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State of Mobile Networks: USA

23 January, 2018, 02:04 | Author: Lydia Fleming
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Amazingly, T-Mobile won in all but one of them. Rootmetrics, which relies on independent drive-testing to measure networks, instead of crowdsourced data, has long had Verizon in first place, with T-Mobile languishing at the back of the pack. The two biggest operators in the U.S., Verizon and AT&T, reintroduced unlimited data options in February, giving into the competitive pressure of T-Mobile and Sprint's highly successful unlimited offerings.

Credit: Roman Tiraspolsky/ShutterstockT-Mobile "is now the operator to beat", OpenSignal says in its latest report on the state of USA mobile Networks. The NAD, back in September, sided with Verizon and told T-Mobile that it couldn't say that it has the fastest 4G LTE pipeline.

When OpenSignal published monitoring results last August, both AT&T and Verizon showed steadily declining 4G network speed that was attributed to the reintroduction of unlimited data plans. AT&T's speeds offered to consumers have remained even more static, virtually unchanged at just a 0.17 Mbps boost over the past twelve months. 33 major cities were part of the operation and 237,213 mobile devices, in total, participated in sharing data with OpenSignal. The carrier's download speeds jumped 33 percent over the past year. That places AT&T behind its own performance this time a year ago, making it the only company to have lost 4G performance compared to the OpenSignal February 2017 report.


The report added that LTE availability increased on the networks of all four top carriers and that 2018 could prove to be even more unpredictable than 2017 - particularly if Verizon takes steps to bolster its capacity on the road to 5G networks. The carrier topped OpenSignal's charts in four of five categories: 3G, 4G, overall speed, 4G availability, and 3G latency. The router will be available free of charge for existing AT&T customers.

Per the report: "T-Mobile has clearly taken advantage of Verizon's 4G speed challenges". AT&T was first in 4G Latency, beating out T-Mobile by 1.45 milliseconds. OpenSignal had different results between April 1 to June 30, 2017 and crowned T-Mobile as the download speed king. OpenSignal measures the proportion of time users have an LTE connection available to them, and in this latest report, both T-Mobile and Verizon passed the 90 percent market - something no carrier could claim a year ago. Sprint and Verizon fell far behind with both at almost 70ms. That award was won by AT&T, which posted an average LTE latency of 58.29ms. In 2018, we'll find out if Verizon's unlimited struggles amount to just a minor pit stop in the 4G race or whether Verizon has been lapped by T-Mobile. 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. The first 5G networks may still be years away, but the foundations of those 5G services will be built on the 4G infrastructure we use today.

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