T-Mobile absolutely crushes AT&T and Verizon in the latest US 5G speed tests

T-Mobile absolutely crushes AT&T and Verizon in the latest US 5G speed tests
Another day, another comprehensive report looking at the current state of the war for US 5G supremacy between the nation's top three wireless service providers. Unsurprisingly, the nationwide data collected by Opensignal in the December 15, 2020 - March 14, 2021 timeframe yields radically different results from the latest research paper published by RootMetrics just a couple of weeks ago.

That's because every mobile analytics firm uses its own methodology and metrics definitions to proclaim the industry's leader from certain key standpoints, but also because the US 5G landscape remains, well, pretty messy and volatile, with each major carrier basically pursuing a different network upgrading and expansion strategy.

T-Mobile wins big yet again

While it's definitely not surprising to see Magenta's early "nationwide" low-band 5G launch and incredibly quick post-Sprint merger mid-band spread result in another comfortable 5G availability victory, the "Un-carrier" is also Opensignal's overall 5G speed champion for April 2021.

That may come as a surprise for folks who missed the January 2021 5G Mobile Experience Awards ceremony, where T-Mo took home five of the seven top prizes, including the availability, download speed, and upload speed trophies.

If anything, the second-largest mobile network operator stateside might actually be underperforming this time around, winning "just" four of the seven overhauled categories. Those still include the three aforementioned titles, as well as a newly created "5G Reach" section aimed at essentially complementing the 5G availability metric to provide a more detailed picture of the real-life experience of 5G users actually trying to obtain a 5G signal.

As it turns out, that's generally much easier to do on T-Mobile than AT&T or Verizon however you choose to look at the numbers crunched by Opensignal (as well as RootMetrics), and obviously, Magenta tends to keep its subscribers connected to a high-speed cellular service a lot longer than the competition.

Circling back to the speed contest, it's certainly worth highlighting that T-Mobile somehow managed to make a huge gain of 13.2 Mbps in its average 5G download score between January and April, thus consolidating its already healthy lead over two rivals that were "more or less stationary."

The 5G upload speed competition is a little tighter, but in the absence of some big breakthroughs that are likely still many months (if not years) down the line, it sure doesn't look like Verizon and AT&T will be able to threaten their common enemy's domination.

For what it's worth, Big Red remains the carrier to beat, both domestically and globally, in mmWave 5G speeds, with a mind-blowing average of close to 700 Mbps clocked between January 16 and April 15. Unfortunately, this blazing fast "Ultra Wideband" connection is still incredibly difficult to acquire, not to mention maintain for a significant amount of time.

No outright title for Verizon

As if the limited availability of the 5G UW network was not bad enough, the nation's leading wireless service provider (by subscriber numbers) lost its 5G video experience lead from January to AT&T while barely tying the same operator for April's 5G games experience crown.

Evidently, a fast overall mobile connection is not enough to guarantee a "very good" video streaming experience or even a "good" real-time multiplayer mobile gaming experience, as T-Mobile ranks far behind its rivals in both categories with only "good" and "fair" marks respectively.

Last but not least, AT&T is Opensignal's first 5G voice app experience champ, edging out Verizon and T-Mobile in a department where the vast majority of US mobile consumers should have nothing (big) to complain about, regardless of their carrier of choice.

As far as regional battles are concerned, it's certainly impressive to hear that T-Mobile emerged victorious in 5G availability and 5G reach across the country while losing a single outright 5G download speed game (in Colorado) to AT&T.

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