All of America's Wireless Carriers Suck, but T-Mobile Is the Fastest

Bocman1973 /

Bocman1973 /

According to OpenSignal, a company that tracks cellphone data speeds, mobile phone service in the United States is universally lousy compared with the rest of the world.

While Australians get 24.5 Mbps download speeds and South Koreans enjoy 91 percent coverage, not one American carrier can escape the “slow” category.

The best may surprise you. T-Mobile is the smallest national network in the U.S., but its users enjoy the fastest LTE speeds, at 11.5 Mbps. Unfortunately, they have LTE access only 59.2 percent of the time. Verizon, which often claims in advertisements to have the best network, qualifies as “good coverage and slow,” with only 7.82 Mbps download speeds.

Sprint, which came in last, has been trying to buy T-Mobile and both companies have argued that the FCC needs to level the playing field at spectrum auctions to let them better compete with Verizon and AT&T, which together have most of the subscribers in the U.S.

It should be noted that OpenSignal’s information conflicts with other studies. According to tech blog Boy Genius Report, OpenSignal is using more recent data. In this blogger’s informal tests in the L.A. area, T-Mobile indeed outperforms rivals for speed, however coverage can be spotty, particularly in more remote locations.

OpenSignal uses an app to collect connectivity data and claims to have based this report on more than 5 billion readings from 825 networks around the globe.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

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