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Best cell networks revealed – and it’s a tie

Are you happy with your mobile provider? There are many factors that go into choosing a cellphone carrier: price and the quality of coverage to name a couple.

An important thing to look for when selecting a mobile service provider is the strength and speed of its network. One company in particular has dominated the field for years, but you might be surprised to find out that’s no longer the case.

OpenSignal, a company that specializes in wireless coverage mapping, recently released its State of Mobile Networks report. Researchers compared the top four service providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon in several categories.

Which mobile provider has the fastest network?

OpenSignal found that Verizon and T-Mobile are tied when it comes to overall speed on their 4G networks. T-Mobile took a slight lead over Verizon in 4G speeds six months ago, but Verizon improved its network since then to catch up to a virtual tie.

Overall download speed is the the average download speed users experience throughout all of a provider’s networks. This factors in 3G and 4G LTE speeds, along with availability of each network technology. Companies with lower 4G LTE coverage typically have lower overall speeds because its customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Here are the overall download speed results:

  • T-Mobile – 14.70 Mbps
  • Verizon – 14.63 Mbps
  • AT&T – 11.69 Mbps
  • Sprint – 7.14 Mbps

The following are provider network speeds. This shows the average download speed for each network on a 4G LTE connection:

  • Verizon – 16.89 Mbps
  • T-Mobile – 16.65 Mbps
  • AT&T – 13.86 Mbps
  • Sprint – 8.99 Mbps

In terms of 4G availability, Verizon came out on top. Researchers were able to find a Verizon LTE signal 88.2 percent of the time compared to 86.6 percent of the time on T-Mobile. AT&T followed at 82.2 percent and Sprint came in last at 76.8 percent.

This chart shows OpenSignal’s overall network comparison:

Note: If you are reading this article using the App, click here to view this image.

OpenSignal completed this study by collecting data from almost 170,000 users. Click here if you would like to see the study’s full results.

As you can see by the chart above, Verizon and T-Mobile lead the way in every category. This can be helpful if you are looking to change providers. You now have more than just price to compare.

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