T-Mobile currently offers the fastest download and upload speeds across the United States, according to the latest State of the Mobile Networks report released by OpenSignal. The research firm observed that while all four national carriers saw gains in LTE speeds, Verizon and T-Mobile already offered download speeds higher than 20Mbps. The average mobile data rates on T-Mobile's network increased by more than 2Mbps to 21.6Mbps, while Verizon is now offering average speeds of 20.6Mbps, which is almost 3Mbps higher than the speeds recorded on its network six months ago. Furthermore, Sprint may soon overtake AT&T as the third fastest carrier in the United States, after the gap between the download speeds of the two network operators went down to only 600Kbps. The increase in network speeds across all carriers is attributed to the extensive rollout of advanced antenna and data modulation technologies, as well as the decision to repurpose the spectrum assigned to older cellular technologies for use on LTE networks.
In terms of 3G downlink transfer rates, T-Mobile still leads the pack with average speeds of 3.6Mbps and is followed closely by AT&T, whereas the Bellevue, Washington-based network operator also led the service providers in terms of upload speeds. On the other hand, Sprint has the slowest upload speeds among the four carriers, which is attributed to the network operator's use of the TD-LTE technology. This technology allows the company to improve download rates at the expense of slower upload speeds.
Even though AT&T did not win any awards in terms of data speeds, the service provider offers the lowest latency in the country, with its network being rated as the most responsive out of the four tested ones. Meanwhile, Verizon and T-Mobile tied for the LTE availability award, with OpenSignal noting that their subscribers can connect to the LTE networks 93.7-percent of the time. The research firm expects that all telecom giants will continue expanding the reach of their 4G networks as they plan to shut down their 2G and 3G offerings within the next few months in preparation for large-scale 5G deployments set to begin next year.