Four Networks Collage

AH Primetime: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile…Which has the Best Coverage and Service

April 3, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

This is an argument that never seems to stop and never seems to get answered – possibly because there is no one answer to the question. Each carrier can claim a victory in one category or another, but never in all of them…so when we ask the question, ‘which carrier has the fastest, high-speed LTE connection,’ it depends exactly what you are looking for. From our source we have a listing from OpenSignal, a company that tracks cell phone towers from all around the world – see below – that will give us some of our answers.

Let us look at carriers, from largest to smallest, and see how they stack up to each other.  We will start with Verizon, the largest of the group – they have the largest LTE coverage and 83.2-percent of the time, their users have access to the speeds of their LTE coverage.  But that is where the other side of the sword appears – while a Verizon customer may have access to their LTE network more than any of the other networks, their download speeds are third in line, only beating out Sprint, with a 7.8 Mbps. So if your main concern is getting that LTE connection, but not the fastest download speeds, then Verizon is the best carrier.

Next, we will look at AT&T, the second largest carrier in the U.S.  AT&T is second in both areas – their users have a 70.6-percent chance of getting LTE coverage, second place to Verizon, but they also have the second best LTE download rate at 9.1 Mbps, so if you are more concerned about download speed and less about coverage, then AT&T may be your choice in a carrier.  The second best connection and the second best speed – it may be a good compromise.

The third largest carrier, Sprint, is the worst of them all according to this study – they are last in LTE connectivity at only 56.5-percent and their LTE speed is slowest at only 4.3 Mbps.  Sprint is definitely hurting in all phases and they are suffering from a complicated updating of their wireless network – a slow and expensive project that is taking longer than expected.  Their new owners SoftBank, from Japan, are a very aggressive company so hopefully Sprint will soon turn things around.

Now let us look at the ‘Uncarrier,’ T-Mobile, the smallest of the wireless carriers.  Their customers have a 61.1-percent likelihood of getting a LTE connection, not much better than last place Sprint with 56.5-percent.  However, when it comes to LTE download speeds, they are number one at 11.5 Mbps, so if the fastest speed when you can connect is most important to you, then T-Mobile is your carrier.

Connectivity and speed are greatly affected by where you live – if you live where T-Mobile’s signal is strong, then they may be the carrier for you. But we call this service ‘mobile’ for a reason, we move around with our smartphone and if connectivity is most important to you then Verizon may be the best choice.  Cost is also a factor, as plans vary greatly among the carriers – in today’s market a customer has to look at cost, device they want, connectivity and speed and then decide what is most important to them.

Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you think about the carriers and which one you think is the best – as always, we would love to hear what you have to say.

Which Carrier is Better