T-Mobile ties for most awards, improves LTE availability in latest OpenSignal network report

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T-Mobile did pretty well for itself in both of OpenSignal’s 2016 US mobile network reports, and that trend has continued into 2017.

OpenSignal today released its new State of Mobile Networks USA report, which measured the networks of the four major US carriers between October 1 and December 31, 2016. For this report, OpenSignal gathered 4,599,231,167 datapoints from 169,683 Android and iOS users. OpenSignal also notes that it examined 4G speeds and availability in 36 of the biggest US cities.

In the Overall Network Comparison, T-Mobile tied for first place with Verizon. The two carriers finished in a draw for 4G download speeds, with T-Mo offering an average LTE speed of 16.7Mbps and Verizon posting an average LTE speed of 16.9Mbps. The two also tied for overall download speed, each posting average speeds of 14.6Mbps.

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T-Mobile won the 3G download speed award with an average of 4Mbps as well as the 3G latency award. Meanwhile, Verizon took the other two awards, which are for 4G latency and 4G availability.

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OpenSignal says that while Verizon closed the gap with T-Mobile when it comes to 4G speeds, T-Mobile is catching up with Verizon’s 4G availability, saying that T-Mo is “within a stone’s throw of matching Verizon signal for signal.” The report says that T-Mobile customers connected to an LTE signal 86.6 percent of the time, while Verizon customers found an LTE signal 88.2 percent of the time. So while it might be disappointing that T-Mobile didn’t win first place outright today like it did in last year’s reports, there’s still some good news to be had here.

To view OpenSignal’s full report for yourself, hit up the link below.

Source: OpenSignal

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  • Shawn G.

    “Saying that T-Mo is ‘within a stone’s throw of matching Verizon signal for signal.'” I find this hard to believe, especially in rural areas. T-mobile has certainly made some great improvements in this area, but there are still huge gaps in coverage in outlying areas.

    • Acdc1a

      Roaming agreements fill in the majority of the holes. T-Mobile’s network is sufficient for the VAST majority of Americans.

      • J.J.

        I agree it is sufficient but no where near signal for signal with Verizon today. 10 yr+ customer whos had a plenty of signal frustration incidences with tmo over the years but excited to stick around until they can match vz

      • Shawn G.

        I don’t disagree that it is sufficient for the vast majority of Americans, but that’s not saying the coverage is as good as Verizon’s native coverage. Also, when traveling the country, I find that I often roam on AT&T, which limits T-Mobile customers to 128 kbps, which is incredibly frustrating.

    • J.J.

      Agreed!

    • SBacklin

      I second that. I’d also like to add that they aren’t within a stone’s throw when it comes to reliability from my experience. With T-Mobile, I’ve experienced multiple handoff failures and connection issues due to a local power outage while VZW’s network just kept going.

      • tskwierc

        I agree even where there is signal multiple call drops and connection failures. I tried T-Mobile for 2 years and was constantly frustrated. Back on Verizon and all is good now.

  • Noremacam

    In my area in southern indiana, reliability has been poor. I’ve seen the network go down for ~18 hours at a time, at least a couple of times, and I was left without service(I don’t have wifi at home to use for backup service).

  • Steve Hester

    I am guessing the measurement is # of people within signal, so if you do the major cities, you get good numbers. I don’t think it’s actual physical coverage. I live in the DFW area and have outstanding service, but I travel the rural areas of the country (night photography) and signal is spotty at best in many areas.

  • joemail

    here in NYC in building signal and in train stations remains the same or just..JUST marginally better even after the 700mhz roll out. I see verizon users not having an issue at all yapping on their phones and browsing. I have no signal on tmobile or un-usable 4g signal that doesnt do anything. My verizon work phone is fine in those spots that tmo still needs to cover. maybe 600mhz?

    • mrmessma

      I’m not trying to talk down, but are you certain your phone is receiving the 700mhz band (not able to, but is actively receiving it?) I had to update my phone’s baseband to activate it which made a huge difference indoors.

      • Acdc1a

        I’ll also chime in and say that coverage in NYC proper is insanely good.

    • vinnyjr

      Don’t believe that at all. I have T-Mobile and get very fast speeds inside & out. Never drop a call. I’ve had Verizon for years & dumped them for lousy speeds and constantly dropping to 3G. This time next year & T-Mobile will be very close to # 1. It’s usually people that don’t have T-Mobile for service that complain. Try it, it’s damn good, very fast & reliable.

      • Francisco Peña

        I have TMo and get crappy signals in areas. and yes, I’m in a Band 12 (700mhz) area….

    • Dummy Up Meathead

      In NYC I get over 40mbps down pretty much everywhere. What phone do you have?

  • antquinonez

    Dang it, Sprint. If not for your delicious unlimited data, I’d dump you like yesterday’s garbage. To quote the president, “Sad.”

    • Francisco Peña

      0% of unlimited data is not better than 100% of no unlimited data.

      • antquinonez

        That’s right. My Sprint works well in the area where i live/work/commute but when I go travelling, I have to flip the switch to do the voice roaming (which gets me data, too — don’t know what’s going on there/don’t care — it’s free). TMo, like you guys know, has trouble with walls, so not doing that. Wish money was no object, then I’d do Verizon or AT&T.

        • Acdc1a

          Until 2013 I had a similar issue. Sprint made it a point to cover our semi-rural area so it was Sprint or nothing. I moved to T-Mobile in 2012 with a cell spot and since then the coverage has rendered the cell spot unnecessary.

        • antquinonez

          I worked for TMo 6 years ago and those little cell spots and wi-fi calling made up for their sh*tty problem with walls, if people would just use them.

  • TmoUser

    It must be a very small stone thrown by an Olympic athlete. Just saying.

    • Jason Caprio

      I guess a stone’s throw is a million square miles. I had to take this from Verizon’s site lol

      Better coverage matters.

      Other providers offer “almost the same amount” of 4G LTE coverage as Verizon, but Verizon LTE covers over 2.4 million square miles. Compare that to T-Mobile LTE, which only covers 1.4 million miles.

      Verizon offers the best LTE coverage in America. Not “almost the best.” See the difference?

      • Acdc1a

        Funny, Verizon includes roaming partners and affiliates while not providing the same courtesy to T-Mobile.

        *You forgot the fine print Jason.

        • Jason Caprio

          The difference is, Verizon roaming shows up as native coverage at LTE speeds. Not this 50MB capped throttled crap T-Mobile does. And it’s like in 2 states lol.

        • Acdc1a

          I know you have a Verizon fetish, and according to the commercial it’s OK.

          I encourage you to look at the 2017 map from the last Uncarrier event. That gap is closing fast.

        • Jason Caprio

          I did see it. It’s a PREDICTION and not reality. Until it becomes reality, and I see T-Mobile meeting/beating Verizon in Rootmetrics, then I’ll be impressed. Until then, T-Mobile is all talk.

        • Acdc1a

          Is that better or worse than calling someone else’s coverage your own?

        • Jason Caprio

          It’s a partnership. Each company benefits.

          The LTE in Rural America Program (or LRA program), introduced in May 2010, covers 2.7 million potential users over 225,000 miles in 169 rural counties.[12] Currently, 21 rural wireless carriers participate in the program. Under this program, partners lease spectrum from Verizon Wireless and connect to the company’s network, and Verizon provides technical support and resources to help the rural wireless company build out its own 4G LTE network. The program extends the footprint of 4G LTE coverage for both the rural carrier and Verizon, as customers can take advantage of both networks.[83] As of 2015, all LRA members have fully rolled out their 4G LTE networks.

        • SirStephenH

          The vast majority of non-native coverage on T-Mobile shows up as “native” coverage just like Verizon. T-Mobile has begun to drop roaming (50MB cap) because they don’t need much of it anymore with their expanded coverage and they’re making better deals for “native” coverage.

        • a d00d

          I call BS on this one: TMo has dropped a LOT of roaming and made it voice-only on others (CommNet in particular for me). Examining the maps of the other carriers show that AT&T is the king for allowing you to go roaming followed by Verizon. Sprint used to be really good, but their TOS now limits you to just 50-300 MB just like Tmo.

          I like Tmo overall, but you HAVE to be in their coverage area the vast majority of the time because they have killed almost all their roaming contracts (at least for data).

        • a d00d

          P.S. Its no surprise, then, that AT&T is even more expensive than VZW!

      • bkat11

        From Verizon’s mouth to your ears and out your mouth…if you can provide any source for that info other than a Verizon commercial or their website i’d be shocked. I challenge anyone to google that subject and not get lead to a verizon website. This test they are speaking about was tested in 32 urban markets and the coverage is identical. Those claims do not take into account any of T-mobile’s partnerships (Verizon claims same partnerships as their very own), Verizon MOST DEFINITELY did not include Puerto Rico or Cuba which T-mobile has also covered with LTE, Verizon doesn’t have any partnerships with Canada or Mexico for Roaming AND if you REALLY want to get technical T-Mobile is worldwide with LTE coverage in Europe.

        • Jason Caprio

          My Verizon plan includes Mexico and Canada free. I give credit to T-Mobile for that.

        • Joe

          No matter how much you love T-mobile its pretty obvious when traveling that they still have a good amount of work to match Verizons coverage/reliability.

        • bkat11

          Ok so that’s code for neither one of you could find the info without trusting Verizon…that makes you a drone

        • Joe

          No I don’t trust Verizon and don’t know if that claim is true. I was just stating that there still is a relatively big difference in reliability between the two. Also its pretty oblivious Jason sucks Verizon Co*k

  • Walt

    Tmobile is fast because it has 1/2 the customers of verizon and att

  • Trevnerdio

    “Within a stone’s throw” sounds like Sprint’s cringeworthy “within 1% of Verizon” commercial…

    • Joe

      I wander why does Verizon does not sue them since its obviously an outright lie.

      • Trevnerdio

        In all of that fine print at the bottom as they’re saying that statement, I’m sure it covers their asses somehow. Probably a really limited definition of the term…ya know, “within 1%*****” (see below)

      • Jason Caprio

        Their fine print says they are within 1% in the top 106 markets, aka major metro areas. Of course all 4 carriers are within 1% of each other in big cities. It’s outside those cities where Verizon and AT&T reign supreme.

  • Rob H.

    TMO still has a lot of work to do in TN. Coverage and speeds could be better in Nashville, and they need to do something about coverage in West TN.

    • Joe

      Even traveling from NC to TN in the mountains you get LTE 95% of the time but it only works properly 70% of the time. There is still a lot of improvement to be made till they can say they have the same reliable coverage like Verizon.

  • CharlesB

    TMO is missing pretty much 2/3rds the state of Wisconsin. So until that is fixed TMO is no option for me.

    • mreveryphone

      I had to work in Central Wisconsin for a stint and it was brutal… Luckily I had offline Google maps to save me from being completely lost in a state I had never been to before…

    • John

      No kidding. What is the deal there.

  • Grecha

    Still horrible in the buildings!!!! Only good for outdoors.

    • bluishgreen

      I was going to say the same thing. When they announced Band 12 finally in Boston, I thought I’d get an improvement. There are six restaurants/bars that I go to that have perfect coverage just outside the building, but absolutely nothing inside, and I have to depend on WiFi. It’s been almost a year since Boston’s roll-out, and not one place works indoors. I’d even accept just one out of the six as a victory — but absolutely none of them work. We’re not talking about bunkers — these are fairly normal buildings. And yes, I have a compatible phone (Nexus 5X). Outside, my coverage is every bit as good as AT&T (I have a work-issued AT&T phone) in the city and suburbs — but inside, it is noticeably worse than AT&T.

      • Walt

        What does vinny jr have to say about tmobile in boston and their band 12 rollout?

      • Locust Gee

        I can cite examples where my F&F’s phones on different carriers have same indoor issues at the same time as my TMO.

        Or

        I can cite other anecdotal examples where my works indoor but their’s don’t.

        What’s the point?

        You buy the service that capably serves your need. Duh. K.I.S.S.

    • Andrew Singleton

      lol

  • jameslapc

    Vermont could use a boost. Most everywhere I go I’m roaming on AT&T. Lucky me there’s a tower not even a block away from my dorm.

  • Michael Inella

    Tmobiles coverage was so good that I live in metro area nyc and travel to the poconos once and awhile with fake coverage maps that I switched to Verizon after two years.

    • Romdude

      It’s not for everyone, for those that are fully covered, the extras like international overseas data plus a cheaper price is a no brainer.

      • Acdc1a

        It’s still fun to be in the Bahamas reading the news on my phone and sending text messages and having other tourists just stare. Some ask me how high my phone bill is going to be. My answer is, “the same as it always is.”

        • Romdude

          Yup done that twice already. My friend went there with an AT&T phone and had to buy a local sim card and it was intermittent while his niece was just plugging away at her phone while on tmobile. In the end he ended up borrowing her phone when he could get it away from her. Oh, he spent over $400 bucks on that one trip for roaming on AT&T. I forget how but you can actually pay for unlimited 4g while international roaming.

      • Locust Gee

        True. I was on an Alaskan cruise last year & was able to get 3G signal in the Western most of Canadian territories & even on some wilderness mountaneous areas.

        Felt safe.

        Thanks TMO.

  • Everyone is complaining about the same issues I complain about on Verizon but with tmobile. Verizon gave me the excuse that it was the old building… smh can’t wait to depart

    • Acdc1a

      Because every carrier has weak spots and issues. You can’t even drive past the airport by me without dropping a call on Verizon. It’s 2017!

      • Jason Caprio

        You are absolutely correct. There are a few indoor locations that my old T-Mobile phone worked fine in, that my new Verizon has a weak 1x/3g signal. There are also many locations that my old T-Mobile phone had no signal in, that my Verizon has a strong LTE signal in. My AT&T-based work phone is the same. Most locations both work in, and others one or the other will be stronger. No carrier is absolutely perfect. The only reason why I am sticking with Verizon is that I have the lowest chance during my travels to have issues with outside coverage.

  • Walt

    So Verizon’s 2.4 million square miles is equivalent to Tmobile’s 1.4? Ok buddy

    • Jose Mendoza

      Verizon goes by square miles, and everyone else goes by population

    • Locust Gee

      1) OLDEST METHOD = GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE
      2) OLD METHOD = POPULATION COVERAGE
      3) OPEN SIGNAL METHOD = AVAILABILITY

      Why 3 is better:

      Measures the proportion of TIME users have actual network access, usage & up time vs. #1 – which just says they have a cell tower in that location & not actual usage numbers attached to it. or vs. #2 – which says that a number of households have access to the network but doesn’t actually say how long they can or able to use the network.

      In other words, method 3 shows stickiness & actual usage numbers data vs. just saying a carrier has a cell tower in a location or they have subscribers with access.

  • SirStephenH

    I predict that T-Mobile’s coverage will be equal or better than Verizon’s in a year or two due to the 600Mhz auction. There’s not too much Verizon can do to expand coverage without adding many more towers while T-Mobile can deploy 600Mhz on many existing towers and greatly increase coverage and reliability.

    • Jason Caprio

      While I highly doubt that will ever happen, I would LOVE to see it happen which would cause massive price drops/perks to emerge from Verizon’s end. The consumer would win!

  • Jason Caprio

    This just in: Verizon is bringing back an Unlimited plan! Thank you, T-Mobile! Thank you, John Legere for making the industry competetive! I’m being sincere here.