Samsung smartphones on average are faster than other mobile devices when it comes to mobile connectivity, based on a recent study published by OpenSignal. That rings true in approximately 35-percent of countries tested while iPhone users came closest to matching the company, leading in 17.5-percent of countries.
In the US, a region where iPhone sales still dominate Samsung sales, Samsung device owners were able to achieve around 8.2 Mbps faster speeds than iPhone users on average. The biggest gap between the two companies, conversely, happened in Norway.
The world's third-largest smartphone OEM, Huawei, beat out Apple in that region too, in addition to leading in seven countries. Samsung led by 14 Mbps while Huawei had Apple beat by 2 Mbps in the region.
Samsung didn't always reign supreme, though. In Brazil, Costa Rica, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Apple led the way. In the latter two regions, it wasn't by a small margin either at 8.8 Mbps and 14.7 Mbps.
In total, Samsung phones proved faster to connect in 14 countries. Aside from those two regions listed above, those included Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.
Not always and it depends on both the region and hardware
The listed figures don't tell the entire story with mobile connectivity either since both device and region seem to have a severe impact on the mobile experience. OpenSignal does indicate that these are the averages across all tiers of smartphones. But in some regions, such as Thailand, Canada, and the UAE, the split between those tiers is much greater.
In fact, in Thailand, top tier devices are able to connect at around 4.3-times the speed compared to entry models. Canada and the UAE see a split of around 2.9-times the rate of low tier devices.
The speeds aren't evenly split either.
Samsung users in the upper tier may experience a higher average download rate globally, at 26.6 Mbps as contrasted with Apple's 25.1 Mbps and Huawei's 24.4 Mbps. Apple leads in the mid-range category followed by Huawei for the lower tiers. In fact, Huawei leads in the mid-range tier ahead of Samsung too — falling just behind Apple at 16.3 Mbps. Apple averages 16.5 Mbps.
As many as 49-percent of Samsung users fall into the lower tiers, in second place behind Huawei by approximately 2.4 Mbps.
The complexity of all of that information, according to OpenSignal, comes down to the sales regions where devices are available. Huawei, for instance, has terrible speeds in the US mostly because it isn't a widely available brand in the region and those phones that do work there tend to fall into the lowest tiers. By comparison, Samsung devices are available pretty much everywhere.
Carriers factor into the equation too, since speeds aren't the same overall on a per-region basis or per-carrier basis either.
Will this trend continue?
Samsung may be leading for the time being but there's no guarantee that the status quo can remain indefinitely or even through the impending launch of its Galaxy Note 10 lineup today. Until those gadgets — and those from other OEMs that are sure to follow — are used in the real world, there's no way to gauge how well they'll perform.
With the advent of 5G, the gap between those upper and lower speeds will only deviate further. Irrespective of that, whether or not Samsung maintains its respective position isn't going to change much. The network connectivity of any smartphone will almost certainly always come down to a combination of available network bands and the smartphone hardware in question.