Verizon has long trumpeted its network performance to wireless customers, but T-Mobile could be giving Big Red a run for its money. A new study by wireless testing company OpenSignal found that T-Mobile has made great strides in improving its network, helping the Uncarrier become the fastest 4G LTE provider in the U.S.
OpenSignal bases its study on data that it collects "from regular consumer smartphones and recorded under conditions of normal usage." The firm takes its measurements from millions of consumers who have downloaded its app and used it between between Oct. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015.
OpenSignal looked at the following factors: coverage, 4G/3G latency and download speed. T-Mobile won the most categories of the four tested carriers — it had the top 3G and 4G download speeds, as well as the best 3G latency. Verizon had the best coverage and tied with T-Mobile for 4G download speeds, while Sprint won for 4G latency. AT&T won nothing, but came in second for 3G speeds and coverage.
According to the report, T-Mobile had the fastest 4G network in Boston, Dallas, New York and Philadelphia, while Verizon took Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. These two carriers tied for first place in Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington. And while T-Mobile still loses to Verizon and AT&T in coverage, it is closing the gap, taking third place with subscribers getting LTE coverage 81.23 percent of the time. Verizon and AT&T have 82.63 percent and 86.73 percent respectively.
OpenSignal's report squares with 4G speed testing we conducted last year in six cities. In our tests, Verizon had the fastest average download speed across six cities at 24 Mbps, but T-Mobile was right behind it with a 22.7 Mbps average.
In OpenSignal's testing, both Verizon and T-Mobile are getting 4G speeds of 12 Mbps on average, against the national 4G average speed of 9.9 Mbps. OpenSignal also looked at America's performance against other nations. Although I'm always grateful for fast, reliable LTE whenever I return to the U.S. from a trip abroad, it appears the nation is losing to other countries in speed.
OpenSignal said the global download average is 13.5 Mbps, ahead of the 9.9 Mbps average in America.