After sweeping OpenSignal's State of Mobile Networks honors for the first half of 2017, T-Mobile followed up its impressive performance with another near sweep, as it came away on top in every category but one - AT&T managed to top T-Mobile with the most responsive 4G connections.
For this report, OpenSignal analyzed 5.9 billion measurements collected from 237,213 mobile devices between October 1 and December 30 of 2017. In that timeframe, the report saw data from 237,213 test devices, and there were more than 5 billion total measurements in an effort to get the best possible results and catalog them. The NAD, back in September, sided with Verizon and told T-Mobile that it couldn't say that it has the fastest 4G LTE pipeline. Verizon won our 4G availability award outright in 11 markets, but it drew with T-Mobile for the award in the remaining 22 markets. The Bellevue, Washington-based telecom giant was found to be offering the best 3G, 4G, and overall download speeds, lowest 3G latency, and the widest 4G availability.
The only category that T-Mobile didn't win in OpenSignal's report is average 4G LTE latency. The only category they didn't win was 4G latency, which AT&T posted the best score in.
In more non-carrier specific results, the report notes that LTE is becoming much more widespread in recent years, with two companies (Verizon and T-Mobile) able to report over 90% availability now, when a year ago no company could.More news: Winter Storm Jaxon targets Denver and midwest
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MORE: Best Phone Carrier: Who's No. 1? Sprint brought up the rear among the major carriers, though OpenSignal noted that its 12 Mbps average was 3 Mbps faster than in the firm's previous report.
It's worth noting that this time past year, T-Mobile and Verizon were evenly split, with each taking two awards a piece and tying in two other categories. Whether you think T-Mobile has the "best" network or not, it's hard to argue that its network has improved significantly over the a year ago, while AT&T and Verizon have been treading water.
After reintroducing unlimited data in February of 2017, both Verizon and AT&T had significant 4G speed and overall speed depressions. Sprint was last in the United States mobile carrier speed race at just an average speed of 12.02Mbps. In case you were wondering, Open Signal uses data generated by users of its "4G WiFi Maps & Speed Test. Find Signal & Data Now" app available from the Google Play Store. Across the board, each individual carrier is showing increased availability, which is excellent for the future of consumer choice in the US. Sprint saw its 4G availability go up 9 percentage points in the past year, OpenSignal said. Sprint was by far the most improved operator in LTE reach in 2017. Rootmetrics, which relies on independent drive-testing to measure networks, instead of crowdsourced data, has long had Verizon in first place, with T-Mobile languishing at the back of the pack.