T-Mobile named fastest U.S. carrier by new Ookla report


Ookla, the company behind the popular Speedtest app, today released its 2017 U.S. Market Report on the fastest mobile networks in the U.S., and T-Mobile fared pretty well.

T-Mobile has been named the fastest mobile carrier in the U.S. by Ookla. Magenta put up a Speed Score of 23.17, which incorporates the low-end, median, and top-end performance for both uploads and downloads.


Ookla suggests that T-Mobile’s smaller subscriber base compared to Verizon and AT&T, as well as a tightly-spaced cell site grid, may have helped propel T-Mobile to first place. The company also highlights T-Mobile’s rollout of 700MHz LTE coverage and its efforts to refarm spectrum used for older technologies and utilize it for LTE.

To compare, Verizon finished with a Speed Score of 21.13, AT&T got 20.05, and Sprint rounded things out with 15.39.

The data used in these rankings was gathered during the first half of 2017. Ookla says that nearly 3 million unique devices performed more than 14 million network tests during that time.


Ookla’s report names T-Mobile the fastest carrier when comparing the 100 most populated Cellular Market Areas in the U.S., too, though T-Mobile’s score increase when switching from nationwide tests to the top 100 CMAs is the smallest while Verizon’s is the largest. Ookla says that Verizon accounted for 51.6 percent of all samples in rural areas, while T-Mobile accounted for 11.5 percent.

Ookla also took a look at how AT&T and Verizon have performed following their introduction of unlimited data plans, which is something that T-Mobile CEO John Legere loves to talk about. Ookla says that the percentage of AT&T and Verizon test results below 5Mbps grew following the launches of their unlimited data plans.

“Whether these carriers are deprioritizing customers or customers are flocking to slower, more budget-friendly plans, both AT&T and Verizon are seeing an increase of customers experiencing speeds less than 5 Mbps,” says Ookla.

To take a look at the full report, which includes data like the average download and upload speeds in the U.S., hit the link below.

Source: Ookla

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  • kanakamaoli

    T-Mobile still plenty fast in Hawaii even with little to no 700mhz coverage.

  • John

    One day, they’ll top the bare minimum speeds in Chicago. One day….

    • mlody_me

      I agree! I had them and could not stand them in Chicago to the point I was forced to dump them. I will take 5 Mbps and coverage over here and there 20 Mbps and ‘no service’ any day and time. Keep trying T-mobile.

    • Sean Sorlie

      when was the last time you tried T-Mobile in that area?

      • I tried T-Mobile in Chicago in May.

        I doubt they have added a single tower there since then.

        I got 2 or 3 mbps. I was surprised. I thought T-Mobile was supposed to be super fast in huge metro areas.

  • Sharti24

    Faster only because they have 1/2 the customer base of Att and Verizon

    • Mike

      If that was the case Sprint should be the fastest.

      • slybacon

        Haha, true that!

      • AA-Ron

        Good point

      • gpt2010

        Mike. That was an awesome response!

      • “I have US Cellular, which has half the customer base of Sprint. Because it has fewer customers, I typically get 600 mbps down.”

        • Mike

          US cellular is only in 23 states in America the rest of their coverage is partnered.

        • USC is really only good in 4 or so states. Most of those 23 states you mention have a situation where the tiniest sliver, up to a mere quarter of the land, is covered by USC.

          Does the partner coverage mean anything… does in include data?

  • Iphart

    I get 2.5 Mbps inside my house and one block away I get 25-30 Mbps.
    But that is ok as I save $600-700/yr compared to AT&T and Verizon.

    • slybacon

      No wifi in your house?

  • Jason Caprio

    Another heavily biased and unscientific “study”. Straight from the article above, this proves how biased the results are:

    “Ookla says that Verizon accounted for 51.6 percent of all samples in rural areas, while T-Mobile accounted for 11.5 percent.”

    • giant22000

      Another heavily butt hurt Verizon fanboy!

    • Sean Sorlie

      what difference does the sample size make? there is plenty of data to substantiate that T-Mobile is faster regardless of Verizon having more customers. I will also remind you that these tests are ran by users.

      • What makes a huge difference is how the sample data points are selected. I could throw a dart at a map 20 times and then measure the speed at where the dart hit, and get a far more accurate then this “report” which is biased to exclude places of poor T-Mobile performance.

        “there is plenty of data to substantiate that T-Mobile is faster regardless of Verizon having more customers”

        A third or more of the US has no TMO at all. This means 0 data speed. These are places that are likely to have Verizon coverage. If you average out 3 fast Verizon places compared to 3 T-Mobile places of which two have 0 speed, the picture is very different…. and a lot more accurate.

        ” I will also remind you that these tests are ran by users.”

        Which is more evidence about how invalid the tests are.

  • Mike

    Sprint also has been the only ones saying they’re the fastest network.

    • Phil

      Great smackdown Mike.
      You’ve got to give Sharti24 an (A) for effort lol

    • Sprint, now, only has good coverage in 6 or 7 states.

      If you want an accurate picture of Sprint speed, average it out. So if you have one place with 23 mbps Sprint coverage and 6 with 0 mbps (pretty much the reality), Sprint has a speed of 4 mbps down, really.

  • Phil

    Ive found T-mobile much faster then others in Southside VA – Va Beach , Chesapeake & Norfolk.
    Service is outstanding much $ saved very happy TM customer.

  • Not accurate at all due to selection bias:

    People don’;t tend to run speed tests where T-Mobile has zero or poor service, and that’s about a third OR MORE of the US. This means that the study is skewed in T-Mobile’s favor due to de-emphasizing places where the speed is really bad.

    Let’s see such a speed study comparing characters using randomly-chosen geographic points. No bias.

    • Voice of reason

      Yes its either good or extremely bad to non existent.

  • Phil

    False advertising just like wimax…I remember those Sprint days well lol
    Sprint newsroom is propaganda room suckering customers like always.