If data is king, data speeds are the Galactic Emperor. Following the analogy, weak or patchy network connections are the thermal exhaust port through which an upstart young Rebel pilot could successfully fire two proton torpedoes, leading to a chain reaction that could blow up the entire U.S….carrier…system. OK, I may have gotten a little carried away there, but suffice to say LTE speeds are critical. A new report has revealed the fastest LTE network in the U.S.: are you on it?
OpenSignal has posted its most recent State of Mobile Networks: USA report, covering Q4, 2015, and the results are a little mixed. On the positive side, U.S. LTE networks get an A grade for coverage, ranking among the most extensive in the world. But when the report turns to the speed of those networks, things take a turn for the worse, with OpenSignal claiming the “U.S. finds itself falling short”.
What is LTE? Everything you need to know
The fastest LTE network in the U.S. is…
So which carrier has the fastest LTE network? T-Mobile, by a hair’s breadth, defeating Verizon at 4G download speeds by less than a third of a MB/sec. T-Mobile scored download speeds of 12.26 MB/sec compared to Verizon’s 11.98 MB/sec. When we switch to 3G download speeds, T-Mobile is way ahead, with 3.48 MB/sec compared to Verizon’s paltry 0.66 MB/sec (AT&T took second spot with 2.22 MB/sec).
But Verizon still comes out on top in terms of coverage. Verizon has the best LTE coverage in the U.S., with Big Red customers assured of a 4G connection 86.73% of the time. In second place (but trending downwards from previous months) AT&T customers were guaranteed a solid connection 82.63% of the time, while T-Mobile was right behind at 81.23%.
Even the fastest 4G network speed in the U.S. – T-Mobile's 12.26 MB/sec – is below the global average.
While these figures may sound pretty good to you, the coverage percentage is the only number that’s worth getting excited about. The problem with U.S. carrier data speeds is that they average out at just 9.9 MB/sec, well and truly below the international average of 13.5 MB/sec. Even the fastest 4G network speed in the U.S. – T-Mobile’s 12.26 MB/sec – is below the global average.
OpenSignal takes this as an opportunity to call out American carriers, claiming the U.S. is “no longer pushing mobile technology boundaries like it used to”, putting the industry in the same league as Argentina, a country that only rolled out its first LTE network a year ago.
Are you happy with your LTE data speeds? Would you have picked T-Mobile as the fastest?