Mobile Takes 5/6 OpenSignal's Network Awards For Jan. 2018

Nichole Vega
January 23, 2018

While some wireless carriers in the United States were resting on their laurels, T-Mobile invested heavily in its LTE Advanced network, and it shows.

The report added that LTE availability increased on the networks of all four top carriers and that 2018 could prove to be even more unpredictable than 2017 - particularly if Verizon takes steps to bolster its capacity on the road to 5G networks.

Based on nearly 6 billion (with a "b") measurements made on 237,000+ devices between October and December 2017, T-Mobile has both the fastest and most reliable wireless network in the US.

Credit: OpenSignalT-Mobile claimed first in the category that most wireless users pay attention to - the speed of its 4G network.

First, the results show that while AT&T and Verizon were severely impacted by launching unlimited data plans previous year, with both of the biggest carriers in the United States seeing drops in overall download speeds as their 4G LTE networks were stressed by more data consumption. Verizon's network speeds have returned to "pre-unlimited speed levels", according to OpenSignal, rising to an average of 17.8 Mbps.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile raked in the awards, especially in areas that matter for the consumer. The carrier topped OpenSignal's charts in four of five categories: 3G, 4G, overall speed, 4G availability, and 3G latency. That award was won by AT&T, which posted an average LTE latency of 58.29ms.

For Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint customers, the story is a positive one too, even if they weren't "champs" in any (or many) categories. The top image for 4G availability is a percentage of how "often users can access a 4G network", and shows T-Mobile users doing so 93.14% of the time, with Verizon right behind at 92.72% of the time (Sprint: 85.66%; AT&T: 87.03%).

Luckily for John Legere's industry-disrupting operation, that's where T-Mo truly excels, handily beating Big Red, at least according to OpenSignal's latest "State of Mobile Networks: USA" report. As a result, T-Mobile beat both larger brands by a slightly smaller margin than Q2 of 2017 and Q3 of 2017.

It's worth noting that this time past year, T-Mobile and Verizon were evenly split, with each taking two awards a piece and tying in two other categories.

Besides, a 4G connection's availability has also improved. OpenSignal had different results between April 1 to June 30, 2017 and crowned T-Mobile as the download speed king.

And in last place is Sprint, which didn't win any awards. That neck-and-neck race was evident in our 33-city analysis where Verizon had the advantage. Its availability score rose almost 9 percentage points over the last twelve months, compared to 6 percentage points for T-Mobile and 5 percentage points for both Verizon and AT&T. In 2018, we'll find out if Verizon's unlimited struggles amount to just a minor pit stop in the 4G race or whether Verizon has been lapped by T-Mobile. If T-Mobile's service is so good, why don't they have more customers than their competitors? This was due to the "deluge of data demand on their networks", said OpenSignal.

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