T-Mobile's 5G coverage is live, compare with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint 4G speeds by band

On the eve of flipping the 5G switch over at T-Mobile's "nationwide" network, the crowdsourcing testers from OpenSignal came out with a breakdown of what the good ol' 4G can achieve in terms of download speeds... by carrier band.

A lot, it turns out. While 5G can reach amazing speeds, they are reserved only for the mmWave bands like Verizon's or AT&T's that have low building penetration and require you to, ahem, hold the phone right.

The mids of Sprint and lows of T-Mobile cast a wider net, but are slower, as Sascha Segan found out, that is why T-Mobile plans to use this layered cake of building out its 5G coverage to catch'em all.

Even in this nascent state of 5G, it is becoming increasingly clear how important carrier bands and the FCC's band auctions are. There is one slated for this month, and a critical mid-band auction for 2020. 

In the meantime, here's an OpenSignal chart that depicts the huge differences between download speeds when using individual bands in Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint's portfolios.

As you can see, the high bands offer the best download speeds, and AT&T is rather privileged in that respect, as its 2.3GHz Band 30 hits up to 50Mbps speeds, while Sprint's 2.5GHz Band 41 spectrum is not far behind. 

If the merger of Sprint with T-Mobile goes through, Big Magenta will have quite the wide spectrum coverage to play with in the 5G era, forcing Verizon and AT&T to rethink their band auction participation this month and in 2020.



1. applesnapple93

Posts: 341; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

4G is fast enough honestly... for a 5-6 inch mobile ARM device. Coverage is what matters most at this point

2. azuleyez

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 07, 2012

I couldn't agree with you more. Although, I'm struggling to use 4G throughout most weekdays in a medium-sized suburban town due to congestion. I've tried Verizon (worst experience), followed by AT&T (not far behind), and T-Mobile is a bit better here, but traveling is an issue. Grrrr!!!!

3. jjface

Posts: 270; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Coverage and deprioritization

4. CellieCell

Posts: 155; Member since: Apr 14, 2010

Not impressed by T-Mobile 5g. Had high hopes, unfortunately is about the same as 4g LTE. And latency is 2x slower. Was hoping for at least 2x faster speeds minimal.

5. Mr_RoHo

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 12, 2020

In my experience LTE speeds on AT&T and Verizon both are quite different than the Open Signal results. I use Speedtest by Ookla app on a Nexus 6 and on a Motorola X Pure edition and get while using Verizon and pretty much always band 13 in my area speeds of 80 to 90 Mbs if I'm within a mile of a tower at the local Walmart by an interstate highway and AT&T pretty much the same on band 17 but band 12 about half that in the exact same spot. I live out in a rural area and there is a tower 7 or 8 miles from my house that I get band 12 and 17 from on my AT&T prepaid plan and get 15-20Mbs on band 12, 40-45Mbs on band 17 and 2Mbs on band 2 at home and if I get within a mile of the tower that I get at home (it's is only 1, no neighboring towers) it's 85-90 on band 17 and 20 on band 2. Verizons data at home is pretty much useless but I can talk all day as long as I have Lte, if I lose that I'm lucky if it calls out at all. AT&T on the other hand I have to use a VOIP app and I'm good because when I make a call it goes to 3g which I don't know why I can't do VOLTE with them as I do with Verizon. Better stop here.

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