Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Mobile rakes in the awards in OpenSignal's 'State of Mobile Networks' report

Testing Firm: T-Mobile Is the 'Operator to Beat' T-Mobile misses a clean sweep of the latest Open Road report by milliseconds
Lori Graves | 23 January, 2018, 02:05

But T-Mobile has clearly taken advantage of Verizon's recent misfortunes, boosting its lead over all other operators in our LTE download metric. In other words, T-Mobile is killing it in just about every facet of its business. Market variation is still strong, with T-Mobile near the top in places like Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, but nearly entirely beaten in locations like San Francisco and LA.

This morning, OpenSignal published its annual report on the progress of the four largest US mobile network carriers - AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. T-Mobile posted an average LTE download speed of 19.42Mbps.

Verizon and AT&T have suffered in providing optimal 4G LTE speeds after reintroducing unlimited plans for subscribers.

AT&T saw a more modest recovery in download speeds and remained below its previous levels. During this period, OpenSignal looked at 5.9 billion tests taken on 237,213 mobile devices across the U.S. This reduces the traffic on the network and helps boost speeds for other customers who rely exclusively on their 4G connection to make calls and use data for applications.

There's a very general trend across all four carriers here though- access to 4G data has grown substantially over the past year. AT&T's 4G LTE speeds also rebounded, hitting 13.3Mbps for the quarter. The decline in speeds are ultimately on their way back up after the networks begin to recover, but that still could not put up a fight against T-Mobile speeds.

While the top three carriers fight over the fastest speeds and greatest coverage, Sprint is jsut trying to stay afloat. Those wins include overall download speed on 4G, download speed on 3G, download speed overall, 3G latency, and 4G availability.

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AT&T placed third in our 4G availability rankings, but for the first time it faced a strong challenge from perennially last-placed Sprint. Sprint was by far the most improved operator in LTE reach in 2017.

And in last place is Sprint, which didn't win any awards. Its availability score rose almost 9 percentage points over the last twelve months, compared to 6 percentage points for T-Mobile and 5 percentage points for both Verizon and AT&T.

The one notable category missing by their testing is coverage.

OpenSignal previously found Verizon and AT&T's 4G speeds started falling since last February after the two largest mobile service providers in the country revived their wireless plans to address T-Mobile's decision to do the same.

2018 could prove to be an even more unpredictable year than its predecessor for the USA mobile industry.

It's worth noting that this time a year ago, T-Mobile and Verizon were evenly split, with each taking two awards a piece and tying in two other categories. Big Red has a history of making big network moves when under pressure. If T-Mobile's service is so good, why don't they have more customers than their competitors? The report from Open Signal comes just days after T-Mobile and its MetroPCS pre-paid unit were both given the highest customer care score ever awarded by J.D. Power for the industry.

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