Study names the fastest wireless carrier in the U.S.

“You’re sitting in a coffee shop, your eyeballs glued to the phone. YouTube is open, and you’re waiting for the latest comic-book movie trailer to load. Instead, you get the oh-so-familiar circular loading icon instead,” Roger Cheng reports for CNET. “And it keeps spinning and spinning. It’s at these moments that you wonder if the time has come to switch wireless carriers. But which carrier? Each of them claims to be some variation of fastest, most reliable or even newest. It’s tough to cut through the noise.”

“Testing firm OpenSignal has some answers, with a surprising contest for the top spot,” Cheng reports. “T-Mobile earned top honors in the firm’s first US-dedicated report, released Tuesday. It took home awards for the speed and responsiveness of its 3G network. Verizon won for 4G coverage, and both carriers shared 4G speed honors.”

“OpenSignal collects its data from regular people who download its app, similar to Speedtest.net by Ookla, and for this study boasted more than 180,000 participants,” Cheng reports. “T-Mobile’s network tested at an average speed of 12.3 megabits per second, just above the 12 megabits-per-second speed offered by Verizon’s. But because of the slight difference, OpenSignal declared it a statistical dead heat and gave each the 4G speed award. The firm noted that T-Mobile ‘”barely edged out’ Verizon in the 11 largest cities.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As always, it depends on the network available where you live and work. Speed is nice, but worthless without coverage.

14 Comments

  1. Theoretically, the fastest carriers will be those offering real 4G standard LTE Advanced. In the USA, that includes AT&T (at least around the Chicago area) and Sprint (where exactly is not yet clear).

    The data I’m using is from Wikipedia’s article about LTE Advanced as of January 28th. Oddly, as of today, Wikipedia has removed their LTE Advanced deployment table from the article and has not yet incorporated it into their overall LTE deployment chart.

    1. 4G *supports* faster data rates. That doesn’t mean the carriers allow the faster data rates.
      Furthermore, your “4G” phone may not support all of the 4G rates or modes.

  2. We suffered living in the hills of a thriving metropolitan valley area with AT&T for years despite also living blocks from a major freeway hub. And then Verizon went 4G and for some reason we finally got some useable cell coverage. We flipped to Verizon and so far so good. Nice to be able to make cell phone calls out of your own home. Is that so much to ask?

    1. so, i have an AT&T microcell in my house, uses AT&T broadband to allow my phones to connect to the “CELL” towers as i live in a valley

      problem solved until my data plan is limited for the at home internet connection…..

    1. I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile in October – took advantage of the $5/month iPhone promo. Despite several people telling me in my area that T-Mobile service was horrible, I switched anyway. I am very happy with the switch!

      Sitting in a local Bar one night with the same people who told me not to switch, I had them download the OpenSignal app mentioned in the article so we could all compare connections and download speeds – they were all shocked that my T-Mobile service outperformed all of theirs by multiples.

      We’ve got more data than we can use – and it’s piling up because they rollover data. Free audio service streaming. Free video service streaming. And speeds in the “wild” that compare pretty closely to being at home on WiFi. We actually use our iPhones in the “wild” like we do at home now, because we’re not worried about going over on a data plan.

      It is definitely a “no brainer”!

  3. If you live in a major metro and never travel beyond its major area of population, Tmobile can be great. Get outside of town or travel to lesser populated areas only Verizon has the broadness of good coverage. Until Tmobile fills the gaps in quality coverage, Verizon only needs to be in the ballpark to keep customers. I tried Tmobile hoping for the results mentioned. Great in Miami!!! not so good 20 miles outside of Orlando. Its like driving real cheap cars. Yes they can do the job, but would you really want to test it in the middle of the Alligator Alley?? Verizon really does reach out to some remote places. None of them are perfect though.

    1. Your experience must be from before T-Mobile upgraded their system – you sound like everyone I talked to before I switched! For the record – I live in SE Michigan – between Detroit and Toledo OH – in the middle of the cornfields of Monroe County – in a little community called Raisinville MI that I am sure no one has ever heard of (far more than 20 miles from Detroit, Ann Arbor or Toledo). I have stellar coverage from T-Mobile at home.

      I am employed in the Automotive Industry in Sales working out of my house, but I travel regularly around Metro Detroit, the State of Michigan, NW Ohio and Ontario Canada – I have yet to lose a call, or not have a data connection, with T-Mobile since I switched in October.

    2. I participated in a study several years back for the California Emergency Management Agency to determine which cellular carrier the State should use. Keep in mind that California is a microcosm not simply of the USA, but of the world; literally every kind of environment found anywhere can be found here, and we had to pick the carrier that covered the Golden State best (coverage/reliability).

      Verizon was the winner. Subsequent events have not changed that conclusion.

      (Now if you don’t have to be in the middle of a metro area on one day, and in a place describable only by latitude and longitude the next, I suppose YMMV. 🙂 )

    3. Orenokoto here, with a live report from Alligator Alley. Yes, TMobile has proven to be the best service, full LTE speed from The Alley, whereas Verizon and ATT truly suck. Yes friends, they suck the lucres straight out of ye bank accounts. This is Orenokoto reporting live from Alligator Alley. Next report from Podunk Holler, where TMobile again beats them all. Back to you m63r in the studio in Manhattan. Where TMobile is also proving to be the best.

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