Back in January, OpenSignal released a mobile speed report that showed T-Mobile beating the competition in overall network connectivity in the US. The self proclaimed 'uncarrier' took the lead in five of the six categories, including 4G LTE download speeds and availability, though Verizon was not far behind. Now two months later, OpenSignal has published another report that takes a closer look at the battle for 4G supremacy between T-Mobile and Verizon.
"In our national report, released in January, we saw T-Mobile win our 4G availability award by just a hair: while its users were able to access 4G connections an average 93.1 percent of the time, Verizon was close on its heels with scores of 92.7 percent," OpenSignal notes. "As we look at their performance in each of the five regions, their race becomes even more evident and it's clear Verizon is not ready to give up on the 4G availability crown."
The map above, broken up into five regions, shows a tighter race between the two wireless carriers. Verizon was able to take the lead in 4G availability in two regions, with scores of 93.4 percent in the Midwest and 92 percent in the Southwest. In the remaining three regions, it was a statistical tie between T-Mobile and Verizon, with not enough separation to declare a definitive winner.
"The picture was very different a year ago, when Verizon was the clear winner in LTE availability across all five regions, while T-Mobile was the consistent runner-up," OpenSignal said.
As for Sprint, the nation's fourth largest major wireless carrier saw the greatest improvement in 4G reach over the past year. According to the report, Sprint increased its 4G availability score by close to 10 percentage points across all five regions. Sprint still came in last though, with AT&T taking third place in each region behind T-Mobile and Verizon.
Of course, availability is only half of the equation—speed matters too. In the previous report, T-Mobile came out on top with a national average download speed of 19.4 Mbps, versus 17.7 Mbps for Verizon. In the current report, T-Mobile and Verizon were statistically tied in the West and Midwest regions, with T-Mobile taking the edge in the remaining regions. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to brag about there, at least collectively.
"Though LTE availability in the world’s largest economy is impressive—placing it among the top 5 in our global rankings—speeds are a different story. In fact, we found that average 4G download speeds in the U.S. across all networks were not able to meet the global average of 16.9 Mbps," OpenSignal noted.
On the bright side, the report shows that things are improving.