T-Mobile finishes first in 5G availability among global 5G carriers, says report

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T-Mobile has made a big deal of its low-band 600MHz 5G network and how large it is, with T-Mo calling it a “nationwide 5G network” when it went live late last year. Now a new report has confirmed that T-Mobile customers spend more time on 5G than those on other major operators.

Opensignal published a report today that examines the 5G experience across 10 major carriers around the world. When examining how often 5G smartphone owners are actually connected to a 5G network, T-Mobile came in first place with its customers on a 5G signal 19.8% of the time.

To compare, South Korean carrier SK Telecom finished in second place with 15.4%, Sprint was in fifth place with 10.3%, and AT&T was in sixth place with 9.7%. Verizon brought up the rear in 10th place, with its 5G smartphone owners connected to a 5G signal just 0.5% of the time.

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Opensignal also compared the 5G speeds of these 10 top 5G carriers, and here T-Mobile and Verizon swapped places. Verizon finished with by far the fastest 5G speeds, coming in at 506.1Mbps. In second place was LG U+ in South Korea with 238.7Mbps.

Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile finished in spots 8, 9, and 10, respectively. Sprint posted a 5G speed of 114.2Mbps, AT&T’s was 62.7Mbps, and T-Mobile put up a 5G speed of 47.0Mbps.

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T-Mobile’s 5G network is largely made up of low-band 600MHz spectrum, which is good at reaching long distances and penetrating buildings but isn’t much faster than 4G LTE. That helps to explain why T-Mo came in first place with 5G availability but last in 5G speeds in this report. Meanwhile, Verizon is using mmWave for its 5G, which has limited reach but offers super-fast speeds.

As we saw earlier today, though, T-Mobile’s 5G network speeds should grow as the carrier continues to integrate the 2.5GHz spectrum that it got from its merger with Sprint.

You can check out Opensignal’s full report at the link below.

Source: Opensignal

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  • Glenn Gore

    T-Mobile’s 600 Mhz 5G network is indeed large and fairly widespread. they cover about half the state here, but have only expanded that coverage into 2 additional towns since its launch back in December according to official press releases. Which they don’t do any more, so there might have been additional sites added but they aren’t showing up on the coverage maps while the 2 additional towns now do.

    And from my running around the state with work and testing that new 5G with my OnePlus McLaren phone, I have found that in no instance, and at no locations, is that 5G data anywhere close to or surpassing what is available from that same site on LTE. T-Mobile is evidently only devoting a very small sliver of their data capacity to 5G. I know that Band 71 is less capable for 5G than LTE, but I only saw 12-30 Mbps at any 5G site while the LTE ranged from 45-150+ Mbps at those very same sites. As T-Mobile sells more and more 5G-capable phones, they are going to have to devote more data capacity to 5G than they are now. I hope that is soon.

    • Brian

      I don’t know if T-Mobile hasn’t really turned up the 5G speed because I am only getting speeds near what I was getting with 4G LTE. I didn’t buy a new phone so I could get 5G. My old phone was having issues but I would like the speeds higher when I am tethering. My speeds are around 25-65 Mbps. I do like the better coverage and penetration into buildings. It’s nice to be in my office and have full signal when before it was barely 1 bar.

      • marque2

        Interestingly the only reason i would get 5g is for the extra breadth of coverage, I drive long distances a lot and the dead spots on remote interstates is annoying. At most I would have a map app running and Spotify or iHeart radio – so I don’t really care about the gigabit per second stream. (But you can download a 1080p movie in 10 seconds if the remote server can support it seems like a big so what)

      • Glenn Gore

        Yeah, I don’t really need 5G for anything in particular, T-Mobile’s LTE data is great around here for anything I need to do. My contract came up for renewal in December, I got the OnePlus McLaren so I could check out 5G. Most of the time I just leave the 5G turned off because the data speed is so much less than LTE. Less enough that it really does affect what I can do with the phone. I think the current situation with their 5G is so they can brag that they have it over a broad area and that’s all.

    • marque2

      I thought LTE and 5g are blended together for a combined data source (MIMO?) It surprises me they are so separate and 5g when you get it reduces performance.

      How do you force your phone to switch from 5g to LTE and back so you can do the comparison tests?

      • ANTHONYinCALI

        As far as I’m aware T-Mobile hasn’t started MIMO for blended LTE and 5G yet and that’s part of the reason it’s so slow. That, and the fact that it really depends on how much 5G spectrum they have in a given area. Like if they’re able to deploy 40hz of 600mhz 5G the speeds will be much better than LTE. If they’re only able to deploy 10hz or 20hz which seems to be the case in a lot of areas since they aren’t using massive mimo yet and have to split 5G with 4G, it’s going to be a lot slower.

        • Mike

          Most areas only have 5 mhz wide of 600 mhz, but they do have some 10 mhz wide available in some areas. I’m guessing only 5mhz is being used for 5g.

      • Glenn Gore

        It’s in the network settings on an Android phone, you can select If you want to use 5G or turn 5G off, which will send you to LTE.

      • Mike

        I dont believe LTE and 5g can carrier aggrigate, of course im not exactly sure what the phones can do, so I may be wrong. Just havent heard any information about LTE together with 5g.

    • Mike

      That is the problem they have, because of limited bandwidth on b71. If they only put 5mhz of b71 it will be slower than say b4 with 20mhz. Until they put more towards 5g side the speeds will stay slow, which actually sucks because more people will get on 5g before they can refarm b4.

  • Mike

    Of course the other graph shows Tmobile with the slowest download speed being 10th. Looked like Verizon had the fastest 5g speed with 506 mbps compared to TMobiles 47 mbps. So basically the more people on 5g will slow the network down.

    • g2a5b0e

      You’re completely off-base on that one. The reason Verizon’s speeds are much better right now is because they’re using a ton of mmWave for 5G. It has great speeds but, very limited distance, so they can’t cover big areas with it quickly. This is why people are connecting to it so little of the time.

      T-Mobile, on the other hand, is using more sustainable technologies, & while they don’t have the crazy speeds Verizon is seeing right now, they can be upgraded down the line & are much better on the coverage side. There are not nearly enough people on T-Mobile 5G right to bog down the speeds, so you’re wrong about that.