Study: T-Mobile, Verizon Tied for Best Wireless Network in the U.S.

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When it comes to the cellular industry in the U.S., there’s been a sea change over the last decade. And it’s definitely shifted the balance among the Big 4 telecom firms.
AT&T and Verizon have long operated the two largest networks with the best overall coverage and the largest subscriber base. It appears that is no longer the case, according to the results of the latest OpenSignal regional study.
According to OpenSignal, AT&T has been overtaken by T-Mobile. The Uncarrier and Verizon are basically tied for first placed based on OpenSignal’s metrics, which include both network speed and availability across various regions of the U.S.
T-Mobile took the top spot in speed and availability in the Northeast region of the U.S., while the results elsewhere were much closer. Verizon and T-Mobile tied as far as availability in the West and Southwest, for example, and tied in the 4G speed category in the Midwest.
AT&T and Sprint didn’t take the top spot in either category in any region of the country, according to the OpenSignal results.
That’s a vastly different story from last year, when Verizon took the top spot in LTE availability in all five regions of the U.S. While T-Mobile was the best runner-up, it appears that the carrier has apparently caught up to Verizon.
The firm notes that there were several “twists and turns” the mobile market last year. The launch of unlimited data plans on AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks, for example, likely negatively impacted their speeds.
OpenSignal conducts speed and availability tests via crowdsourced information. The firm pulls data from hundreds of thousands of smartphone users who have the OpenSignal app installed on their device, and parses the results to get a clearer picture of the telecom battle.
Not everyone testing firm agrees that T-Mobile and Verizon are tied. In Rootmetrics’ studies, Verizon consistently ranks as the number-one network in the U.S. T-Mobile, on the other hand, usually comes in at third or fourth place.
It’s worth noting that Rootmetrics uses road-testing, which compares the four telecom networks side-by-side across various regions. To some, that’s a bit more accurate then open-sourced data collection.
But, either way, OpenSignal’s study suggests that T-Mobile isn’t an underdog anymore — and might be quickly becoming a contender for the best wireless network in the U.S.

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