Opensignal reported today that for the first time, T-Mobile has won its 5G Download speed award. T-Mobile users during the testing period of September 16th to December 14th had an average 5G download data speed of 58.1Mbps while beating out the average 53.8Mbps speed experienced by AT&T's 5G customers. Verizon subscribers using 5G had an average download speed of 47.4Mbps. In addition, T-Mobile provided its customers with the fastest 5G upload speeds and delivered a 5G signal more often than the competition.
T-Mobile users had the fastest average 5G download signal in January says Opensignal
During the testing period, Opensignal found that T-Mobile's 5G download signal was 18.1% faster than the average speed of 49.2Mbps calculated for the last report released in June, allowing it to take the title. Now the nation's second largest wireless provider, T-Mobile said, "Our 5G strategy from the beginning has been to first build a foundation of broad nationwide coverage and then pile on the speed with Ultra Capacity 5G. First in 5G coverage, now first in 5G speed. With Sprint now part of T-Mobile we are widening our 5G lead, and we are just getting started."
5G download speed is important but if you can't connect to your carrier's 5G network, the numbers don't mean a damn thing. Opensignal discovered during the testing period that out of every 100 attempts, a bit over 30 times T-Mobile subscribers were able to get a 5G signal. That was the top score (30.1% to be precise) and was up from the 22.4% availability percentage that T-Mobile achieved during the previous report. AT&T was second at 18.8% and Verizon remained dead last at .4%.
T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray says "From the word ‘go’, we’ve been the leader in 5G coverage, and now we’re piling on the speed with Ultra Capacity 5G – first in 5G coverage, now first in 5G speed. Last year we blanketed the country in 5G, and now we’re layering on the capacity and speed. We closed out 2020 with over 100 million people covered with our Ultra Capacity 5G and we will extend this deployment nationwide by the end of 2021. THIS is how you build the best 5G network in the country, and we are just getting started."
T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G delivers wide coverage and fast speeds. In tests of the service in Chicago, Houston, New York City and Washington, D.C., T-Mobile's average download speed for its Ultra Capacity 5G weighed in at 218Mbps. Availability in the four markets was 90%. T-Mobile Ultra Capacity service uses mid and high-band spectrum to help users
benefit from the characteristics of both. Mid-band spectrum travels farther than high-band airwaves and the latter delivers faster data speeds than mid-band signals do.
Let's discuss Verizon for a second. Unlike T-Mobile, which has focused on building out its low-band 5G network before turning to mid-band and high-band, Verizon concentrated on using mmWave high-band to start building its 5G network. The problem with this is that high-band 5G does not travel far. Sure, it delivers much faster data speed, but it would it take years to cover the country with high-band 5G.All of this is reflected in Opensignal's last two reports. In June, before Verizon added its low-band nationwide 5G service, Big Red subscribers could only connect to 5G using the faster mmWave high-band spectrum. As a result, it blew away the competition with an average median 5G download data score of 494.7Mbps, approximately ten times faster than T-Mobile's second place score. But with an availability score of 0.4% during June, Verizon's Ultra Wideband service was only available in a small area of the country. Between the June report and the new one dated January 2021, Verizon debuted its nationwide low-band 5G service. As a result, its average 5G download speeds dropped to 47.4Mbps. As expected though, Verizon's availability percentage rose to 9.5% as its nationwide 5G service kicked in.
Verizon did score highest in 5G video experience with a score of 62.1 followed by AT&T (58.9) and T-Mobile (56.3). Average 5G upload speed scores were led by T-Mobile (14Mbps) followed by Verizon and AT&T (11.9 and 8.0Mbps respectively).
When the data was restricted to users with a 5G smartphone and a 5G plan, T-Mobile still had the fastest average download speeds at 47.6Mbps. AT&T (42.2Mbps) was second with Verizon (41.4Mbps) last. Upload speeds for those using a 5G phone with a 5G plan were lead by T-Mobile's 11.4Mbps with Verizon's 8.2Mbps good for second place. AT&T finished third with a speed of 5.6Mbps.
Nearly 2.2 million devices in the U.S. took part in the test which included over 15 billion measurements.