There are many reports that come out at different parts of the year that show us how good each of the four national carrier networks are in the US. OpenSignal, unlike RootMetrics and Nielsen, use data from customers like you to form this data. Each time you use the OpenSignal app to conduct a speed test, it's recorded and will be used in these reports. Where as RootMetrics and Nielsen have a group of people driving around the country conducting speed tests on the same phone in each city, airport, and sports venue. OpenSignal released their report today, and the results might be a bit surprising.
In a number of areas, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon were fighting it out for the top spot, while Sprint was far behind. In the network coverage comparison test, Verizon won with around 86.73% of the time being on LTE, with AT&T in second place at 82.63%, T-Mobile third at 81.23% and Sprint coming in last at 70.05%. For the network speed, they tested both 3G and 4G LTE. In the 3G test, T-Mobile ran away with it, mostly due to their HSPA+ 42mbps network, which is more advanced than the other backhaul networks in the US. For LTE, T-Mobile won with 12.26Mbps, Verizon coming in right behind them at 11.98Mbps, followed by AT&T and Sprint.
It's a great report to read, which you can find linked down below. OpenSignal says that T-Mobile is beginning to defy the coverage critics. As most of us know, T-Mobile's coverage isn't the best. But with them buying up 700MHz spectrum recently, it's definitely gotten better for them. The company is actually running around the country doing its #BallBusterChallenge where Verizon customers can come and do a speed test with T-Mobile and if Verizon wins they get $100 in cash, but if T-Mobile wins, they have to hold up a shameful sign for a picture. It's a great way to show potential switchers that T-Mobile's network is changing for the better, but it also shows T-Mobile places that they need to improve.
OpenSignal also states that the US average download speeds are still quite slow for 4G LTE. Coming in at an average of about 9.9Mbps. The global average is 13.5Mbps right now. When many other countries are rolling out LTE Advanced and seeing speed tests of around 300Mbps or even higher, it's time for the US networks to play some catch up. After all the US was one of the first to roll out LTE in 2010 with MetroPCS and Verizon.