T-Mobile wins five of six OpenSignal network awards, AT&T takes latency crown

What makes a wireless service provider as beloved by customers as all those market research firms are deeming T-Mobile nowadays? Discounted phones, BOGO deals, frequent perks and hilariously weird marketing may have each played their small part in Magenta’s continued recent progress, but at the end of the day, it’s all about speed and reliability.

Luckily for John Legere’s industry-disrupting operation, that’s where T-Mo truly excels, handily beating Big Red, at least according to OpenSignal’s latest “State of Mobile Networks: USA” report.

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.

Based on almost 6 billion (with a “b”) measurements made on 237,000+ devices between October and December 2017, T-Mobile has both the fastest and most reliable wireless network in the US. And the gap to second place is not as small as you’d expect, at least as far as speeds are concerned.

Specifically, T-Mo averaged 19.42 Mbps velocity in 4G downloads and 3.46 Mbps where only a 3G connection was available, compared to 17.77 and 0.87 Mbps for Verizon. Big Red was actually dead last among America’s “big four” carriers in the 3G download battle, occupying the second place for overall speed, as AT&T and Sprint only averaged 13.27 and 12.02 Mbps 4G scores.

In 4G availability, Verizon was much closer to glory, standing at 92.72 percent vs. T-Mobile’s 93.14 points. Both those numbers are impressive, and AT&T and Sprint’s 87.03 and 85.66 percent don’t seem too bad either, although this particular OpenSignal metric measures the “proportion of time users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network” rather than literal geographic or population coverage.

While Verizon wasn’t capable of scoring a single win in any of the six January 2018 wars, AT&T’s consolation prize came as it topped the 4G latency charts. 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.

It’s important to highlight Sprint’s big gains across the board, with the “Now Network” all of a sudden looking like a strong candidate for speed and availability podiums going forward, while Verizon and AT&T deserve a bit of praise as well for recovering what they lost in the immediate wake of their unlimited plan rollouts.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).