T-Mobile and Verizon attack each other’s 5G networks over Super Bowl weekend

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We’ve seen Verizon and T-Mobile argue back and forth quite a bit over the years, and that bickering continued over Super Bowl weekend.

Yesterday Verizon released an ad pitting its 4G LTE network against T-Mobile’s 5G in New York City. The one test shown on camera has Verizon LTE putting up a download speed of around 43Mbps while T-Mobile 5G hovers around 15-20Mbps.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere responded to the ad by calling Verizon a “sad ex-high school quarterback who’s now living in his mom’s basement, trying to squeeze into that old letterman’s jacket and relive his heydays.”

Legere goes on to say that Verizon “bet wrong on the 5G future” using millimeter wave spectrum because it “hasn’t scaled like they thought it would.” Verizon has said that it will deploy 5G on lower bands including 700MHz to 2500MHz.

T-Mo also published a video to YouTube showing the in-stadium 5G coverage for the Super Bowl. The T-Mobile phone retains a 5G signal during the entire video, while the Verizon phone is largely on 4G with a couple of 5G appearances. Both carriers touted that they enhanced their 5G networks at Hard Rock Stadium for the big game.

Finally, the folks at Ookla — the company behind the Speedtest app — shared a report on how all four major carriers performed during the Super Bowl. Verizon posted the fastest mean download speed (297.18Mbps) and 5G download speed (646.17Mbps), but T-Mobile did have the second fastest mean download speed (121.93Mbps) and second fastest 5G download speed (328.33Mbps). T-Mo also posted the fastest mean upload speed (30.34Mbps) and fastest 5G upload speed (28.89Mbps).

The report also analyzed indoor mobile coverage in the entire Miami metro area. Verizon and T-Mobile were nearly tied with the percent of buildings with good coverage, with scores of 97.7% and 97.2% percent, respectively.

T-Mo came out on top when it came to percent of buildings with best coverage, though. Ookla says that T-Mobile had the best indoor coverage in 36.9% of buildings tested while Verizon had the best coverage in 29.1% of buildings.

Were you in Miami for the Super Bowl this past weekend? If so, how did T-Mobile’s network perform for you?

Sources: Verizon (YouTube), T-Mobile (1), (2), Ookla

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  • JJ

    I love it. Competition is great. i don’t have a 5g phone buy my coverage and speed with tmobile has increased dramatically with all the upgrades. My wife is on verizon and her phone has slowed down and data speeds are always congested. Looks like tmobile just knows how to manage upgrades better.

  • Jason Caprio

    I find it funny that T-Mobile is doing a comparison with simply 2 phones showing bars in a single location that T-Mobile just upgraded with small cells, where Verizon actually did a real-world test. Verizon and T-Mobile handle signal bars differently. With Verizon, you won’t see full bars unless you are essentially standing next to a tower (-60dBm ~ -80dBm). T-Mobile will show full bars at around -105 dBm and better. In a way it’s deceptive. Verizon showing 2 – 3 bars is the same thing as T-Mobile showing 5 bars. If Verizon has 1 bar, it’s still usable. If T-Mobile has anything less than 3 bars, and this is from personal experience, you generally have no connection. I’ve seen this swapping T-Mobile and Verizon SIM cards on the same phones (specifically a Pixel 3 which has Band 71 support). The SIM card seems to dictate how the actual signal translates into bars, which I’m sure is programmed by the carrier. Everybody loves more bars so T-Mobile “gives” it to them. This is why I run an app that shows my actual dBm signal and band because I take bars from any carrier with a grain of salt.

    When it comes to T-Mobile’s 5G, it’s a joke. They keep bragging about how they have more 5G than Verizon, but 600MHz simply does not have the bandwidth for gigabit speeds even at a full clean signal. When you factor in congestion, their 600Mhz 5G is virtually indistinguishable from 700MHz 4G LTE. Furthermore, T-Mobile’s mmwave 5G is not terribly impressive either. It generally tests around 350mbit/sec on average where Verizon’s is well over a gigabit.

    Bottom line is, if T-Mobile put the same effort into their network as they do in deceptive marketing, they’d already be ahead of Verizon and AT&T in terms of coverage and speeds.

    • Francisco Peña

      If you think that VZW wasn’t in a spot where they had a tower there (earlier maps showed very concentrated pockets), you are mistaken. But didn’t VZW AND TMo both tout that they were upgrading the area in the stadium, so its not just TMo that upgrade in the stadium, but VZW also. That is real world. Not just in a park in the middle of a city.

      I like TMo’s because they went all around the stadium, where various differing obstructions can cause signals to weaken. There is no reason why out in the open, that VZW doesn’t pick up 5G.

      • Jason Caprio

        I see where you are coming from. I’m willing to bet T-Mobile upgraded that stadium using only 5G 600MHz, and not mmwave which explains why it’s a “full” signal all over the place. However, the commercial did not show a speedtest for a very good reason….. Verizon would have crushed them. From the article above, Verizon’s fastest mean speed AND fastest mean 5G speed both DOUBLED T-Mobile’s speeds in that stadium.

        “Verizon posted the fastest mean download speed (297.18Mbps) and 5G download speed (646.17Mbps), but T-Mobile did have the second fastest mean download speed (121.93Mbps) and second fastest 5G download speed (328.33Mbps)”

        I am just not a huge fan of deceptive advertising.

        • Francisco Peña

          And the VZW cell spots are in one tight area around it. Not good for inside buildings nor around the corner. Get coverage walking into the building, sure… once inside, good luck.

          they all skew their ads to fit the narrative. I don’t need 600Mbps if I can’t walk into a building and get that signal. I’d rather have a more consistent experience across the board, because even at 300Mbps, its pretty fast if I can get that in a building too without losing signal.

        • slybacon

          Please don’t tell me you believe Verizon simply stopped and ran a speedtest in a random location… They probably ran hundreds of speedtests before shooting that one single speed test.

        • marque2

          I doubt anyone was getting close to those speeds in the middle of the game. Too many people trying to access at once.

    • slybacon

      5G does not require gigabit download speeds. Also, how could T-Mobile’s 600 MHz 5G be congested?? There are two phones that support it and not very many people have those phones.

    • Yonatan Ben Magen

      When in RL do you need or even can use gigabit bandwidth for more than 1-2 minutes – I can see it useful if your about to board a 15-16 hour Int’l flight and want to DL HQ Season of a TV show in 4K or HD an its 10-15 GB and you wait till a few minutes before takeoff.

      I just wish that the advertised UL latency was closer to what was promoted – to me I would rather have instant UL/DL and snappy page loads over mostly unusable high speed downloads.

  • Michael Elkin

    When I did have Verizon 5+ years ago, I would always get constant drops as the bars jumped. Mostly from full to 0 in an instant. Tmobile has been better for me, but I don’t for a second believe constant full bars like in the video. Just give us a good stable network.

    • Francisco Peña

      TMo in some areas are better than VZW (when I had it) was for me. But then again, VZW was better in other areas than TMo is… so its all a wash. I’ll go for the $85/mo for 3 unlimited lines with Tmo (on my plan) than VZW’s coverage and higher pricing.

  • Trillville Will

    At the end of the day, it’s all about location and personal needs when it comes to choosing a wireless service provider. I myself have Sprint and it works for me at home and where I work plus I don’t travel much so I’m good. All of them have their pros and cons. I won’t ever be a fanboy and tell anyone to choose Sprint just because. If I traveled a lot I definitely wouldn’t be a Sprint customer and if T-Mobile would’ve worked at home then I most definitely would’ve been rolling with T-Mob. With all that being said I can’t wait for the day when this merger is finalized so that they can combine their networks to become unstoppable.

  • Capt CD

    I will have “slower 5G” everywhere vs mmWave 5G that gives me gig speeds for a few hundred feet and NO in-building penetration.

    • marque2

      And you better be facing the right way so the mmWave doesn’t get blocked by your head.

    • Yonatan Ben Magen

      Seems like the tables have turned with building penetration and carrier’s.

      I am curious how well T-mos 5G will work with Sprints bandwidth – as Sprint years ago when I tried them had horrible building penetration.

  • Joe

    Why does T mobile not actually explain exactly what is so special about there 5G? Like what technology differentiates it from say 4G LTE Advanced. Because from a lot of test done out there 4G LTE is similar to there 5G.