New York tops 5G availability among major cities, lags on speed

Among 30 major cities around the world, 5G users are likely to be connected most often in New York. But when it comes to speed, NYC ranks near the bottom of the list, according to a new Ookla report.

Seoul recorded the fastest 5G median download speeds in the Q1-Q2 testing period, with 467.87 Mbps. The South Korea capital also got high marks for availability, with 48% - placing it in third, behind Amsterdam (51.2%) and New York (73.5%).

New York and Amsterdam were the only two that met at least a 50% 5G availability threshold, meaning a majority of users in that city were able to spend most of their time on 5G networks.

All three major U.S. operators have deployed 5G in New York, although Ookla didn’t break out the city’s results by carrier.

Verizon has deployed its nationwide 5G using lower band spectrum, as well as high-capacity millimeter wave but only in very limited areas. Back in May 2020 T-Mobile claimed the Big Apple as the first city to have its full “5G layer cake” of low-band 600 MHz, mid-band 2.5 GHz and mmWave spectrum. A separate report from RootMetrics pegged NYC as having the second-highest 5G availability worldwide in the first half of 2021, with AT&T providing the lead at 74.1%.

RELATED: South Korea 5G scores high marks for both speed, coverage - RootMetrics

For Ookla’s new 5G benchmark report, NYC beat out 29 other major cities 5G availability but was 26th for speed at 119.86 Mbps. As Ookla noted, over 100 Mbps is still fast – but comparatively, the U.S city ranks low. It came ahead of Prague, Manila, Singapore, and Warsaw.

Thirteen of the cities tested had 5G median download speeds above 200 Mbps, including the top four which were all faster than 400 Mbps. Countries in the Middle East saw fast 5G speeds in cities that dominated the top seven including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Riyadh, Dammam, and Kuwait City – all clocking median 5G downloads above 338 Mbps.  However, all fell between 30.2%-38.1% for consistent 5G connections, with Doha, Qatar showing the highest percentage in fourth place on the list.

Rounding out the top 10 cities for fastest median 5G speeds were Beijing (291.19 Mbps), Helsinki (279.59 Mbps), and Bangkok (253.73 Mbps).

While Bangkok and Helsinki were fast, 5G availability was on the lower end at 22.7% and 20.5%, respectively.