T-Mobile’s fastest 4G LTE network claim met with skepticism by advertising group


T-Mobile likes to tout the speed of its 4G LTE network, often saying that it’s the fastest in the U.S. Recently, though, that claim was met with some skepticism.

The National Advertising Division, which is overseen by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has recommended that T-Mobile stop claiming that it has the fastest 4G LTE network. This is following a complaint from Verizon, which argued that the results T-Mo was basing its claim on were from Speedtest results that may have been purposely slowed by Verizon for customers that used a heavy amount of data in a single month.

Here’s the NAD’s statement on the matter:

“Following its review, NAD concluded that the Ookla and Open Signal Speed test results in the month after Verizon introduced unlimited data plans might have had a bias in favor of T-Mobile and as a result did not support a comparative claim that T-Mobile has the fastest 4G LTE network. NAD recommended T-Mobile discontinue claims that it has the fastest 4G LTE network.”

Following the decision, Verizon said:

“In our opinion, their claims have been based on cherry-picked data and have misrepresented facts.”

T-Mobile initially agreed to follow the NAD’s recommendation, but today T-Mo said that it wouldn’t stop saying that it’s got the fastest 4G LTE network because it’s got newer testing data that backs up its claims:

“NAD previously recognized third-party crowd-sourced data as a way to look at network performance, so we looked at the latest results, and verified what we already knew! T-Mobile is still the fastest LTE network and we’ll continue to let consumers know that!”

Talking up the speed of its 4G LTE network is one of T-Mobile’s main marketing points, so it’s no surprise that T-Mo is going to keep hammering on that, especially if it’s got data that supports it.

Source: Fortune

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  • Audio

    Verizon brain: I’ll attack this report by saying we’re slowing our customers data on purpose! That’ll attract customers!

    • Bossman

      Well Verizon does have a point though., T-Mobile is being deceptive. You do realize that they quietly upped the de-prioritization threshold to 50 GB. That was only to ensure there speeds stay high at all times.

      • not a tech writer

        Your logic is flawed. Bumping up the de-prioritization threshold does not somehow magically create capacity. If T-Mobile’s network couldn’t handle the additional traffic, their average speeds would slow, regardless of where the threshold is set.

  • Jason Caprio

    I’ve had first hand experience with both T-Mobile and Verizon when it comes to speed. T-Mobile does in fact have higher top speeds, but Verizon has more consistency in their network. Very often with T-Mobile, network congestion in many populated areas will cause very slow and sometimes unusable speeds, even with a strong signal. This rarely happens on Verizon.

    Furthermore, Verizon has DOUBLE the customers that T-Mobile has. If T-Mobile had the same amount of customers as Verizon, I highly doubt they would be having the same high speeds as they are today.

    • marque2

      Ok – so your points still don’t refute Tmos claim. Try again.

      • Jason Caprio

        You’re missing the point. T-Mobile is not consistently fast. It might get 100MBit/sec here, 20MBit/sec there, and 0.1MBit/sec here and there. On average, it’s about 8 – 16MBit/sec on a good day. Verizon generally gets 16 – 32MBit/sec consistently all the time, with frequent peaks of around 64MBit/sec, and occasion lows of around 4MBit/sec, but hardly EVER below 2MBit/sec and I think maybe one time in a huge crowd got less than 1MBit/sec.

        Verizon has faster speeds on an average across the nation including rural areas. T-Mobile has extremely fast speeds here and there, but not everywhere and generally limited only to metro areas.

        Bottom line, T-Mobile is amazing at many places, and completely useless in many more places. Verizon is good to great EVERYWHERE. Reliability and consistency are way more important than raw top speed here and there.

        • Jay villa

          I’ve had AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. I travel within the US and internationally for work. I use both T-Mobile and Verizon. I have to say by far that T-Mobile is doing an awesome job with their network. Everytime I have no signal with T-Mobile 99% of time Verizon would have no signal either but when verizon does its pretty much useless, web pages end up not being able to load and calls not going through.

          In my experience so far T-Mobile reigns supreme from data speeds to call quality. I never get a dropped call or slow speeds. Verizon on the other hand is so congested no mater where I go but at least I can make a call I have complained time and time again to verizon about how Shitty the network is and have yet to see things get corrected instead of prioritizing the network so people who DONT use thier phones so often get better speeds.

          I primarily live in Hawaii and almost everyone I know has either T-Mobile or Verizon and they all say T-Mobile is better and I definitely stand by them on that.

          Keep up the good work t-mobile all of the network innovations and expansions will pay off!!!

          Verizon is a piece of sh** company that doesn’t give a f*** about its customers and touts its bulls*** network because it now has real competition from T-Mobile. I really should dump them but I’m not paying the bill LOL

        • Bossman

          I think your experiences are the exception not the norm. I have T-Mobile now and can’t wait to go back to Verizon. Verizon was better in all aspects. The data may be a little faster on T-Mobile but what good is fast data sometimes. I need my phone to work at all times.

    • icwhatudidthere

      Lots of people say that about how Verizon has double the customers, as if that’s somehow a good thing. If I had a choice between taking a highway with lots of traffic and a highway with half the traffic, I’d choose the lower traffic highway every time.

      • Jason Caprio

        I know what you mean however T-Mobile’s highways have a lot of dead ends and have construction everywhere lol

        • Bossman

          Exactly! What Jason said.

    • kanakamaoli

      Jason had is a past tense, not sure when you left T-Mobile for Verizon? In the last 6 moths or so T-Mobile implemented b12 in Hawaii. I can tell you first hand it made a big difference. Also, a cousin of mine who lives in PA. And travels to work in Maryland mentioned to me how much improved T-Mobile has gotten in the past 2 years in term of coverage and speed to boot. She used to complain to me how her phone would goto 2g in alot of areas.Before that she was paying Verizon 500 dollars a month for 4 unlimited data lines. The I told her about T-Mobiles 4 line unlimited plan which would cut her bill more than in half. When I talk to her I always ask how’s T-Mobile now?
      Her reply is 4g LTE everywhere and it’s fast!

      • marque2

        It is still a problem on major highways. Tmo would blink out all the time driving down 40 from Flagstaff to Oklahoma city. Gallup NM, I had to go to the top floor of the Hotel just to get a phone signal at all. And this was last December.

        I know it is good to get bandwidth in Cities, so because there is a lot of customer contention, but it would be nice to have minimal service on all the major freeways.

        IN 2013 I drove from El Paso, TX, to Midland Tx, about 300 miles with no phone signal at all – and my credit cards went dead – when I crossed the Texas border. Thank goodness I had a (horrible) VOIP app so I could use a WIFI to call a credit card company. Seemless WIFI didn’t exist in 2013.

    • Melissa Cardenas

      As much as I wanted to give Verizon a chance I can’t I just can’t . Here in Los Angeles it’s HORRIBLE slow . All over LA . FULL BARS 4g LTE. 1-3 . Down ,upload is 0.14 or 0.20 completely dead I haven’t yet to see am upload more than 1 mbps. .. I have screen shots to prove it. Luckily calls always work fine even when I’m getting 1mbps .I never ever dropped a call. 3 phones s8plus which is mine, moms LG G6, sisters iPhone 7plus . Same bad speeds . Downtown LA . Not even gonna go there .. kbps speeds. Oh well back to T-Mobile. When I had T-Mobile like I said on HERE before I never ever experienced speeds as bad as Verizon. The worse speeds I ever saw on T-Mobile was 5mbps. Because average was 10 or more . And no I haven’t been throttled yet on Verizon I can’t haha cuz since speeds is real bad I can’t use it I always have to be looking for Wi-Fi HAHA …. they switched sims and phone and it was so embarrassing guy at the Verizon store that works there was like this should work he did a speeds test 1.2 mbps down . 0.12 upload with full bars LTE he turned red

      • bkat11

        Verizon is awful…all they do is remind you their “great rural coverage” but most don’t give a shit they want good speeds in crowded areas

        • Melissa Cardenas

          i agree.. but honestly not gonna lie i didnt think verizon would be this bad in a big city like Los angeles. well nxt month ill go back to tmobile. cuz like i said tmobile herr in LA works much better. faster lte speeds and better signal .

        • bkat11

          Every big city I’ve been in they’ve been great

        • Bossman

          Wow… I had Verizon for like 5 years and have now had T-Mobile for about 2 years. One thing I can definitely say about Verizon is when there is a crowded area or congestion, Verizon is by far and away the best network. Verizon service usually even works at sporting events. T-Mobile doesnt. Verizon has more customers and capacity than any other carrier.

  • marque2

    Huh – well if Verizon is purposely slowing the network – then they admit they aren’t the fastest. It doesn’t matter why. What an excuse – we could give gigabit per second if we wanted to, so even though we only give 5mbs – we are still the fastest. (Eye roll)

    • Paul Hansen

      I love that their defense is that they’re intentionally slowing people and that somehow makes them faster.

  • ronjon400

    I wish you guys would turn on the ability to post an image thru disqus

  • justin l

    I get regular speed on TMO about 28-32 all the time. I live in S Fl, so signal rating down here is unpredictable. Haven’t had a bit of issue w TMO. I long ago started with Voicestream which changed to TMO and boy did she need some work. I eventually had Verizon temporarily when I got on w my gf and omg it sucked. 40% more in cost with half the benefits. Got her to switch and we haven’t looked back. Verizon might have minority noticeable better consistency but it’s not really worth it in my case to make all that much of a difference. TMO by far has been the better servic

  • George Salcedo

    It still really sucks in Bellflower Ca 90706 and Cerritos CA 90703

    • marque2

      California has issues with several carriers that don’t seem to have issues on the East coast.

      San Diego county, is fairly bad, as well, but I chalk that up to the hills and valleys. Hard to get signal from one valley to the next even with 700Mhz.

      • Petey07

        I think we are having the same issues up here in Northern California, Bay Area, the speed is pretty good to watch YT And stream videos, but during rush hour on the BART, some part of the route, TMO data speed is just not usable… Going from 4G LTE to 4G. When its on 4G there’s barely any data transferring… not sure why. But other than that. Service and data has improved over the time we have TMO

    • SecretStatePolice

      When visiting southern California (Disneyland!), you’ll find hotel Wi-Fi is faster and more stable than T-Mo hotspot/tether. T-Mobile is way over-subscribed in that part of the state.

  • bkat11

    All I hear from Verizon customers is Verizon is better cause they have coverage in BFE! Who cares! I’ve seen coverage in a ton of rural areas of FL with wideband, band 12 and 20mhz band 2 with speed of 200 mbps. We even did a side by side speed test in our office between my Note 8 and his iPhone 8 in Friday. Verizon = 37mbps T-Mobile = 160 mbps. Inside!

    • Acdc1a

      Verizon is a sh*t show in many populated areas. I’m not sure what they put in the bills to keep people paying them, but I can’t use them past the front door of my house, they drop regularly as you drive by the airport, AND the speed never comes close to my T-Mobile service.

  • mikeZo6

    TMO speedtest in philadelphia is horrible ! and Tmo customer relations always says WE CANT GUARANTEE FASTEST 4G LTE EVERYWHERE.
    but the advertise Philadelphia DATA STRONG what BS Tmo says

    • Your in a major city what do you expect and plus if you have a old phone you can cancel that. Upgrade your phone if so.

  • Hater Cavlery coming lol

  • riverhorse

    Jeepers, Verizon has chutzpah. “T-Mobile shouldn’t claim it’s the fastest carrier, because we’ve been slowing down our customers. NAD, please order Tmo to stop.”

    And NAD, is either idiotic for not seeing through this– OR, more likely they feel pressure to brownnose…since most large corporations get sweetheart Verizon deals for their employees’ business use.
    Follow the money trail…the swamp needs to get drained…

    • With this regulatory environment? That swamp’s only getting deeper.

    • marque2

      “…the swamp needs to get drained…”

  • Nuus Maan

    I switched to T-Mobile 6 days ago. We had previously been AT&T customers for over 15 years. AT&T didn’t deserve our business anymore. They think lying is an acceptable tactic. They sent us new smartphones for free, then billed us and reneged on their promise. It usually took 10-20 minutes to get anyone in Customer Service to answer a call (for the last couple of years). “We are experiencing a higher than usual call volume.” LIE! How can that statement be always true? T-Mobile answers within a minute, two at the most. But sometimes I find it difficult to understand the Filipino accent.

    But AT&T has a much faster network, from what I’ve seen so far. I setup my T-Mobile signal booster (free) today. I don’t see any difference. I get 3.3 Mbps down, and 7.5 up. AT&T was 20-30 Mbps.

    • Francisco Peña

      Depends where you are. There were times at work that my VZW barely got me 1-2Mbps down at work. After switching, I was usually at least 16Mbps at work, and now 2 yrs later, I can consistenly get over 40Mbps.. including my last 2 over 70.

      I’ve also had over 100Mbps download, which I never got with VZW, even with an XLTE phone. Now granted.. I’ve also had 0-2Mbps speeds with TMo too.

    • themask128

      So if you have had t-mobile for only 6 days how would you have any clear indication as of the customer service let alone customer wait times to speak with customer service over the past several years? Your statements don’t seem to line up there. Yes T-mobile just like any other company does outsource a certain amount of their phone support, just like any other phone company. However I can say there are far fewer less outsourced support calls I have run into especially the past few months. Mind you this coming from a T-mobile customer of 15 years… Also in terms of speed this can very depending on your coverage area and your phone. If you are in a band 12 area your speeds will not be nearly as good as in an area that does not rely on band 12. If you are so happy with the service AT&T provided maybe you should switch back as you are giving a very biased opinion against T-mobile without full facts to back up your statements. I have used all 3 carriers in the past couple of years partially because I did the corporate account administration for the company I used to work for so I am pretty familiar with Verizon, and AT&T service.

      • marque2

        The only time I have been sent overseas with T-Mobile was when I was having issues using their pre-pay plans. If you are on a regular plan the people seem to have a very good grasp of English.

        Yesterday I called Tmo and they said there would be a 20 minute wait, and gave me a call back option – which I took and got a call back in – well about 20 minutes. Worked very well.

        As for phone speed, it is a mixed bag. (Note: I move a lot) my last apartment 20mb/s was the norm. My current I get about 8. Also note, even though my Mobile One plan was suppose to have unlimited hotspot included, they actually do the 3g throttle – at 7 mb/s. Still good enough to watch a Netflix video or work from home.

        • shanali04

          Every time I call with my number to customer care, i am routed to an outsourced call center, if I use my other lines with google voice number I am routed to a call center in the US. it’s very annoying, also T-Mobile Customer care outsourced call center also take calls for Dish network, I called in once and I was greeted with their Dish network greeting, the agent had to correct himself and re-read the T-mobile greeting.

        • marque2

          Do you have a regular plan or a prepaid plan? Prepaid is always routes overseas. If you get a postpaid plan – I can’t recall when I was sent overseas, though I am sure It could happen if there is a service center outage.

    • Dummy Up Meathead

      Just ran a speed test from my office on the 17th floor in NYC. 26.05 down and 19.8 up. That is slower than what I typically get. Depends on where you are I suppose.

  • Bossman

    Lots of Verizon bashing on this post but Verizon does have a point, T-Mobile is being deceptive. You do realize that T-Mobile quietly upped the de-prioritization threshold to 50 GB. That was only to ensure their speeds stay high at all times.

    • not a tech writer

      Your logic is flawed. Bumping up the de-prioritization threshold does not somehow magically create capacity. If T-Mobile’s network couldn’t handle the additional traffic, their data speeds would slow, regardless of where the arbitrary threshold is set.

      • Bossman

        I think you are mistaken. Lets say there are two customers who both use 23 GB. One is a T-Mobile customer, the other is a Verizon customer. In this instance, lets say they are both in congested areas. The VZW customer will have 4-5 bars of LTE on their phone but since they are being throttled, their top speed will be low, lets say 700k-1 MB. The T-Mobile customer, since T-Mobile won’t throttle until 50 GB will probably still have a top speed, lets say 50MBPS. Once the network tests measure those two customers, their analysis will conclude that T-Mobile has the much faster network but that may not be true. You get it?

        • not a tech writer

          Still flawed. It stands to reason that increasing the de-prioritization threshold increases the number of “priority” clients available and hence competing for finite bandwidth. After all, congestion itself comes from people actively utilizing the tower, no?

          Using your example, if the T-Mobile network can still manage to provide 50Mbps in an area that is considered congested, amongst a sea of priority clients, that’s a damn fast, well-managed network.

          Essentially you just proved my point.

        • Bossman

          No no no. You do realize that “congestion” is probably different for the two carriers. Since Verizon has twice the amount of customers and larger network capacity, the definition of congestion can vary. There are a lot of metrics involved with this.

        • not a tech writer

          I agree that there are a lot of metrics involved. Simply viewing congestion as a percentage of resources utilized at a given time versus total resources available equalizes that out.

          Faster is faster. Implying that they “quietly raised their de-pri threshold” just to game this contest is logically flawed. If T didn’t have the network to back it up, prioritizing everyone would only serve to slow more people down. There’s only so much bandwidth to go around at the end of the day.

          The mere fact that T-Mobile can effectively set their de-prioritization threshold higher than other carriers is indicative that they are confident in their ratio of data users to available capacity overall.

          I would argue that VZW’s low de-prioritization threshold is essentially an admission that corporate knows they are over-subscribed.

  • This is a legitimate concern. Anytime a company says they are better, it has to be backed up. There was a time when Pizza Hut sued Papa John’s Pizza in court. Pizza Hut sued because Papa Johns said their pizza was made was from better ingredients and resulted in a better pizza. As a result of the court case, Papa John’s won the court case, and also the right to use the claim of being “better” in advertising This was a landmark victory for consumers.

    A similar court case would be helpful because T-Mobile would have to come clean with its advertising claims. T-Mobile would need to disclose, educate customers that Cable providers modem technology allows for additional speed; almost on an on-demand basis. Cable is responsible for providing most T-Mobile customers with the capacity and speeds they enjoy.

    Until these issues are settled, people in the news and media should be relentless in questioning the rumors of Peter DeLucia and Janice V. Kappner’s supposed infidelity. After all, no one knows if those rumors are true and verifiable until they’re brought to court either. Someone showed me photographs of Peter’s “toybox” in his S&M dungeon. I think a full inventory list of items in that photograph be disclosed also..!

    • Travis Peregrin

      A cogent, succinct, and articulate post on the internet. :) It’s like a unicorn!