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New test shows AT&T has the fastest wireless network in the US

AT&T fastest network

With the just-released results of its latest speed test measuring the fastest wireless network in America, Ookla has shaken up the familiar pattern we tend to see play out from one quarter to the next. Ookla as well as OpenSignal frequently crown T-Mobile as having the fastest US network, after which other testing outfits like RootMetrics come along to tout, no, Verizon instead. This time around, though, Ookla, which is a crowdsourced company, has declared AT&T the winner.

AT&T just announced that Ookla, which is the maker of the popular Speedtest utility, has named it the fastest wireless network in the nation, based on the results of first 2019 testing. According to the carrier, the Speedtest results show that AT&T’s speeds improved by more than 15% over the first three months of 2018, which AT&T attributes in part to the company’s massive investment into its US operation since 2014.

That investment includes capital spending as well as the acquisition of spectrum and wireless operations, all totaling more than $130 billion. Which AT&T also touted as a higher spend than any other public company.

Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs as well as AT&T’s chief technology officer, said in a prepared statement that the speed test results represents “further proof” that the company’s wireless network strategy and build are benefiting customers in ways that its rivals can’t match. At this point, though, it’s worth adding a reminder that we’ve pointed out before.

As we’ve said in the past when looking at crowd-sourced testing, unlike “road tests” of networks which involves taking identical smartphones running on different networks to different locations all over the country and running tests, the crowdsourced reports aren’t controlled. Thus, differences in methodology between the networks could introduce bias into the data.

Ookla’s data shouldn’t be misread as confirming that AT&T has the “best” wireless network. It is, however, an important data point. AT&T attributes some of the reason for its results to an expansion of the company’s misleadingly labeled “5G Evolution” service.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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