CANNES, France — Cellsmart, the cellular intelligence division of SmartCIC, launched its Global Cellular Performance Survey, which found that 5G networks are delivering high download speeds while lagging in upload speeds that support enterprise applications. The global average 5G download speed between March and May was 241.61 Mbps while upload speeds were only 31.27 Mbps. Upload speeds only showed an increase of 55% over the 4G global average, while download speeds leapt by 330%. As enterprises look to 5G for connectivity to drive agile solutions, they will need faster speeds to support data transfer.  

The survey collected data from telecoms network engineers working in the field to provide an up-to-date snap shot of actual performance across cellular technologies. Cellsmart will use the data it collects in its planning, network selection, and service development and monitoring for fixed wireless enterprise customers. 

The top five 5G metro markets based on average download speed are: 

  1. Cannes (France)
  2. Munich (Germany)
  3. Nashville (U.S.)
  4. Oslo (Norway)
  5. Singapore 

“The research shows how MNOs [mobile network operators] have prioritized 5G download speeds in their initial rollouts, and, now, there’s an opportunity to focus on enterprise demand for rapid upstream data transfer,” said Toby Forman, CEO at SmartCIC. “5G networks are showing upload speeds that are 13% of their download speeds, while 4G has a balanced download/upload symmetry with 36%. Based on the research sample, we saw 5G delivering higher latency than 4G in some cases. This may be due to a number of the 5G tests being run on low-band networks. Where results have been taken in areas with mmWave, there are dramatically different results, including downloads in excess of 800 Mbps, uploads in excess of 250 Mbps, and latencies of sub-10 ms.

A total of 2,536 telecoms network engineers across 51 countries ran speed tests in 331 unique locations globally to capture network performance data. Each engineer ran the tests independently in the field and submitted result anonymously between March 25 and May 6. Data samples span Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe. Data analysis was conducted by the Cellsmart team.

The top five MNOs based on maximum download speeds (all technologies)

  • du (United Arab Emirates
  • Telia (Sweden)
  • Deutsche Telekom (Germany)
  • EE (U.K.)
  • Singtel (Singapore)

“We went out to our global network of 25,000 engineers and asked them to log network performance wherever they were operating,” Forman said. “Over time, as we see more results added to our database, we’ll be able to provide an accurate and evolving snapshot of how cellular technologies are performing in the field. This initial cut of data is just the start of the process. As we begin to see greater density of results globally, we will [turn] those into insights for our customers and the broader market. We did this because this information simply didn’t exist on a global scale, and we believe the market needs intelligent cellular solutions.”