The latest news from GigaOm is that Wi-Fi hotspot speeds are still faster than 4G in the U.S., but that could soon change.

What does this mean for mobile operators? This report shows that the US is almost last in download speed, and the article goes on to explain why.

It has a lot to do with the way the U.S. deployed 4G. It was among the first countries in the world to deploy large-scale LTE networks, but those networks were built over fairly small chunks of spectrum. While U.S. carriers were using 5 MHz or 10 MHz of spectrum for their download channels, European carriers started with 20 MHz. In Australia and East Asia, several carriers have already started using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation techniques to pile even more spectrum onto their networks.

But there’s another reason as well. The U.S. has a very high LTE penetration. Nearly half of all global LTE connections at the end of 2013 were on U.S. networks, according to the GSMA. Basically, that means our networks are getting crowded with more people competing for the same capacity. Combine that demand with the smaller size of our pipes, and you can see why the U.S. is almost dead last in OpenSignal’s global LTE speed rankings.

The article continues on to say  “But there’s a lot of new network construction going on the U.S. this year”, and that this will alleviate the problem.

We’d like to point out that beyond waiting for new network construction, mobile operators can improve the user experience, and accelerate the delivery of mobile data by deploying mobile optimization platforms. To find out more check out these two videos here: Accelerating Web Page Downloads over Mobile and Making 2G, 3G and LTE Networks even Faster.

Source: GigaOm

Anna Yong