Published: Tue, January 23, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

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

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

Verizon and AT&T are neck and neck when it comes to availability, but the only area where T-Mobile falls short of the competition is 4G latency, where OpenSignal has given AT&T a slight edge. The second report for 2017 had T-Mobile on top after winning five different categories, failing to finish first on just one.

In this case, OpenSignal's report includes a sample period between October 1, 2017 and December 30, 2017. The OpenSignal study, however, found that the company took over the top spot in 4G latency from T-Mobile after recording LTE network ping times of just 58.3 milliseconds. 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). T-Mobile either won outright or tied for our 4G speed award in 24 of the 33 markets in our analysis, while Verizon won or tied for the award in 23 markets.

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The only test that T-Mobile doesn't win is Latency 4G. AT&T is the only of the four major carriers, other than T-Mobile, to win an award in this year's report. The lone exception was 4G latency, which measures a data signal's responsiveness, where AT&T grabbed the honors.

T-Mobile has been crowned the top wireless network in the US, according to OpenSignal's "2018 State of Mobile Networks" report.

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"Billions of real customer tests prove we've built America's best network", T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. It was the first major USA operator to launch LTE when the technology was only in its infancy, and when Verizon's 4G speeds began suffering under capacity strains in 2013, it responded with a major upgrade it called XLTE, which poured enormous amounts of capacity back into its networks. T-Mobile may have emerged as the dominant operator in our metrics, but it would be a mistake to dismiss Verizon.

Just as important as speed is the availability of a 4G connection. All other categories were dominated by T-Mobile. The carrier's download speeds jumped 33 percent over the past year. Sprint is still firmly the fourth place carrier, but if it keeps up at this pace, it could soon surpass AT&T in several important categories. That's less than a half a percentage point separating them. Its availability score rose almost 9 percentage points over the last twelve months, compared to 6 percentage points for T-Mobile and 5 percentage points for both Verizon and AT&T. The agency felt that Big Red subscribers might not be used to having unlimited data, and many could have had their data speed throttled for going over Verizon's 22GB monthly data cap for unlimited subscribers. Our AT&T testers were able to find an LTE signal 87% of the time, while our Sprint users tapped into an LTE signal 85.7% of the time. If T-Mobile's service is so good, why don't they have more customers than their competitors? For more information about the tests, data, or methodologies, you can check out the report in full at OpenSignal.

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