Opensignal’s latest study published today looks at 4G and 5G cellular performance compared to public wifi across the US. The big takeaway: in a change from past years, users will have a much faster experience if they’re able to use 5G (even Sub 6Ghz/mid-band) instead of a public wifi network.

Public wifi has become extremely common across the US in retail stores, other businesses, schools, government buildings, and more. Opensignal’s new report tackles the notion that it’s better hop on public wifi when it’s available by showing off how much faster 5G (and mmWave 5G) is than the former.

There is a transformation in how 5G and Wifi speeds compare from the situation when we last looked at how U.S. Wifi and cellular speeds match up a year ago. Then as now, mmWave 5G was way faster than Wifi. Now for the first time, our users enjoy average download speeds with 5G that are indisputably faster than all types of Wifi network — Public Wifi or Other Wifi.

For average download speeds, sub 6Ghz 5G now comes in at 112.9 Mbps. That’s 4.8 times faster than public Wifi at 23.3 Mbps.

And if you have access to mmWave 5G, Opensignal found it to deliver average download speeds of 571.6 Mbps, a massive 24.6 times faster than public wifi.

5G vs public wifi Opensignal 1

Contributing to slower speeds for public wifi were greater congestion and interference, older underlying foundations for broadband, and older wifi access points with little incentive to upgrade equipment.

Opensignal highlights that 5G offers a better gaming experience, particularly for real-time multiplayer action:

5G vs public wifi gaming

And for upload speeds, 5G mmWave outpaces public wifi, but standard 5G averages are close but a few Mbps shy.

5G vs public wifi Opensignal 2

Opensignal is also optimistic about the overall 5G experience continuing to improve in the coming months as all three major US carriers keep rolling out mid-band 5G spectrum coverage. And with the delta only looking to increase in 5G’s favor, public wifi (at least broadband-based) could become a thing of the past in the years ahead.

Check out the full report on Opensignal’s website.

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.