Wireless Carrier Speed And Latency Ranked, You Might Be Surprised Who Wins

Every major wireless company likes to thump its chest and proclaim it is home to the best network, in terms of speed and coverage, but is there a clear winner? According to the latest USA Mobile Network Experience Report by OpenSignal, Verizon leads the way more often than not, though the results are a bit more surprising when you dig into the individual tests.

OpenSignal tested wireless performance in five different categories—4G Availability, Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience, and Latency Experience. Verizon won three of the five categories, those being 4G availability, videos, and uploads.

OpenSignal Downloads
Click to Enlarge (Source: OpenSignal)

What's interesting, though, is that Verizon didn't own the download category. It beat out AT&T and Sprint, but tied T-Mobile, the spunky Un-carrier. In addition, T-Mobile gave Verizon a run for its money in the other categories.

"For the last several reports, OpenSignal has become accustomed to handing T-Mobile accolades as the operator has skyrocketed up our metric rankings. But Verizon has made a comeback in the last six months. Boosted speeds, extended LTE reach and improved video quality have sent Verizon to the top of most of our metric categories and has left Verizon and T-Mobile duking it out for our Download Speed Experience award," OpenSignal said. "Make no mistake, T-Mobile isn't down for the count. In every metric Verizon won, T-Mobile is a very close second in our analysis, and will likely contest each of Verizon's current wins in our future US reports."

OpenSignal Uploads
Click to Enlarge (Source: OpenSignal)

We bolded the last part of that statement for emphasis, because it shouldn't be overlooked. In the Upload Speed Experience rankings, for example, Verizon took the top spot with a score of 7 points, but T-Mobile was close behind at 6.7 points. After that, there is a precipitous drop—AT&T scored 4.6 points, and Sprint scored 2.4 points.

Predictably, T-Mobile is celebrating the results.

"When wireless companies compete to provide the best experience in the country, customers win. I've said it before, and I'll say it again—there is no longer a tradeoff between network performance and value in the wireless industry and the days of Verizon's unchallenged network leadership are long gone," said Neville Ray, chief technology officer at T-Mobile.

While not technically a tie, T-Mobile virtually tied Verizon in 4G availability, too. Verizon earned a score of 94.2 percent, while T-Mobile was just a hair behind at 94 percent. It was actually a solid showing across the board though, with AT&T and Sprint at 88.9 percent and 88.4 percent, respectively.

While the overall race is close between Verizon and T-Mobile, it will be interesting to see how things shake out this year and next as 5G connectivity gets rolling.

Thumbnail/Top Image Source: OpenSignal