Verizon vs T-Mobile vs AT&T: the US 5G speed champion widens its huge lead
Between Verizon and AT&T's highly contentious C-band rollouts and T-Mobile's industry-leading New Radio Carrier Aggregation breakthrough, we can totally understand if the nation's 5G landscape feels even harder to decipher than usual.
But you obviously don't need to be fluent in the increasingly convoluted and confusing technical and marketing lingo of the big three US carriers to read the latest numbers published by Opensignal after collecting daily individual measurements from millions of devices across the country in the September 16 - December 14, 2021 timeframe.
The results of these incredibly comprehensive 5G speed, availability, and user experience tests leave absolutely no doubt as to the true overall market leader, falling largely in line with the conclusions of several previous reports released by the same mobile analytics firm, as well as fresh Ookla research on similar topics.
All hail the 5G speed and coverage king!
At this point, it's really no longer surprising to see T-Mobile eclipse its competition to earn the most gold stars across a number of different categories. The exact number is four out of six this time around, and in addition to those being quite possibly the four most important subsections of Opensignal's January 2022 USA 5G experience report, what's definitely worth highlighting is Magenta's massive advantage across the board.
We're talking 93.9 Mbps in the 5G download speed chart, and no, that's not a typo and it also doesn't indicate T-Mo's actual average score in that category. Said score has jumped from an already impressive 118.7 Mbps just three months ago to a simply mind-blowing 150 Mbps now, which is literally light years ahead of Verizon and AT&T's stagnant 5G download averages of 56.2 and 49.1 Mbps respectively.
There's naturally a half-decent chance the gap will be narrowed by the aforementioned C-band 5G deployments, especially as far as Verizon is concerned, but T-Mobile isn't going to sit idly by while its supremacy is threatened, aiming instead to continue improving its own figures.
The 5G upload speed battle is not particularly close right now either, and unsurprisingly, the "Un-carrier" holds a huge lead in both 5G availability and 5G reach as well.
The latter two evaluation methods essentially aim to put those broad and often exaggerated claims relating to geographical coverage in a real-world context, thus illustrating how much easier it is to find and maintain a high-speed cellular signal on T-Mobile compared to Verizon and AT&T in typical everyday scenarios. Namely, between twice and four times as easy.
Verizon takes home two precious consolation prizes
Although it certainly must be disappointing for the largest wireless service provider stateside (by subscriber numbers) to have to settle for a pair of "experience" trophies, that still beats AT&T's grand total of... zero 5G-related national titles.
If you do a lot of 5G mobile gaming or 5G voice calling on your phone, Big Red remains your go-to operator, but that might not be true for long looking at how things have evolved on these two fronts since October 2021.
While Verizon's chart-leading scores have dropped slightly in the last three months, T-Mobile has somehow managed to make great strides from these standpoints as well. Magenta's 5G games experience improvement is especially remarkable, narrowing a distance of over 13 points to just seven and a half while seriously threatening AT&T's silver medal position.
T-Mo is breathing down AT&T's neck in terms of the 5G voice app experience too after trailing both its arch-rivals by a lot back in October. Opensignal's 5G video experience evaluations, in case you're wondering, have been temporarily paused due to certain restrictions imposed by carriers on certain plans that make it difficult for any such analysis to be fair and inclusive of all real-life user "experiences."