Seattle: Verizon Sneaks Past T-Mobile
T-Mobile has defended its home turf of Seattle very well in our previous network tests. And while the Uncarrier turned in another strong performance, Verizon pipped it in the end by matching its LTE download speeds and turning in faster upload times.
Metro by T-Mobile, using T-Mobile's network, actually had the fastest average download speed for Seattle at 63.7 Mbps, though T-Mobile's 62.2 Mbps average was right behind it. But Verizon was, too, with a 62.1 Mbps average. And Verizon's 21 Mbps upload speed was ahead of T-Mobile's 19.1 Mbps average.
It was on the app download test where Verizon edged ahead, by downloading Discord in an average of 14 seconds at six test sites around the city. T-Mobile and Metro turned in identical times of 1 minute and 5 seconds, with their average thrown off by their inability to complete the download in 5 minutes inside downtown Seattle's Westlake Center. (Every other carrier needed less than 1 minute to download the 40MB app at that test site.) That's bad luck for T-Mobile and Metro, but it doesn't change the fact that Verizon delivered a more consistent performance throughout our testing.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Average Download Speeds, Seattle||Average Upload Speeds, Seattle||Average App Download Time (Min:Sec)|
|Metro||63.7 Mbps||14.8 Mbps||1:05|
|T-Mobile||62.2 Mbps||19.1 Mbps||1:05|
|Verizon||62.1 Mbps||21 Mbps||0:14|
|Straight Talk||48.3 Mbps||19.1 Mbps||0:22|
|Sprint||46.7 Mbps||7.5 Mbps||0:20|
|AT&T||41.1 Mbps||8.1 Mbps||0:44|
|Boost||35.8 Mbps||7.6 Mbps||0:34|
|Cricket||6.1 Mbps||5.6 Mbps||1:27|
If you've ever wondered which carrier performs best in a crowd, one of our Seattle test sites provides some insight. We tested inside Safeco Field during a Seattle Mariner game with 45,000-plus fans in attendance, many of whom were probably checking their phones on the same networks we were testing. Verizon had the best download speeds by some measure in this environment, with a 45.5 Mbps result. Sprint had the next fastest result at 26.6 Mbps. AT&T really struggled with a 4.5 Mbps download speed, and we had trouble even getting data downloaded off Cricket's network (a 0.02 Mbps download speed and an inability to download Discord after 5 excruciating minutes).
Cricket's the carrier to avoid in Seattle. It had the slowest time on our app download test, with a 1 minute and 27 second average. Its average download and upload speeds also were the worst of the wireless providers we tested, in large part because of the cap Cricket imposes on its data speeds.
Our results reflect an average of five Speedtest.net tests conducted at six sites around Seattle. At each test site, we also downloaded the 40MB Discord app from the Google Play store onto Galaxy S9 phones tied to each carrier.
Verizon's narrow margin of victory in Seattle was wider nationally. Big Red captured our overall ranking for the fastest wireless network, topping AT&T and T-Mobile. Check out our full national results.
So speed tests are interesting, but I'm really more interested in consistent good performance in the most places, not rockin' fast performance in spots. Based on my experience, that's how these two measure up.
Despite that, I'm eyeing the day I can switch to T-Mobile. Sadly some places I currently need coverage (remote rural) T-Mobile simply has no signal whatsoever.