5G Speed Declines as Seoul Leads Atop, Speedtest Data Shows

5G speed declines worldwide in the Q3, 2021, and the performance discrepancies grow while, the fifth-generation cellular network expands to more regions. Find more from Speedtest’s latest figures on the global 5G status.

The internet measurement platform’s 5G Median Performance Worldwide report shows 5G download speed declining from the past year. In Q3, 2020, the median global 5G global seed was 206.22 Mbps. This has sharply fallen by 166.13% Mbps in Q3, 2021. This is a decrease of 40.09 Mbps or 13% in comparison.

5G speed declines
Global 5G speed comparison |Speedtest

The internet speed measurement platform attributes the slowing speed to a growing number of new subscribers clogging the network. As more people activate the 5G network, the bandwidth will be shared among them. Additionally, the use of mixed bands to gain more coverage has dwindled its average speed.

The median upload speed of 5G also tumbled down this quarter. In the last year’s Q3 report, the median upload speed was 29.52 Mbps worldwide, it has fallen to 21.08 Mbps this year’s Q3.

Period5G Download Speed5G Upload Speed
Q3 2020206.22 Mbps29.52 Mbps
Q3 2021166.13 Mbps21.08 Mbps
Global 5G speed declines | Comparison between Q3 of 2020 & 2021

But Speedtest says it is not a major concern but rather a trend with new technology. The broadband performance with newer technologies always drops during its growing phase. It says, “The speeds will begin to pick up again with more spectrum and more deployments coming in 2022.”

Read: 5G Spectrum Bands: What Do High, Mid, and Low Bands Mean?

South Korea Tops 5G Speed Test

While the global median for 5G speed declines, there are countries that are delivering the most convincing experience of the much-touted wireless network.

In its report, Speedtest found South Korea registering the highest median download speed on 5G in Q3, 2021. Norway and UAE follow with solid numbers right behind. Both the countries clocked 549.02 Mbps and 516.58 Mbps respectively.

5G speed
South Korea leads the global 5G speed contest

All these 10 countries have shown a remarkable improvement in 5G speeds over the one-year period.

112 Countries Now Have 5G Coverage

Carriers are tapping into new markets for their 5G network gaining more subscribers in the process. Speedtest says, a total of 112 countries starting their fifth-generation network as of November 30, 2021. This is a slight increase from 99 countries a year ago in Q3.

In terms of deployment, 5G saw an incredible deployment of over 85,602. This is much higher than the previous year’s record of 17,428 deployments.

Global 5G Coverage
Global 5G coverage

The 5G is slowly gaining a mainstream across the world. Speedtest’s data shows that 13 new countries have now launched the prolific fifth-generation cellular network.  With this, the total number of countries with 5G coverage has reached 112. The cellular network disparity seems to be narrowing with the advent of newer mobile networks. Only 20% of the population of the 70 countries now rely on legacy technologies.

This also gives us a hint at how 6G could bring more uniform communications among the populace. Multiple states have announced their plans to shut down their legacy networks and it means 5G is going to blanket the global mobile network penetration in the few years to come.  

Do check out: UK Preparing For 2G/3G Shutdown By 2033

The 5G speed is still an elusive issue. The speed is determined by the frequency and the higher frequency equates to a higher speed but reduces the coverage. This had led to the carriers using the low band to mid-band spectrum to cater the 5G to suit the needs of particular areas.

What is your take on fluctuating global 5G speed? Do they compare to the earlier expectation or they could improve over the years with improvement in the technology? Offer your inputs in the comments below.

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