According to Ookla’s results, T-mobile averaged downlink speeds of 19.62 Mbps, followed closely behind by Verizon’s 18.52 Mbps. AT&T and Sprint came in at the bottom, with average download speeds of 14.61 Mbps and 10.44 Mbps.
“T-Mobile has poured money into LTE network upgrades recently, and the work shows. Its “wideband LTE,” which improves LTE speeds without requiring new handsets…” Ookla stated. “The carrier is strongest in the urban Northeast and in Western cities.”
T-Mobile’s faster speeds can be attributed to the wideband LTE service it offers that utilizes bandwidth of at least 15×15 MHz. It has also deployed smart antennas positioned at 4×2 MIMO (Multiple Input-Multiple Output) technique, using four antennas for data transmission at the tower that connect to the two antennas in receiver. Most LTE providers used 2×2 MIMO, leaving fewer antennas for data transmission and slower speeds for receiver.
The LTE service is currently available in 212 market areas and expected to be available in more than 250 markets by year-end. Some of the markets being converted include those currently using 2G EDGE networks.
While T-Mobile was anointed the national title, Verizon had faster speeds in more cities with 83 compared to 79. Ookla explained that it included results from more locations than metro areas in its overall recognition. Both companies offer the fastest coverage in a majority of the cities, as AT&T had nine and Sprint only had one.
Ookla gathers its results through crowd-sourcing data from user’s and devices’ tests every day, choosing particular locations to “improve accuracy” and “reduce bias” from repeated testing.
“We rank mobile networks using the average LTE download performance. This provides an accurate view of the typical performance you can achieve using a modern smartphone or tablet on a given mobile network,” Ookla explained. “Because LTE has become pervasive in the United States, we focused on LTE tests, rather than the average of all tests, which would unfairly bias mobile networks with customers using older, non-LTE devices. We also share average LTE upload performance for each mobile network.”
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