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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Samsung smartphone users in the United States experience faster LTE data speeds on average than Apple iPhone users, according to a recent global study conducted by Opensignal.

The study looked at over 3 billion measurements from more than 23 million devices from April 1 to June 30, 2019, concluding that Samsung users in the U.S. experienced download speeds 8.2Mb/s faster than iPhone users on average.


Samsung users also saw faster download speeds than Apple users in 35 percent of countries, across 40 countries analyzed. Apple users saw faster speeds in just 17.5 percent of countries, and in the remaining 48 percent, neither Apple nor Samsung (nor Huawei) offered the fastest devices.

Apple's iPhones had the biggest edge over Samsung in Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, where iPhone speeds were 8Mb/s faster than Samsung device speeds. Samsung had the biggest edge over Apple in Norway, where Samsung users saw mobile speeds that were 14Mb/s faster than those experienced by Apple users.

All in all, Apple's iPhones were faster than Samsung and Huawei (the third most popular worldwide smartphone) in Brazil, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and UAE.


Samsung won out in the United States, Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.

Opensignal's testing split smartphone users into three groups (low, mid, and high-tier) based on each smartphone's mobile network capabilities, with the highest tier representing the newest smartphones with technology than Opensignal says is more sensitive to mobile network improvements.

Amid higher-tier smartphones, differences in speeds between the three largest smartphone brands (Apple, Samsung, and Huawei) were smaller. Higher-tier smartphones included the iPhone XS and XS Max, along with the Galaxy S8, S9, and S10, among others.

Higher-tier Samsung users saw faster speeds than Apple and Huawei users with global download speeds of 26.6Mb/s vs. 25.1Mb/s (Apple) vs. 24.4Mb/s (Huawei), but Apple users saw the fastest speeds of the three in the mid-tier category, which included the iPhone XR, X, and 8, along with the Samsung M40 and A80 and others.

Middle tier iPhone users, which make up the bulk of Apple users, saw speeds of 16.5Mb/s, compared to 16.3Mb/s for Huawei users and 14.4Mb/s for Samsung users. Samsung ultimately won out in the higher-tier smartphone category (aka the newest devices) and won the overall speed contest because most iPhone users have iPhones with slower modem hardware.

Samsung and Huawei have prioritized "Gigabit" LTE modems over the course of the last few years, while Apple's only devices with modems in that class are the iPhone XS and the XS Max. Even the iPhone XR, a 2018 device, doesn't have an LTE modem comparable to the modem chips Samsung has been using for the last couple of years.
Apple's challenge is that few of its current models are high-tier devices when we group iPhone models based on their mobile network experience capabilities. In our measurements, just 14% of Apple users are high tier. Instead, Apple has chosen to focus its handset designs on other capabilities such as facial recognition, camera innovation, long battery life, and extremely fast application processors and graphics using Apple's in-house silicon designs.

While all Samsung and Huawei flagship models for the last couple of years have featured so-called "gigabit" capable modem designs -- LTE Category 16 and above -- only the iPhone XS and XS Max have such capability. Even the current iPhone XR includes a less-capable LTE Category 12 modem, which we therefore class as a mid-tier smartphone on mobile network experience.
Apple's 2019 version of the iPhone XR is expected to feature faster LTE speeds that may eventually help Apple gain an edge over Samsung. The looming worldwide adoption of 5G will also shake things up, though Apple is not set to start debuting 5G capable devices until 2020, while Samsung already has 5G devices in 2019.

More detail from Opensignal's report can be found on the Opensignal website.

Article Link: Study Suggests Samsung Users In U.S. See Faster Download Speeds Than Apple iPhone Users on Average


macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2014
Does this take into account the countries that have faster internet speeds? Korea, home of Samsung has among the highest speeds in the world. Me thinks that sort of data has a long way to go to influences any data. So, lets think about that for a minute. A country with a high saturation of a local product, plus very, very fast internet. Hmmm?


macrumors newbie
Jun 16, 2009
The article completely misses the network part which is just as important as the chipset in the phones. If Samsung and Huawei phones are to have an edge the network is required to support MIMO 4x4, QAM256 and triple carrier aggregation - preferably MIMO 4x4 and QAM256 on multiple carriers.

Apple iPhones also support these three key technologies but the Gigabit modems in Samsung and Huawei phones can use MIMO 4x4 and QAM256 on multiple carriers and achieve higher speeds.

I do not know everything about the different networks around the world, but I can say that networks in both the USA, Australia and Norway to some degree supports there technologies across large parts of their networks.


macrumors 65816
Dec 13, 2007
This had been the case for sometime, to camouflage this Apple comes with miracle synthetic benchmark supersonic Bionic A series...but many know their LTE and WiFi are not industry leaders...not sure if this is due to hardware or software (OS)
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macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2012
Even if it is faster, by the look of that graph we aren't talking major speed improvement here. Oh whoop de do a meg or two quicker. I literally don't care about the speed as long as it's fast enough to stream a video. What I really care about is the quality of the connection. How well does the phone keep its connection to the mast, how does it perform in congested areas, how well does it perform in poor coverage areas, how quickly can it regain a connection, how quickly does it realise the connection has gone bad. These are the things that really matter once we hit the point I can stream a video.


macrumors G3
Sep 12, 2017
Sunnyvale, CA
I find it hilarious that the US (arguably the wealthiest country in the world), which has expensive internet and mobile plan prices is so slow.
Not sure how hilarious it is, but do you think it has anything to do with the relatively large area that carriers have to cover? The US is somewhat large, comparatively.


macrumors member
Aug 31, 2017
In the UK 4G was soooooo fast when it first launched. I’d almost always get 100mbps+ download AND upload. But now everyone else is on 4G it sucks.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the faster countries have low populations.

I think it is. Netherlands (where I'm from) is up there at #3 when it comes to 4G speed, but we're #4 when it comes to population density. There's an incredible amount of people living in this tiny country but our infrastructure is absolutely amazing.

When 4G was first introduced here, my phone supported it. So I understand what you mean as the speed was much higher back then. That said, 4G is still a heck of a lot faster than most public WiFi options. The only time I experience any form of slowness is when there's a massive amount of people together in a single spot, like a football stadium.
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macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2008
Damn you Apple, thats nearly a whole second a year I've wasted waiting for my data to download. Thats a whole second of my life that I'm never going to get back :rolleyes: Oh No, wait... I'm in the UK and there is no clear winner here so I apologise Apple, I take it all back, all is good in the world again.
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macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2012
Doesn't matter because Apple is now a fashion accessory, not a technology company. What's the next Apple watch mystery material? We have had gold, ceramic. How about sustainable bamboo? iPhone X Skyrocketed the price above $1000, now that's the default price. MBP with the touch bar just cost an extra $500 over-night. Can't wait for the 16" model and the price gouging.

Not to mention nearly half a decade without updating their top of the line computer, so who cares about speed? Apple sure as hell doesn't. But you sure as hell will pay through your nose for mediocre. Apple has to find profits somewhere as they hurtle towards saturation.
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macrumors G5
Apr 8, 2013
Damn you Apple, thats nearly a whole second a year I've wasted waiting for my data to download. Thats a whole second of my life that I'm never going to get back :rolleyes: Oh No, wait... I'm in the UK and there is no clear winner here so I apologise Apple, I take it all back, all is good in the world again.
Well Apple use intel modems in iPhones sold in the UK so android phones with Qualcomm chips will have faster download speeds. This has been shown already. If it actually matters in the grand scheme of things.
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