OpenSignal testing ranks T-Mobile’s LTE fastest network in the U.S.

It’s all well and good claiming that your network is the biggest and fastest, but, if user testing doesn’t back it up, there’s no validity to those claims. Turns out, Tmo’s claims at CES in January that it has the fastest network (based on Ookla Speed Test results) are backed up by another set of results, recently published by OpenSignal. Of all the top 4 carriers, T-Mobile’s network was found to be the fastest on average, with speeds averaging around 11.5Mbps.


Sadly, the report wasn’t all rosy in favor of the Magenta carrier. The “Time on LTE” metric was also considered and generally shows how good a particular carrier’s LTE coverage really is. And, while users experience faster average speeds on T-Mobile’s LTE, they don’t spend anywhere near as much time on it as Verizon or AT&T users. Thus showing that Tmo still has need of expansion.


That said, it’s still encouraging to see T-Mobile at least approaching a similar level to AT&T, a carrier whose LTE network has been up and running much longer. T-Mobile, as we all know, only kicked off its next generation wireless coverage just over 12 months ago. Going from 0 to over 60 percent time on LTE in that space of time is pretty remarkable.

Increased user speeds – of course – means that those customers on the network are getting a great experience of fast internet. But it would be foolish to ignore the difference in number between T-Mobile subscribers and Verizon’s. The fact that fewer people are using the network, means less congestion, and better speeds. Still, it’s a good result for T-Mobile overall and shows the company is definitely moving in the right direction.

Source: OpenSignal
Via: ZDNet, GigaOM

Tags: , , , ,

  • obeythelaw

    I know John Legere gets a lot flack for being brash and a little childish with some of his twitter comments, but he is getting the job done. He is the only CEO I have seen of such a large company like Tmo actually respond to twitter feeds. He vists the stores around the U.S. to keep morale high. And Tmo is adding LTE under his leadership. They had the foresight to use the money from the AT&T fail to pick up spectrum that they will get up and running by years end.

    • ccnet005

      Once again, the nerds are forgotten in favor of the worthless fratboy,
      what about Neville Ray, he deserves some of the credit and blame.

  • Goaless05

    I live in a suburb of Detroit and I consistently get between 15-30 mb/s down, which is more than I need to get everything I need done. I’ve even seen speeds as high as 63mb/s. No complaints from me!

    • Matt

      I get consistently 20mbps up and down with sub 40ms latency on an unlocked iPhone 5S in the Philadelphia area

      • yankeesusa

        yea, exactly. Just get a service that works in your area. With tmobile I tested them before making the switch and I loved them immediately. Yes there are a couple of spots on my drive back home that drop to 2g but soon that area may become lte. Also, where I spend over 80% of the time I get LTE. On my note 2 I was constantly getting 19 to 20mbps. Now with my nexus 5 its around 30 to 32mbps. I’m glad tmobile works in my area. I wouldn’t choose verizon or att unless I had to.

        • Jason

          I am so JEALOUS!!!! Max speed for my nexus 5 here in Twin Cities has been 25mbs…Although i get good speeds for what I’m paying overall, I would love to see 35+ mbs… :)

        • yankeesusa

          My average speeds away from my office are around 25mbps. I hit 42 only 1 time one day. But I’m definitely happy with what I’m paying also.

        • Jason

          I’ve been flashing/changing different firmwares/radios on my Nexus 5 hoping i could hit what others have posted here or on xda but to know avail….
          I guess the locations I visit are maxed at 25ish mbs….
          Maybe one day ill go where you got the 42 mbs so i can brag to my brother …HaHa

  • Yeah ok

    That’s all nice and fluffy and all, but too bad half of their network is filled with massive deadzones and 2G. No thanks, I’ll be switching to AT&T next week. Thanks for nothing, losers!

    • Eric

      Have fun with limited data, overage charges and ridiculous pricing.

      • Jason

        I agree on the ridiculous prices and high overage charges but cell service options is limited to how well a network can preform at the places you visit or reside….

        As far as limited data if the user isn’t utilizing lte or hspa+ on TMobile, then unlimited data/cheaper data won’t have an impact because the user won’t be able hit a high data threshold with TMobile or theyll be paying for cheaper data but it’ll be slow so the higher charge would be worth it IMO
        First question I ask when anyone ask me advice on which network or plan to purchase, is where are you going to be using the services most….
        I don’t work for any carrier but im the only techie in my circle of family and friends…

        • MaladeeN

          if your the only techie how can you even justify being ok paying for data overages or having family and friends do the same? The ability to use my internet on my phone as long as I want and with no throttle necking or restrictions is reason enough to stick with tmo. Honestly unless im in the middle of nowhere tmo seems to always have me covered. From the west coast to the east coast tmo has consistently given me 8-15 mbps on my One S. Very rarely maybe less than 3% of the time do I ever see a dreaded Edge indicator. Tmo has come a long way. I expect significantly higher speeds once I finally get my hands on the M8. No homerism involved because honestly no carrier is great in the US but out of the 4 I can’t see why people would want to be a part of verizon, or at&t’s networks. Their prices alone would be the turn off.

        • Jason

          I justify it if TMo’s coverage isn’t there…..
          I justify if unlimited is a necessity…
          I justify if there is any discounts available to said subscriber….

          For instance 2 weeks ago we took a trip to Northern Minnesota, We had lte coverage up until we hit Zimmerman, MN….After that the highest speed we achieved was maybe 40kbs, 2 years ago with the same route using Sprint services it would still be a 1mbs connection….We stayed at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, inside hotel it was 10kbs, Sprint was still trotting along with 1 mbs connection….

          Within the Twin Cities there is plenty of times I’m on edge….If I enter a building, edge….Inside of my house I have lte but due to TMo’s signal having a hard time penetrating thru walls, my speed is limited to 5mbs…..I walk outside 15+ mbs…I get dropped calls galore at home, atleast once a day if I don’t stay in paticular spots while I’m talking…..
          I’m not alone, if anything there is more people that have crappy TMo service than good coverage….

          I had a Samsung S2 before my Nexus 5, honestly the lte compared to hspa+ 42mbs has only been slightly better overall….

          My brother has a 20% discount with Verizon, Verizon has a single plan for him with 2 gigs of data and after discount he is paying $60….Same price as TMo minus a gb but he only uses less than 2gbs a month and most of the time he is on WiFi…
          He is also buying a m8 thru Verizon….Verizon subsidizes the m8 to 199.99, TMo doesn’t subsidize….He saves $400 before a 15% device discount by choosing Verizon….So with all math added figuring 2 yrs of service, my brother will save $430 over that time period and will have the best coverage available in all the spots he travels to….

          The vast majority of ppl don’t use more than 2gb’s a month so unlimited doesn’t matter most of the time….

          People also want their data to be fast whenever or where ever they are, TMo’s data is getting there but no where near absolute….
          Pricepoint and quantity doesn’t always equal better otherwise everybody would eat generic foods and skip name brands…

        • MaladeeN

          all valid points but i guess its all relative…for instance i reside in MN as well. (Twin Cities). I have been as north as bemidji and not once did I came across an edge signal there. Granted I didn’t pay attention to the phone on the drive there so I cannot comment on the areas in between. Even when I spent the last 4 years in collegeville at St. Johns i had near constant 3g+ speeds. I have been to mille lacs as well but that was years ago and lets just say I wasn’t spending too much time on my phone to pay attention to my connection.

          Maybe i am just an exception to the rule no different then your brother who gets the verizon discount. Considering I used 25 gigs of data last month no other carrier seems to have an alluring package of speed and data other then tmo.

          Across the twin cities i seem to have a stable connection and never really notice issues, with the exception of what seemed like a nationwide outage two days ago. However there are about 2 deadspots on 94 i am aware of. Other than that even indoors in my apartment i pull a consistent 8-15 mbps like I noted before. With my One S which is on its last legs.

          But i digress once again maybe im just a lucky guy to get such consistently great service from Tmo. Or it just craps out whenever im not paying attention to my phone. At the end of the day it works when I need it which is what matters right? Haha

        • Jason

          Exactly! Value is only valuable depending on already in place circumstances….

          I didn’t even notice the outage here in Maple Grove…..LOL
          I have 3 kids that use old S2’s so as soon as youtube or netflix stops while we are driving I hear about it immediately….

          25 gigs a month makes TMo your only option here….Sprint has unlimited but nowhere near as consistant or as strong as TMo’s presence here in the Twin Cities…

          I tried cutting out Comcast at home using just mobile and hit 100gbs a couple months so rest assured TMo won’t make a peep of noise with the 25gbs of data on network :)

        • MaladeeN

          Yeah, i remember my highest month of usage being roughly 45-60 gigs did a ton of torrenting for a month through my phone haha. But the outage was strange, seemed like texts would and wouldn’t send couldn’t call out would guess I couldn’t receive calls either. However, the data service was uninterrupted which was strange.

        • Jason

          A month ago 2 of my lines started receiving text messages that had Indiana area codes….Being a good samaritan, i txted back to tell them they had the wrong number, both numbers texted me back saying they never sent the messages….I forwarded the messages and they both said nope not my message and wasn’t listed in there tech history….I called TMo tech support and was supposed to get a call back from highest level techs but havn’t heard back since….The messages stopped but I still wonder how that would happen….The first level tech could see the discrepancy after I gave him timestamps but was just as stumped as I was….

          Maybe just hiccups from subscriber boost in yours and my situation….

        • MaladeeN

          thats really strange but now a days im a believer that anything can happen haha

  • GinaDee

    There are too many variables not explained by this report.

    For example if an AT&T user isn’t on LTE it’s likely possible they are on an HSPA+ network.

    If a T-Mobile isn’t on LTE they might be on GPRS/EDGE?


    A T-Mobile customer might be more likely to be in an metro area where there is LTE and less likely in areas that are covered with 2G only networks.

  • sushimane

    Tmobile number 1

  • ccnet005

    I’m having a tough time believing this report.
    Most of my co-workers and friends leave me in the dust using speedtest.
    Oh, this includes a couple of sprint users.

    • Waveblade

      This is the national average. Of course your local results may differ heavily. If you’re curious to see what works best in your area, root metrics often tests specific markets

    • Adrayven

      Just the opposite here.. I leave Verizon and ATT in dust here.. but I have 3 bars of LTE most times at least..

  • TMOguy

    It will get better…
    I was just in a meeting yesterday where we had a guest speaker who was an SVP from Engineering. He mentioned that LTE will be rolling out on 1900/PCS spectrum in rural areas this year… That confirms the rumor we had heard earlier. I still don’t know if that means no HSPA+ for the rural areas (i.e. 2g/GSM and LTE only, both on PCS spectrum and leave the AWS spectrum unused) but I guess it makes sense from a cost perspective. You only need 10mhz of spectrum to roll out a 5+5 bandwidth LTE signal, I bet that’s what they’ll do.
    The other thing he said was that the toughest thing has been to figure out how to get the high speed fiber / backhaul to the rural cell sites. Most of them operate now on one T-1 line for the 2G and that’s it. You can get a T-1 over a copper phone line. However, for super high speed you need fiber, and that doesn’t even exist in some rural areas. They are having to implement microwave hops for some rural sites to make it work. But he said they have a plan to do it!
    I, for one, thought that sounded super cool.. Can’t wait to see it happen!

    • Matt

      I think it will improve but be wary of upper echelon folks telling you ehst you wsnt to hear. Take it with a grain of sand as actions speak louder than words.

    • Alex Zapata

      Interesting, deploying LTE on band 2? Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like utilizing that unused AWS spectrum would be a better idea since I believe there’s a use-it-or-lose-it clause that’s expiring in the not so different future. It’s entirely possible that I’m nuts though. I’ll have to see how things turn out.

  • Serge

    There is no way Verizon LTE customers use LTE only 83% of the time. Opensignal must have included 3G phone users into that graph. That means it’s not proportional to the coverage but to the LTE traffic.

    It also doesn’t make sense to put T-Mobile and AT&T together with Verizon and Sprint. Once off LTE, customers have vastly different experience on 3G. T-Mobile 3G HSPA+ is about 7Mbps according to PCMag tests so it’s as good as Sprint and Verizon LTE.

    • Jason

      if they are comparing time on lte vs time not on lte then of course 3g users are included for all….thats what the 17% of non-lte users for verizon would be….
      I think 83% is pretty high idk why you stated only or believe thats low…

      As far average speeds, TMo is awesome if lte or hspa 21/42 mbs is present however if network isnt present its slower then dial up….

      I live in the Twin Cites(Mpls), in city i get 20mbs down 3mbs up on hspa 42 with a S2, 25mbs down 10mbs up on lte with Nexus 5…indoors reduce speeds by 50% or more….
      If i leave metro area speeds are 50kbs or less…
      Sprint or Verizon, I maintain speeds of 1mbs for down everywhere unless im in a middle of a forest without a tower present…
      Ive havn’t tried either of Sprint’s or Verizon’s LTE networks…

      I’m wondering if the results occur from using the opensignal app? Or how do they get these figures?
      If app has to be present these figures are a very small drip in a bucket compared to real world stats because the open signal app has only been downloaded 5 + million times according to the google play store…
      Real world there is easily 326 million subscriber lines so this report is comparing less than 2% of all subscribers in the US…

      • Serge

        “of course 3g users are included” – well it’s not obvious at all. At least the author of the post didn’t think so.

        5+ million users is absolutely enough. Google ‘Sample Size Table’ and see how many samples are needed for a population of 300 million. For 1% margin of error and 99% confidence you just need 16.5K samples.

        • Jason

          I generally understand sample size tables but typically that would be used to find an answer without so many variables…

          Every city has different landscapes, each carrier has different frequencies deployed or not deployed, each tower may have different max strengh levels of signals that each city regulates…etc etc….
          If the data used is from using the open signal app, I have never seen anyone else besides myself have it installed and I only use it if i’m troubleshooting because of network problems or if I see that i have an amazing good db signal to tower to see max speed of connection….

          I’ve never took statistics so maybe I’m way off base but if i’m comparing speeds from a lte tower at the same time if I’m 2 blocks from the tower without any hills or valleys, ill have an amazing score but if 2 miles from the said tower and there is a hill or valley blocking sight of view of said tower i would have a dreadful score…So i might have an average but it’ll vary greatly depending on all the variables….The reason i thought it would be inaccurate or misleading is
          with the landscape variables, tower load and how much bandwith the tower is setup to use, i would find it hard to group 326 million lines of service spread out on 3.8 million sq miles and feel confident about my results….
          Like I said maybe i’m not a stats major just an average joe…no pun intended :)

      • Jason

        correction: the 17% group could also be when no lte is present…idk how opensignal could tell from their data if lte was present but i would assume it would be difficult process beside looking at just their raw data….
        But as stated in my original reply, these results would be from less than 2% of the US market which really means nothing at all…

      • kalel33

        “I think 83% is pretty high idk why you stated only or believe thats low…”

        Because Verizon’s entire footprint is covered in LTE. I guess they could be roaming but there’s not much roaming area.

        • Jason

          Verizon LTE footprint covers roughly 70-85% of the U.S…..Just a guesstimate, not using actual raw data but thats what my eyes came up with after taking a peak at Verizon’s LTE coverage map…

    • yankeesusa

      great point. My brother in law has verizon and he barely gets 3g now, he is always on lte but yet on hspa+ my tmobile phone is just as fast or almost as fast as his. When we both have LTE my nexus 5 now gets faster speeds than his but not by much. So here where we live its on par with tmobile being better sometimes.

  • caligurlzdoibetta

    ill believe this when i see it here in los angeles everywhere i go in east la ,montebello,dwtwn etc.. on my tmobile lg g2 3-5 average w burts of 8 on a lucky day ,boyfriends att galaxy s4 same places 10-12 w bursts of 20. ..

    • dd23

      Agree 100% att is faster everywhere u go in los angeles. I just never got why tmobile dont do something about it in LA I mean I read online how some people in chicago or texas or some other places are getting up to 40 on tmobile why cant us people in LA get that on tmobile? I have tmobile and like u said on a lucky day u get 10 average is 3-5. I also seen it with my own eyes with friends that have att indeed like u said its faster and it usually always is.

      • Mike

        The customer base in LA is high with AT&T. T-Mobile needs to start somewhere on a more neutral ground before stepping in on AT&T’s turf. Keep in mind businesses like these mobile carriers are just a matter of wits and patience. T-Mobile will get there eventually, they just need a strategy. They have thousands of other cities they need to do it for as well, and they’ve been doing a hell of a good job so far

        • Volker

          You’re spot on Mike. And it makes business sense to first expand your reach, then beef it up. More potential customers = more potential revenues to pay for continued upgrades.

    • NationWidePlay

      Although I want to sympathize with you, it’s tough to. 3-5 Mbps sounds pretty good, so I don’t get the complaint so much. Those speeds are pretty fast and fast enough for 95% of your average use. The only reason i would think you need faster speeds is too watch long videos or you’re downloading huge files and require fast data rates. That said, unless you have the unlimited high speed data plan, I don’t see why you would ever consider that kind of use. For stuff like that I just wait until I get home where my current service has no data caps.

      Sure your boyfriend gets 10+ Mbps and sometimes 20, but so what? Do you just want those data rates just for the purpose of boasting about how fast your service is or do you require and need those data rates for the type of work or usage you frequently engage in? If it’s just to boast then I wouldn’t really get so concerned. Just my ยข2.

      p.s. What do Cali girls do better?

    • yankeesusa

      That’s too bad. For me tmobile has been great. yes on a road trip when I had sprint I always had signal, with tmobile I hit a deadspot for about 2 minutes maybe twice but once I get to my destination I have hspa or LTE most of the time. Like its been mentioned before, if tmobile does not work for you in your area that you use your phone the most then go with a company that does. its not hard. Tmobile used to suck here in my area, now they are one of the best, in fact they are the fastest in lte speeds. Here at work I’m getting 19mbps indoors on my note 2, now with the nexus 5 i’m getting 32mpbs. Sprint finally gets signal in my building and their getting 13mbps. Att gets lte but only about 6-7mbps. Verizon gets a decent signal but I haven’t been able to test it yet.

  • Trevnerdio

    I like how Sprint’s had an LTE network much longer as well and T-Mobile is still beating them in terms of time on LTE. Of course T-Mo is winning in speed, Sprint is the snail of the realm.

    • Jason

      Include the years that Sprint spent trying to get WiMax going and i’m surprised they are still in business…lol
      I lived 6 blocks from a WiMax tower and couldn’t achieve a signal unless I walked a block closer…

  • Volker

    To everyone asking how can they even measure this or that blah blah, if you actually read the report instead of going off of two pictures on a blog then you’d see that many of your questions are clearly answered in the report and the need to rationalize the reported performance in a comments section of is unnecessary. I’m not saying its 100% accurate or that I agree or disagree with their units of measurement or what was measured, I’m just saying please actually read instead of dismissing results without first seeing the formula to the equation. To get to the report, click on source then click on the link to the report on their website. Once you read the report and decide whether you think they missed something or see flaws, that’s the time to comment. This isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, I’m just frustrated by so many people bitching about a “report” they didn’t even make an attempt to read, and on a topic that, let’s be honest here, more than likely makes no difference in the real world (how many people really do in-depth research on LTE speeds and the percentage of time a networks users have LTE available for use in a city advertised as LTE-covered and use that info to determine who they give their business to? I’d wager most consumers simply rely on word of mouth for speed testimonials and a three minute visit to each carriers coverage map to see if it labels their city as covered with LTE.). Oh Crap, where’d my easy button go? :-)

    • Jason

      I read the page and not everything is answered….
      People I know either ask me or quote a commercial or advertisement they’ve seen on tv etc and never go to the carriers map….lol
      Maybe i know alot of dumb ppl because they claim i’m smart….haha
      This an open forum where ppl discuss or state opinions on news posted on TMonews, so you may see it as bitching but idk i see it as forum where ppl discuss opinions…
      Whether ppl satisfy your personal requirements to post or state an opinion here, thats on you to decide if you want to read our”bitching” or not…

      • Volker

        As I stated I don’t mind people posting their opinions it just irked me that they did so without attempting to look at the source first, which on some cases, did provide an answer or showed why and how they measured some things.

  • Paul

    “… similar level to AT&T, a carrier whose LTE network has been up and running much longer.”
    I think this is the line that shows the smei-truth to the second chart-Magenta users not using the netowrk as much. Most of the users aren’t use to having access to such a fast network. Since I know there is 2+20 near me I abuse the HELL outta my data. I think we’ll see an increase by this time next year as users gain devices that have LTE and see increased speeds in their area.

  • charlieboy808

    Speaking of Ookla SpeedTest, how many of you have discovered the hidden kitty in the app?

    • Jason

      Never! Where is the hidden kitty? LOL

      • charlieboy808

        Do a speed test. After it completes swipe down on the meter. Keep going till it completely stops giving you info.

        • Jason

          Awesome! I used this app since its release and never swiped down….LOL
          It even changes every swipe down HAHA

  • MaxPowers .

    This really surprises me. I would get 10-12 on T-Mobile normally, sometimes as low as 8. A week ago when I switched to Verizon I hit 50, and then consistently hit between 30-40. Not even sure how that can happen on LTE, but the Speedtest app continues to report it.

    • Jason

      Max speed of LTE is 57.7, so very believable!

      Verizon has better network overall but thats what the premium price tag pays for…..

      I would also guess that network congestion is much lighter per tower due to having a good percentage of Verizon customers on capped data plans …

      • MaxPowers .

        Wow. Didn’t know it was that high. Thanks for the info.

        I’m not sure how much it matters that people are on capped data plans. I had unlimited data with Verizon in the past, and I don’t use any more data now than I did before switching plans. It’s very few of their customers that exceed 2 GB, and my suspicion would be that Verizon having a larger 4G infrastructure accounts for the speed increase.

        • Jason

          Maybe my mink is just skewed because I have seen a good amount of people using 50gbs plus since TMo started unlimited 4g…..
          Months back I tried to get rid of comcast and for three months I hit 100gb plus, and I wasn’t even torrenting….
          Netflix hd stream was main culprit….The last month i dropped it to sd and still hit 100gb which then I knew my household needed Comcast!

          It’s too easy to circumvent T-Mobile’s upsell page for hotspot….
          You can vpn, I know browser string worked before too…
          Even ppl who don’t use the hotspot get pretty high data usage using netflix, torrent apps etc etc
          Tmo has less towers and unlimted data vs More towers less data for Verizon….
          Now that would be a good chart: average data use by carrier ROFL

        • Jason

          mind not mink….lol I better watch out for peta putting minks in my post haha