Open Signal Report Finds Whose Mobile Networks Are Biggest, Fastest

Open Signal Report Finds Whose Mobile Networks Are Biggest, Fastest
Analysis of Network Availability
The Winner in LTE Download Speed
The Winner in 3G Download Speed
The Winner in Overall Speed
Who Has the Most Responsive 4G LTE Network?
Who Has the Most Responsive 3G Network?
The U.S. Trails Japan, South Korea in Connections
U.S. Speeds Are Behind the Curve
A Look at Sprint’s Troubles
A Look at AT&T’s Troubles
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Open Signal Report Finds Whose Mobile Networks Are Biggest, Fastest

Open Signal's "State of Mobile Networks" report shows which U.S. mobile carriers deliver the fastest service and cover the widest areas of the country.

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Analysis of Network Availability

Open Signal examined the availability of 4G LTE networks around the United States and found Verizon is tops, covering 88.2 percent of its customers with LTE networks. T-Mobile is next with 86.6 percent coverage, followed by AT&T and Sprint at 82.2 percent and 76.8 percent, respectively.

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The Winner in LTE Download Speed_2

Verizon offers the fastest LTE network in the United States, with average speeds of 16.9Mbps, followed closely by T-Mobile at 16.7Mbps. AT&T and Sprint were laggards with speeds that bottomed out at 9Mbps.

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The Winner in 3G Download Speed_3

On 3G networks, there’s no beating T-Mobile. The company’s average download speeds over 3G averaged 4Mbps in 2016, easily topping AT&T’s 3Mbps speeds. Verizon was last at 850Kbps speeds.

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The Winner in Overall Speed

In overall download speed, a metric that shows the average experience for users who switch from 3G to 4G and back, T-Mobile was tops at 14.7Mbps. Verizon’s overall speed average was 14.6Mbps last year. Sprint once again was in last place at 7.1Mbps.

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Who Has the Most Responsive 4G LTE Network?

Open Signal examined latency, or a how quickly a network will respond to requests for data. The winner was Verizon, at 59.8 milliseconds, followed by Sprint, at 61.3 milliseconds. AT&T was last, at 65.6 milliseconds.

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Who Has the Most Responsive 3G Network?

On the 3G side, T-Mobile took the top spot, with 115.8-millisecond latency. AT&T was in second place, at 129.5 milliseconds. Verizon was last, with a 173.3-millisecond response time.

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The U.S. Trails Japan, South Korea in Connections

Overall, 81.3 percent of the U.S. customer base is covered by a 4G LTE network. While that’s a comparatively high number, the U.S. doesn't lead in this category. Japan and South Korea are ahead of the worldwide pack, with 4G coverage that exceeds 85 percent availability.

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U.S. Speeds Are Behind the Curve

U.S. 4G LTE speeds also lag speeds of other carriers worldwide. The fastest available LTE speed in the United States is 16.9Mbps; however, the global average LTE speed is 17.4Mbps. Some countries across Europe and Asia have consistent LTE speeds that exceed 25Mbps—and, in some cases, 40Mbps.

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A Look at Sprint’s Troubles

So, just how poorly did Sprint perform in the study? The network has the worst 4G LTE coverage of any big carrier in the United States and offers the slowest speeds over that network, at 9Mbps. Sprint’s 4G network latency ranked a distant third. And, Sprint’s network performs exceedingly well only in Cincinnati and Denver markets, according to Open Signal.

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A Look at AT&T’s Troubles

AT&T, the biggest carrier in the United States, now ranks third in 4G network availability and its LTE speeds top out at 13.9Mbps, well behind its chief competitors. AT&T’s 4G LTE latency measure of 65.6 milliseconds is painfully slow. However, AT&T’s network performs well in several U.S. metro areas, according to Open Signal.

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