Vietnam Technology Channel

Asia 4G Increases but Gaps are Still There

Open Signal, a UK consulting company has just released “The State of LTE”, its latest report on the state of 4G around the world. Open Signal provides telecos around the world with tools that allow them test the speeds and availability of their networks and the latest report includes insights from 58 million measurements from 4,852,000 devices during the period of Oct. 1, 2017 ~ Dec. 31. 2017.

Some key insights from the report related to Asia:

(1) South Korea and Singapore are included in a group of countries around the world that are considered the LTE “elite”. Regionally, Japan stands alone. The country was an early 4G adopter and while the level of LTE availability may be breathtaking and its speeds are by no means slow, it is still well away from matching the LTE speeds of the elite countries.

(2) The fastest LTE speeds seem to have hit a plateau at around 45 Mbps. Through LTE-Advanced upgrades, improved smartphone technology and new spectrum availability; mobile operators have elevated the average 4G speeds to 40 Mbps. However the industry seems to have reached a limit to what current technology, spectral bandwidth and mobile economics can support and during 2017 there have not been any sizable increase in 4G speeds and the goal of 50 Mbps remains elusive.

(3) While global LTE speed average has increased from 16.6 Mbps to 16.9 Mbps, however several Southeast Asia countries – Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia have speeds that are less than 10 Mbps.

(4) The global mobile industry is now focused on expanding access to LTE signals to more people and places, rather than growing the raw speed of 4G networks. There have been significant increases in LTE availability across the board during the period of the report.

(5) While top-line speeds may be stagnant, the availability of 4G among the top countries is steadily rising. Consumers in five countries had access to an LTE connection more than 90% of the time — up from a mere two countries just one quarter earlier.

Asia – 4G Availability
The proportion of time that users have access to a particular network

1 South Korea 97.49 %
2 Japan 94.70 %
3 Hong Kong 90.34 %
4 Taiwan 87.98 %
5 Thailand 85.58 %
6 Singapore 84.43 %
7 Malaysia 74.88 %
8 Brunei 73.66 %
9 Indonesia 72.39 %
10 Vietnam 71.26 %
11 Cambodia 70.51 %
12 Philippines 63.73 %
13 Myanmar 62.52 %

Asia – 4G Speeds
The average download connection speed for users connecting to LTE networks

1 Singapore 44.31 Mbps
2 South Korea 40.44 Mbps
3 Taiwan 26.66 Mbps
4 Japan 25.39 Mbps
5 Vietnam 21.49 Mbps
6 Hong Kong 17.73 Mbps
7 Myanmar 15.56 Mbps
8 Malaysia 14.83 Mbps
9 Cambodia 13.90 Mbps
10 Thailand 9.60 Mbps
11 Philippines 9.49 Mbps
12 Indonesia 8.92 Mbps

As the report notes, how fast a country's 4G speed is can depend on many factors: how much spectrum is devoted to LTE, whether it has adopted new 4G technologies like LTE Advanced, how densely networks are built and how much congestion is on those networks. In general, the countries with the fastest speeds tend to be the ones that have built LTE-Advanced networks and have a large proportion of LTE-Advanced capable devices.

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