators are from East Asia. South Korea’s SK Telecom’s 417.6 Mbps is the second-fastest, while Taiwanese Chunghwa follows with 391.3 Mbps.

5G Download Speeds were over 1000% faster than 4G on six operators

5G has had an astonishing impact on users’ average download speeds. Thailand’s AIS users experienced the most remarkable improvement of 1775.2% in their average download speeds with 5G compared to 4G, followed by those on Japan’s Rakuten (1560.5%) and Saudi Arabia’s Zain (1560.2%). Opensignal users on FarEasTone (Taiwan), TIM (Italy) and Vodafone (Spain) also saw improvements of over 1000%.

Australia insights

  • Optus and Telstra are global leaders for 5G Download Speed. While both operators’ scores placed them some way from the top of the table — Taiwan’s FarEasTone came first with a score of 447.8 Mbps — they were comfortably above the global average of 175.3 Mbps.
  • Out of Australia’s operators, only Optus has made it into the top 30 for Download Speed – 5G Global Impact (the percentage improvement in the average download speeds observed by Opensignal’s users on an operator’s 5G network compared to that seen on its 4G network). Optus’s 5G Download Speed score was 574.8% faster than its 4G Download Speed score, well ahead of the global average improvement of 438.2%.
  • Optus and Vodafone are global leaders for 5G Games Experience. This means that Opensignal’s users on their 5G networks had a Good (75-85) experience when playing real-time multiplayer mobile games on mobile devices connected to servers located around the world.

New Zealand insights

  • Vodafone is a global leader for 5G Download Speed, with a score of 296.2 Mbps, placing roughly mid-table among the top 20 operators for this category. 
  • In addition, Vodafone is in the top 30 for Download Speed – 5G Global Impact; the average download speeds seen by Opensignal users on its 5G network were an impressive 546% faster than those seen on its 4G network.


  • Opensignal’s 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards 2021 report is divided into two sections — the first analyzes the experience of Opensignal users when connected to 5G at the operator-level globally, across five categories: 5G Availability, 5G Download Speed, 5G Upload Speed, 5G Games Experience and 5G Video Experience. For each category, Opensignal has recognised the top 20 scoring operators — including operators that are statistically tied with the 20th operator, based on confidence intervals. Opensignal has also used confidence intervals to determine the Global Winner or joint Global Winners (in the case of a statistical tie).
  • The second section, 5G Global Impact, assesses the percentage improvement, or uplift, that users’ experience when they connect to 5G compared to older 4G technology. For 5G Global Impact, Opensignal has recognized the top 30 operators around the world for the greatest uplift on four measures of mobile network experience: download speeds, upload speeds, mobile video streaming and multiplayer online gaming. 
  • The data used in this report was collected between January, 1, 2021 and June 29, 2021. 

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