1Open 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.
2Analysis 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.
3The 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.
4The 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.
5The 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.
6Who 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.
7Who 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.
8The 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.
9U.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.
10A 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.
11A 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.