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Mobile Leads US Market in LTE Availability, Speed in Q4

Mobile Leads US Market in LTE Availability, Speed in Q4

Although the larger carriers largely lagged T-Mobile, the OpenSignal analysis also noted that Verizon and AT&T halted declines in 4G speed a year ago after new unlimited data plans put increased pressure on network capacity.

OpenSignal compiled this report using almost 6 billion data points from 237,213 users between October 1st and December 31st of 2017. Each year OpenSignal issues a report that looks at all the mobile carriers in the USA and compares the speed and performance offered to help consumers look through all the hype and marketing and see which carrier really is the fastest. The carrier managed to increase average 4G speeds across its network by 33 percent (from 3 Mbps to 12 Mbps), according to OpenSignal, and improve measurably (9 percentage points) in 4G availability tests - testers were able to find a Sprint signal 85.7 percent of the time. Fortunately there's data for this too, but it's worth noting that OpenSignal's availability data is collected by time spent connected to a 4G network rather than the geographical coverage percentage that carriers will often talk about. T-Mobile won or tied for best 4G speed in 24 of the 33 markets OpenSignal measured, while Verizon won or tied in 23 of those markets. The second report for 2017 had T-Mobile on top after winning five different categories, failing to finish first on just one.

According to the previous report, AT&T was first in 4G latency, when they first started offering unlimited data plans. T-Mobile is still leading the segment with speeds averaging at 19.42Mbps over the same period. You can check the whole thing out right here. These recent numbers, for example, came from an aggregate 237,213 users between October 1st and December 31st.

Another interesting battle can be found in the regional performance chart that OpenSignal included in this report. Market variation is still strong, with T-Mobile near the top in places like Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, but nearly entirely beaten in locations like San Francisco and LA. That's a sharp contrast to Verizon, which saw a dip in its 4G speed early in 2017 after it introduced unlimited data plans, increasing the amount of traffic on its network. AT&T won in that metric beating out T-Mobile, which held that spot previously.

All four carriers tallied increased 4G availability.

The fastest possible 4G data speeds are the order of the day, and OpenSignal's data reveals that T-Mobile continues to lead the field. The router will be available free of charge for existing AT&T customers.

While the top three carriers fight over the fastest speeds and greatest coverage, Sprint is jsut trying to stay afloat. Rootmetrics, which relies on independent drive-testing to measure networks, instead of crowdsourced data, has long had Verizon in first place, with T-Mobile languishing at the back of the pack. Both AT&T and Verizon seem to have mostly recovered now.

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