WHEN it comes to the internet, the world is increasingly going mobile. Long gone are the days of requiring a broadband connection at home in order to go online.
This is particularly the case in Asia, where mobile internet has provided internet access to millions more people each and every year. Data recently released by Syniverse showed that 4G data usage in the Asia Pacific had increased by a whopping 300 percent over the past year.
OpenSignal, a company which specialises in wireless coverage mapping, has crunched the numbers on which cities in East Asia perform the best when it comes to 4G speeds, 4G being the fourth generation of cellular network technology.
Of the 12 cities it analysed for speeds between March and May 2017, South Korea’s capital Seoul was home to the fastest 4G in the region with average download speeds of more than 25 megabit per second (Mbps).
Seoul marginally outdid Singapore, which enjoys similarly “awe-inspiring” super-fast mobile internet, according to the company. “That makes them not just the fastest cities in East Asia, but among the fastest cities in the world,” wrote OpenSignal.
Taipei in Taiwan came in third, somewhat surprisingly followed by the largest city in Burma (Myanmar) – Yangon.
“While we would expect Taipei and Tokyo to be LTE powerhouses, given their early adoption of 4G, Yangon and Ho Chi Minh City are holding their own,” said the company.
“Both Vietnam and Myanmar only launched commercial 4G services within the last two years, which perhaps explains why they’re delivering such fast connections. As consumers adopt 4G phones and 4G service plans, they begin filling up those networks, causing speeds to gradually decline.”
Burma’s digital population has grown drastically in recent years, with the number of internet users growing by 97 percent in the year to January 2017. Some 70 percent of these new users were on mobile internet.
A number of Asian cities considered had 4G download speeds at or below the global average of 16.9 Mbps, including Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Jakarta.
As one of the largest online markets globally, Indonesia’s 4G networks are highly concentrated with users. Greater Jakarta alone has some 31 million people, most of whom are using mobile internet.
“A notable trend we’re tracking in the region is the intense focus on 4G availability over 4G speed,” according to OpenSignal. “As 4G connections are far superior to 3G connections, Southeast Asia’s operators seem intent on making LTE services accessible to the vast majority of their customers before they turn their attention to raw speed.”
When it came to upload speeds, there was less disparity across the region.
Singapore’s upload speed of 15.4 Mbps was not massively faster than the slowest cities Phnom Penh and Jakarta, which averaged 4G upload speeds of 4.9 Mbps.