T-Mobile and Verizon lead the charge when it comes to 4G LTE speed and availability, according to the latest findings from OpenSignal. If one was to be crowned the overall winner then it seems it would be T-Mobile, as per OpenSignal. Although it would be a marginal win for the un-carrier with the difference between the two now more negligible, compared to the previous report from OpenSignal. Especially if AT&T and Sprint are also added to the equation.
The report focuses on fairly large areas of the US (West, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest) and so while individual results may vary greatly, Opensignal found that when it came to 4G LTE speed, T-Mobile is continuing to cement its position in first place. For example, in the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest, T-Mobile was the outright winner in terms of speed. In the West and Midwest, however, things are less clear with OpenSignal noting the two carriers statistically tied. Of course, when taking as a whole, it does mean T-Mobile is performing as good, if not better, than Verizon throughout the US. What is of particular interest in this respect is that one of the reasons Verizon was thought to have fallen behind previously was the strain placed on its network through the launch of unlimited data plans. OpenSignal notes that is no longer the case with Verizon now operating at pre-unlimited levels. Therefore, the suggestion is the difference is now solely representative of the improvements T-Mobile has made. When it comes to 4G LTE availability, the two carriers statistically tied in three of the pre-set areas: West, Northeast, Southeast and West. In contrast to the speed results, however, the remaining two areas (Midwest and Southeast) on availability see Verizon in first place. So once again, while the general impression is this is a two-horse race if a winner has to be selected overall, it would be Verizon. This is in contrast to the previous report which showed T-Mobile taking the availability win, which in turn, was in contrast to the previous year reports that consistently showed Verizon having the best availability across the board.
While these latest findings do clearly highlight how T-Mobile and Verizon seem to be leading the market now, OpenSignal did take a moment to explain that it is actually Sprint customers who have seen the "greatest improvement" in 4G LTE availability. With the results suggesting Sprint's availability had climbed 10-percentage points over the past year. As a result, Sprint has caught up with AT&T in areas such as the Midwest and Northeast, though it still lags fairly behind AT&T in the three remaining areas. With both AT&T and Sprint significantly trailing T-Mobile and Verizon in all areas. On a last note, it is worth mentioning that these results are based on the collection of crowdsourced data. Which in itself has both benefits (real-world usage) and disadvantages (carrier results not directly comparable).