You are probably going to hear a lot from T-Mobile today, thanks to good news out of the latest OpenSignal “State of the Mobile Networks” report for August 2017. The Uncarrier managed to sweep the awards that are handed out for categories like download speed over 4G, 4G latency, and 4G availability. The report talks a lot about T-Mobile’s growth, but also the slowdown that Verizon and AT&T have seen since launching unlimited plans in recent months.
OpenSignal’s report measured over 5 billion data points from 170K+ devices (OpenSignal users) from the end of March to the end of June. They took all of that data to measure some of those items I mentioned above, but also broke it down to the city level, aka the 32 largest US markets to see how carriers faired there as well. Again, T-Mobile pretty much cleaned house in those areas as well.
Surprised? Let’s look at some of the big takeaways.
For one, the re-introduction of unlimited data by AT&T and Verizon certainly helped T-Mobile get to this point. As T-Mobile has suggested for months, those other networks may not be built for excessive load of a bunch of customers with unlimited data. OpenSignal’s data shows that since their last report, Verizon’s 4G and overall speeds dropped by 12%. AT&T dropped less than that, but still dropped. T-Mobile and Sprint both saw increases during that time, and keep in mind that T-Mobile is constantly adding customers while that increase is happening.
One of the better stats I saw was the 4G availability metric, which OpenSignal says “measures the proportion of time a user can connect to a particular network.” So they are saying that T-Mobile customers were able to connect to 4G more than any other carrier (90% of the time). Verizon was right behind it at 89.8%. Do understand that they aren’t saying that in rural Montana you are going to be connecting to T-Mobile 4G more than you would be Verizon. They are saying that T-Mobile customers, who are in T-Mobile covered areas, were connecting to 4G more often. That make sense? Still, that’s good news for T-Mobile.
And finally, in the city-by-city analysis, OpenSignal says that it’s a 2-way battle between Verizon and T-Mobile. Their numbers show that these two essentially match each other for performance (both 4G download speed and availability) in the biggest markets. In the 32 markets they examined, T-Mobile or Verizon either ranked highest or tied for first place. Poor Sprint and AT&T.
So what should you take away? Well, T-Mobile, as we talked about just a few weeks ago, has an ever-improving network that should be grabbing your attention at this point. It’s faster than the others, performs better in cities, and should only get stronger as T-Mobile lights up all that new spectrum over the next couple of years. Let’s just hope they stay the Uncarrier and don’t take these successes only to become another carrier.