T-Mobile and Verizon Are Basically Tied in Network Speeds and So-Called 'Availability'

Verizon is fighting back against T-Mobile's recent attempts to steal the network spotlight as the so-called "Un-carrier," according to the results of OpenSignal's latest State of Mobile Networks report published today.

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Verizon regained a statistical tie with T-Mobile in overall network speeds, with an average download speed of 14.63 Mbps versus 14.7 Mbps for T-Mobile, according to OpenSignal. The metric factors in combined 3G and LTE speeds, in addition to the availability of each network technology, which can affect overall speeds.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile came within 2 percentage points of Verizon's lead in nationwide 4G LTE availability, according to OpenSignal. The report found T-Mobile customers had an LTE connection available to them 86.6% of the time, up from 83.2% in August 2016, compared to Verizon's leading 88.2% availability.

It is important to note that OpenSignal's "availability" measurement does not reflect geographical or population-based coverage.

OpenSignal's 'Availability' measures the proportion of time users have network access. By continually measuring whether users have a connection or not we are able to extend our assessment of networks to account for what happens when users are indoors and when they are moving around. We build up a holistic, user-centric measurmement of networks that expresses how users experience them.

The two carriers won or shared every award in every category of the report, leaving AT&T and Sprint with zero accolades.

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Verizon still appears to have the faster network in a number of metro areas, including Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Verizon ranked highest in speed in 14 of the 36 cities we analyzed, compared to four cities for T-Mobile and one for AT&T, but in seven other metro areas the speed contest between Verizon and T-Mobile resulted in a statistical tie. In three other cities we recorded a draw between AT&T and either Verizon or T-Mobile, while in the remaining markets, we saw ties between three or more operators.

Verizon had the lowest average LTE latency, the delay data experiences as it travels between points in the network, at 59.84 ms, compared to 61.28 ms for Sprint, 61.56 ms for T-Mobile, and 65.62 ms for AT&T. T-Mobile had the lowest average 3G latency at 115.76ms, according to OpenSignal.

OpenSignal said it parsed 4.6 billion measurements collected by 169,683 smartphone users in the fourth quarter of 2016 to gauge the 3G and 4G performance of the "Big Four" networks in the United States: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Read the full report for the complete results and methodology.

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Top Rated Comments

Agent OrangeZ Avatar
97 months ago
No... just no.

Visit Northern Arizona and you will see why Verizon is better.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cliffster82 Avatar
97 months ago
In cities is one thing. I can't speak to that. It's the roads and interstates where the difference is clear. Verizon wins interstates and rural areas, for now.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThomasJL Avatar
97 months ago
Unlike today's Apple, T-Mobile has a CEO who values not following the status quo.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fourthtunz Avatar
97 months ago
If it's only about connection..then maybe Verizon wins but all the other perks you get from
T-mobile more than make up for anything you get from verizon
Binge on, data stash, free wifi on planes, and all the other cool things Tmobile gives you.
Verizon just comes off as a greedy corporation.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Return Zero Avatar
97 months ago
Having been a customer of both T-Mobile and Verizon networks recently, I'll just make two notes:

Speed-wise, sure, that sounds about right. In my experience speed was nearly identical.

Coverage-wise, no way is T-Mobile anywhere that close to Verizon. If we're talking about covering just where people live, maybe they come within two population percentage points. Try talking on the phone while on a long road trip, however, and you'll quickly find that Verizon has a huge advantage in coverage. Two percentage points doesn't sound like much, but when they can hit all the cities and urban areas with a few towers and hang a lot of rural areas (where very few people live) out to dry, T-Mobile's coverage sounds way better than it actually is. That said, it is improving, but it still has a long way to go.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jntdroid Avatar
97 months ago
LTE availability does not equal coverage - T-Mobile still can't touch Verizon in actual coverage. The title and usage of the word "coverage" is a bit misleading...
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)