Mobile wins OpenSignal mobile speed tests, yet again

Gladys Abbott
January 23, 2018

OpenSignal's latest "State of the Mobile Networks" report indicates that there were some struggles for some companies, but that T-Mobile is still taking advantage of all those issues and improving its own network at breakneck speeds.

Based on nearly 6 billion (with a "b") measurements made on 237,000+ devices between October and December 2017, T-Mobile has both the fastest and most reliable wireless network in the US.

These tests showed that T-Mobile finishing with the fastest average 4G LTE download speed of 19.42Mbps. Verizon's network speeds have returned to "pre-unlimited speed levels", according to OpenSignal, rising to an average of 17.8 Mbps.

Sprint did see improvements across the board in both overall speeds and availability, which is good news for the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Sprint's average download speed over a 4G connection rose to 12Mbps and its LTE availability increased by over 9 percentage points across the country. The magenta Un-carrier won awards in nearly every single category, including "Download Speed: 4G", "Download Speed: 3G", and "Availability: 4G".

John Legere 2017 stock
T-Mobile was first among major US carriers to refocus on unlimited data. Chris Welch

Once again, T-Mobile stands out as the best USA carrier across all the tests but one: 4G latency.

In 3G speed, T-Mobile again won our award with an average HSPA download of 3.5 Mbps, beating AT&T's average of 2.7 Mbps. T-Mobile not only increased speeds throughout the year, they expanded their LTE footprint too. You can check the whole thing out right here. The most recent figures came from 237,213 users of the app from October 1st through December 31st. That places AT&T behind its own performance this time previous year, making it the only company to have lost 4G performance compared to the OpenSignal February 2017 report. And that should mean that the latest Open Signal figures have no bias toward T-Mobile.

Although anecdotally T-Mobile hasn't been known to have comparable availability to Verizon, for whatever reason it has beaten Big Red in OpenSignal's tests. T-Mobile took no such hit since they'd had "unlimited data" for a while before Verizon and AT&T jumped back onboard.

Per the report, both AT&T and Verizon saw a dramatic shortage in 4G connectivity after offering unlimited plans. In a blog post published earlier in January, OpenSignal tracked the 4G speeds of all four major operators month by month up to November 2017. T-Mobile 4G speeds have been shooting upwards steadily for the a year ago, and in the 4th quarter it hit a new 4G download high of 19.4 Mbps, establishing it as the clear leader in 4G speed for the second report in a row. The router will be available free of charge for existing AT&T customers. Rootmetrics, which relies on independent drive-testing to measure networks, instead of crowdsourced data, has long had Verizon in first place, with T-Mobile languishing at the back of the pack. Sprint and Verizon fell far behind with both at almost 70ms.

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