Verizon's download speeds in the latest quarter, in fact, returned to the levels seen before its introduction of unlimited plans, but OpenSignal analysts noted that T-Mobile made significant network improvements as Verizon dealt with its data issues.
Although the larger carriers largely lagged T-Mobile, the OpenSignal analysis also noted that Verizon and AT&T halted declines in 4G speed past year after new unlimited data plans put increased pressure on network capacity. Verizon came in second with an average LTE download speed of 17.77Mbps, AT&T finished third with 13.27Mbps, and Sprint came in fourth with 12.02Mbps. Its average speed increased by 3 Mbps and its availability average rose by nine percentage points from the prior test. "Sprint still sits in last place in both categories, but it has gone a long way to bridging the big gap between itself and its competitors", the firm said.
T-Mobile gets the fastest 3G and 4G network title in the US. AT&T customers' average latency was 58.2 milliseconds, T-Mobile's was 59.7, Sprint's was 69.6, and Verizon's was 70. As in our last report, the two leading operators were extremely close in this metric, though T-Mobile barely edged out Verizon for our 4G availability award in the 4th quarter.
OpenSignal also shared a regional performance chart that shows which carriers did best in 4G LTE availability, 4G LTE download speed, and 4G LTE latency in major metro areas across the country. "That's why T-Mobile customers are the happiest in wireless". 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. Meanwhile, Sprint began showing renewed signs of life as we recorded big gains in both its LTE availability and LTE speed over the a year ago. Both T-Mobile and Verizon's scored well over 90 percent in the same segment.
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The Uncarrier took the the top spot in five of the six categories OpenSignal measures. Only in September did both operators manage to arrest the downward trend, which was most likely the result of 4G capacity upgrades on both networks.
OpenSignal said in its report, " The stakes couldn't be higher in 2018. The agency felt that Big Red subscribers might not be used to having unlimited data, and many could have had their data speed throttled for going over Verizon's 22GB monthly data cap for unlimited subscribers. The foundations of those 5G services will be built on the 4G infrastructure we use today.