According to the latest Fastest Mobile Networks report published by PCMag, Verizon operates the fastest LTE data network in the United States. The publication tested the performance of the carriers' networks in 30 different cities across the United States using custom software from Ookla and Samsung Galaxy S9 units. It did not only consider the average download and upload speeds in scoring performance but also evaluated the availability of all LTE networks and their latencies. Based on the scoring system used by PCMag, Verizon garnered a score of 99, beintg followed by T-Mobile with a score of 93. At the third place in the publication's latest test is AT&T with a rating of 88, whereas Sprint scored 75, having finished last. In addition, Verizon was also ranked by PCMag as the fastest network in five out of six regions in the United States, although T-Mobile got the award for the fastest LTE data network in the Southeast region, i.e. Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
The publication noted that there have been considerable improvements made to the LTE networks of all four major US carriers in the last twelve months, including increased peak download speeds, at least 10Mbps improvement in average transfer rates, and up to a 10ms reduction in network latency. Meanwhile, PCMag attributed the high score obtained by Verizon's LTE network to two key factors – its massive spectrum holdings and its continued deployment of the latest network technologies. However, the publication also noted that T-Mobile is already catching up to Verizon in the number of spectrum holdings, and more locations across the United States, especially in rural areas, are now better served by T-Mobile's network due to its efforts with band 71.
Even though AT&T obtained a faster average download speed rating than T-Mobile, the former's average upload speed is significantly slower than the latter's. In addition, the average latency on AT&T's network is significantly higher compared to both Verizon and T-Mobile, which also negatively impacted its rating. The score obtained by Sprint is also negatively affected by its slow upload speeds and high latency.