This Mobile Carrier Has the Fastest Network, According to New Study

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T-Mobile's download speed has steadily climbed over the past year, according to OpenSignal's testing. (It's the second time T-Mobile's come out on top in OpenSignal's 4G speed test.) The only award it didn't win was 4G latency - AT&T took the crown with an average LTE network ping time of 58.3 milliseconds.

It was only a year ago that T-Mobile and Verizon shared the download speed trophy, with the country's largest cellular company also ranked first in 4G availability, and now somehow, the number three in subscribers manages to easily win both gold medals. And the gap to second place is not as small as you'd expect, at least as far as speeds are concerned. As for the 4G speeds, T-Mobile posted an average speed of 19.42Mbps on an LTE connection, with Verizon LTE connections averaging 17.77Mbps (Sprint: 12.02Mbps; AT&T: 13.27Mbps). The top image for 4G availability is a percentage of how "often users can access a 4G network", and shows T-Mobile users doing so 93.14% of the time, with Verizon right behind at 92.72% of the time (Sprint: 85.66%; AT&T: 87.03%).

Once again, T-Mobile stands out as the best U.S. carrier across all the tests but one: 4G latency.


In 3G speed, T-Mobile again won our award with an average HSPA download of 3.5 Mbps, beating AT&T's average of 2.7 Mbps. That basically means Ma Bell's network is the most responsive of the four, although T-Mobile wasn't far behind in that classification either.

According to the previous report, AT&T was first in 4G latency, when they first started offering unlimited data plans. Both Sprint and Verizon's networks were found to be much slower to respond, taking over 69ms to do so on average. And that should mean that the latest Open Signal figures have no bias toward T-Mobile. T-Mobile beat the other carriers on the 3G latency test, but not 4G. OpenSignal's numbers show big improvements on all major USA carriers, including a return to pre-unlimited speeds for Verizon to end the year and a 33% jump in speeds over the year from Sprint. Both T-Mobile and Verizon's scored well over 90 percent in the same segment. Meanwhile, Sprint began showing renewed signs of life as we recorded big gains in both its LTE availability and LTE speed over the a year ago. OpenSignal's app measures latency, or the time it takes for a phone to request data from the network and get a response. T-Mobile's HSPA+ network won our 3G latency award by a big margin, landing it a grand total of five of our six awards - one short of the clean sweep it garnered in our last report. Sprint's tremendous improvements over the last year-especially when it comes to 4G speed and availability-aren't to be ignored, though.

Credit: OpenSignalT-Mobile claimed first in the category that most wireless users pay attention to - the speed of its 4G network. Big Red has a history of making big network moves when under pressure. The foundations of those 5G services will be built on the 4G infrastructure we use today. The more power the operators build into their LTE systems, the better prepared they'll be to offer the next generation of mobile services.

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