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T-Mobile smokes AT&T and Verizon in the latest Speedtest rankings

Published Apr 15th, 2021 5:36PM EDT
T-Mobile best speeds
Image: Michael Buckner/BGR

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T-Mobile spent years trying to catch up with Verizon and AT&T, but based on a recent market analysis of carriers by Speedtest Intelligence, the hunter has now become the hunted. According to Speedtest, T-Mobile jumped ahead of AT&T in the first quarter of 2021 to become the fastest mobile carrier in the United States.

T-Mobile’s Speed Score — which Speedtest describes as “a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance” — on modern chipsets was 50.21, while AT&T came in at 48.38 and Verizon brought up the rear at 41.25. Speedtest does note that it is reporting on the entire country in the first quarter rather than on competitive geographies, so some nuance is lost. Nevertheless, it was clear which carrier won.

That wasn’t the only area where T-Mobile led, either. Speedtest found that T-Mobile had the ability to provide the most consistent speeds to its subscribers, “with 84.8% of results showing at least 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.” AT&T trailed slightly behind with a Consistency Score of 83.5%, and Verizon took home the bronze with a score of 81.6%. At this point, a clear trend has begun to develop.

Moving on to 5G performance, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that T-Mobile came out on top here as well. In the US, T-Mobile provided 5G median download speeds of 82.35 Mbps. AT&T came in second with speeds of 76.60 Mbps, and Verizon came in third place once again with 67.24 Mbps.

Perhaps the most impressive win for T-Mobile comes in the 5G Time Spent category, which “captures the average percentage of time when subscribers’ 5G-capable Android devices are connected to 5G.” In the first quarter of 2021, T-Mobile subscribers were connected to 5G service 65.4% of the time.  Meanwhile, Verizon subscribers were connected 36.2% and AT&T subscribers were connected 31.0% of the time. The top two mobile carriers in the country were barely able to match T-Mobile’s 5G Time Spent metric… COMBINED.

It is important to point out that this is just one series of tests by one group, and thus we shouldn’t draw conclusions from Speedtest’s numbers alone. That said, it’s starting to look like T-Mobile is no longer fighting to catch up to AT&T and Verizon. If anything, AT&T and Verizon need to step up their game to take on T-Mobile.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.