T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T: America’s fastest network also bests in new 5G and 4G LTE tests

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Because speeds aren’t the only important thing to look at when evaluating the overall performance and quality of a mobile network, all reputable analytics firms that frequent such tests and comparisons between Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T have added more and more factors to their research in recent years to try to provide the most detailed and reliable outlook.

Technically, PCMag isn’t an analytics company in the same vein as, say, Opensignal, RootMetrics, or Ookla, but the technical publication’s slightly less scientific annual reports feel oddly more grounded than what the aforementioned companies produce every three months (or less). †

By driving thousands and thousands of miles across America and doing speed tests in different corners of a given city (and rural area) at specific intervals and on a specific (ultra-high-end) phone, the PCMag researchers can simply find the ” typical” network experience better than anyone else, especially when dropped calls are also tracked.

That is the most important new part of the previously speed-oriented research, aimed at assessing reliability, good, reliable and concluding what is the best mobile network in the usa rather than just the fastest wireless service provider out there.

And the surprise winner is…

Magenta also had the fastest mobile network in PCMag’s comprehensive report for 2021 (after losing to Verizon and AT&T in 2020 and 2019 respectively), but what’s notable is that nearly every subsection of this year’s more comprehensive analysis is dominated by the same operator than ever before.

T-Mo is the absolute speed champion pretty much across the board, dominating in top (1.33 Gbps) and average (264.4 Mbps) download rates as well as in terms of average upload rates (32.9 Mbps).

These aren’t 5G specific results either, which makes them much more impressive, and what’s more, the “Un-carrier” also rules the latency chart, tying its arch-rivals to dropped calls, and somewhat disappointing, sitting in last place in terms of data connection failures. .

Of course there is no such thing as a perfect wireless network (especially in the US), but T-Mobile is getting closer and closer to setting a standard that Verizon and AT&T may not be able to meet anytime soon, physically and logistically.
The secret sauce is of course no secret, with Magenta’s rapidly growing Ultra-capacity 5G signal (aka mid-band) simply travels faster and further than anything the competition can offer even beyond recent C-band rollout.

It’s not all bleak for Verizon and AT&T

While T-Mobile continues to hold a huge lead on spectrum, mainly as a result of its acquisition of Sprint in 2020, a series of recent FCC auctions have underscored Verizon and AT&T’s intentions to compete in the mid-band arena after foolishly betting on mmWave technology in the early stages of their 5G deployments.

Both Big Red’s UW (Ultra Wideband) and Ma Bell’s 5G+ icons are easier to score on, say, Samsung’s Galaxy S22+ than ever before in the 30 cities and six rural regions covered by PCMag’s testers.
That undeniably helped Verizon take home nine specific city speed crowns and eight overall city titles, while also contributing to two and four wins, respectively, for AT&T, which pales in comparison to T-Mobile’s total, of course, but isn’t nothing.

AT&T also triumphed in three of the six nationwide battles included in this report from an overall network performance perspective, while T-Mobile actually had to settle for such a regional win, reminding us of Magenta’s major historical weakness. On the other hand, the “Un-carrier” is apparently also making great strides on that front, especially in the Northeast, while continuing to struggle in the Northwest and Georgia.

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