Verizon is best for 5G speeds in the U.S., while T-Mobile US comes first in 5G availability, according to the latest user experience tests by Opensignal. The results are based on nearly 16 million measurements by 2.4 million devices in the period from 16 March to 13 June.
Verizon delivered by far the fastest 5G download speed in the country—and indeed across all countries measured by Opensignal. It averaged 494.7 Mbps, compared to 60.8 Mbps for AT&T and just over 49 Mbps for T-Mobile and Sprint. The faster experience at Verizon is largely due to its wider use of mmWave spectrum.
T-Mobile won in the 5G availability category, as its customers with 5G devices were connected to the 5G network 22.5 percent of the time. Sprint came second with 5G available 14.1 percent of the time, AT&T was at 10.3 percent, and Verizon was at only 0.4 percent, due to the short range of its mmWave spectrum.
As 5G networks are rolled out across the developed markets, the speed race is on. That is, of course, understandable given that the next-generation technology’s bragging rights are chiefly due to speed. And with ever-greater challenges to bandwidth in the form of video, gaming, music streaming and IoT applications, very high download and upload speeds are bound to be attractive, market-relevant and even essential for many users, both consumer and business.
Verizon’s domination of the U.S. market in terms of speed is certainly striking—nearly 500 Mbps, with its nearest rival at only 60 Mbps. And while many users will not be able to make full use of such a number, or even notice any difference between it and AT&T’s figures in real-life scenarios, it is an impressive achievement that should boost the operator in the marketplace.
However, it appears that the very technology that enables Verizon to leap so far ahead in terms of speed causes a concomitant shortfall in terms of availability, leaving it dead last among the four major U.S. operators. The double-edged sword, so to speak, of mmWave spectrum could cut Verizon cruelly in the 5G wars.