Telcos switch to prioritising 4G availability over speed

The latest OpenSignal report indicates that global telecoms operators have begun to prioritise 4G availability over speed.

Operators first boasted of their 4G download speeds even when their coverage was poor. As past reports from OpenSignal have shown, these speeds have increased over the years and the ability to boast of faster speeds than competitors appeared to be the priority for operators.

However, according to the latest report, download speeds have stopped increasing in top-performing markets.

In the last six months, the average 4G download speed has increased to just 16.6 Mbps from 16.2 Mbps. In fact, the number of countries averaging 4G speeds greater than 20 Mbps has actually fallen, rather than increased.

Focus on 4G availability

OpenSignal uses real user devices for its research. Rather than 4G coverage, the firm instead focuses on 4G availability — a more accurate metric that measures the number of instances when customers can connect to a 4G network.

4G availability scores reached above 70 percent in 50 of the 77 countries that OpenSignal tracks. This is compared to 33 countries six months ago.

“That means 4G users in those 50 countries were able to latch onto an LTE signal in more than 7 our every 10 attempts. It’s a sign that 4G has reached maturity in many more countries,” OpenSignal said.

OpenSignal’s results indicate operators are stopping the fight over speed and now look to further increase the ability for users to access their 4G network.

This will likely continue over the next couple of years before the boasts of download speeds becomes a priority once again during their rollouts of 5G.

You can find the full report here.

Do you think operators are prioritising 4G availability? Let us know in the comments.

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