Using Q1 2018 Speedtest® data, this is report on mobile roaming speeds for U.S. consumers in 15 popular destinations, including which carriers are fastest where.
Where roaming speeds will (and will not) let you down
Roaming download speeds for U.S. customers were 55.2% faster in Canada than those same customers would see at home.
U.S. customers in Canada saw a mean download speed of 42.03 Mbps during Q1 2018. That’s not quite as fast as the 45.28 Mbps Canadians receive on their home mobile networks, but it beats the 27.08 Mbps average in the U.S.
Second place South Korea showed roaming speeds for U.S. travelers about half as fast as those in Canada. Mexico was third fastest. The middle tier of the roaming speed ranking is taken up mostly by western European countries (with Japan and Australia to break up the pack).
At the bottom of the spectrum, Bahamian roaming speeds are painfully slow. They aren’t much better in India or the Dominican Republic.
A lot of factors go into the roaming speeds you’ll experience abroad, including how carriers prioritize out of country traffic, something that’s decided between each individual carrier in each individual country.
How does your carrier stack up?
Your roaming experience on your next trip is going to depend a lot on which carrier you have, so we broke our roaming speed analysis of Speedtest results on modern devices down to the carrier level.[bs-quote quote=”Verizon Wireless was the fastest carrier for U.S. customers roaming in eight of the 15 countries Ookla analyzed” style=”default” align=”left”][/bs-quote]
It’s important to remember that roaming comes at a cost to carriers, which means that if your carrier includes free or low-cost roaming on almost all types of plans, the trade-off might be that you get slower speeds than you would with another carrier.
So if speed is your primary criterion, there are two standouts on this list. Verizon wins eight of the 15 countries we analyzed and AT&T wins six. T-Mobile and Sprint each win one country. Ookla excluded Sprint from the running in eight countries because of a low number of test results.