The State of Wifi vs Mobile Network Experience as 5G Arrives

There’s long been an industry assumption that Wifi is better than mobile networks in almost every way. As a result, ever since the arrival of the earliest iPhone and Android smartphones, around ten years ago, smartphones have routinely jumped on the nearest known Wifi connection, using it in preference to 2G, 3G or 4G mobile networks for data.

But now OpenSignal, the mobile analytics company, has delved deeper into the State of Wifi vs Mobile Network Experience, and their analysis indicates that mobile is no longer inferior to Wifi in every regard.

In 33 countries smartphone users now experience faster average download speeds using a mobile network than using Wifi according to OpenSignal mobile analytics.

The range of countries where mobile proves faster vary widely from richer countries such as Australia, where the benefit of using mobile was greatest with speeds experienced by smartphone users 13Mbps higher on mobile than Wifi, and France (+2.5Mbps) to markets across every continent, for example: Qatar (+11.Mbps); Turkey (+7.3Mbps); Mexico (+1.5Mbps) and South Africa (+5.7Mbps).

In three highly developed geographies – Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA – the mobile experience bucks the global trend and significantly underperforms compared with smartphone users’ Wifi download experience with a slower mobile experience of -38.6Mbps, -34Mbps and -25Mbps respectively.

The time smartphones spend connected to Wifi has no significant correlation with users experiencing faster Wifi speeds relative to those on mobile, because smartphones will automatically connect to known Wifi networks without including speed as a factor in their decision.

Ten years ago, Wifi was faster than mobile almost all of the time, was cheaper…always, and had much greater capacity.

As 5G arrives, the mobile industry must change a number of design decisions as a result. Mobile operators and smartphone makers alike must re-evaluate their Wifi strategies, especially around mobile offload, automatic network selection and indoor coverage, to ensure they do not accidentally push consumers’ smartphones onto a Wifi network that offers a worse experience than their mobile network.

The State of Wifi vs Mobile Network Experience as 5G Arrives

[wp-embedder-pack width=”100%” height=”400px” download=”logged-in” download-text=”” url=”https://opensignal.com/reports-data/global/data-2018-11/state_of_wifi_vs_mobile_OpenSignal_201811.pdf” /]

Rapid Mobile

Rapid Mobile uses cookies, tokens, and other third party scripts to recognise visitors of our sites and services, remember your settings and privacy choices, and - depending on your settings and privacy choices - enable us and some key partners to collect information about you so that we can improve our services and deliver relevant ads.


By continuing to use our site or clicking I Accept, you agree that Rapid Mobile and our key partners may collect data and use cookies for personalised ads and other purposes, as described more fully in our privacy policy.


You can change your settings at any time by clicking Manage Settings or by visiting our Privacy Centre for more detailed information.


Privacy Settings saved!
Cookie Services

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site.

We track anonymized user information to improve our website.
  • _ga
  • _gid
  • _gat

Decline all Services
Accept all Services