T-Mobile Offered Fastest LTE Speeds in the First Half of 2017

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    T-Mobile was the carrier with the fastest mobile network in the United States during the first half of 2017, according to a new U.S. Market Report for Mobile Broadband shared this morning by Ookla.

    The carrier scored a 23.17 using Ookla's new "Speed Score" metric that combines low-end, median, and top-end performance for both upload and download speeds. Ookla says this is a comprehensive metric combining all factors that "matter to a good network experience" into a single score.

    Coming in after T-Mobile was Verizon, with a Speed Score of 21.13, while AT&T came in third with a score of 20.05 and Sprint brought up the rear with a score of 15.39.


    According to Ookla, T-Mobile's "tightly-spaced cell site grid" and smaller subscriber base gave it an edge over Verizon and AT&T, both of whom are dealing with higher traffic loads since their unlimited plans were introduced last year.

    While Verizon has managed to deliver "consistent and reliable performance" across its network despite the unlimited plans, the rollout of AT&T's unlimited plans resulted in a "notable drop in performance."

    Sprint, unsurprisingly, had the slowest mobile network with a Speed Score of 15.39, despite improvements made over the course of the last year. From June of 2016 to June of 2017, Sprint LTE speeds improved by 23.7 percent, but the carrier still can't match the big three.
    While the above chart information covers the United States as a whole, Ookla also compared mobile performance data in the 100 most populated Cellular Market Areas within the country. The rankings were the same, but T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless were nearly neck and neck. Across the board, users in populated cellular markets see higher speeds.


    Mobile performance by carrier varies greatly from area to area, so while T-Mobile may have the best overall network speeds, AT&T or Verizon could have a significant edge depending on where a user is located. All four carriers are aggressively pursuing improved LTE speeds and network expansion through spectrum purchases, refarming legacy spectrum (like ending 3G networks), network densification, relay solutions, and other techniques.

    Across all carriers in the United States, there was a 19.2 percent increase in average mobile download speeds between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017, with an average speed of 22.69 Mb/s.


    Average mobile upload speeds didn't see quite as much improvement, coming in at 8.51 Mb/s for a four percent improvement year over year. When it comes to average mobile download speeds, the United States is ranked 44th in the world. That rank drops down to 65th for average mobile upload speed. In rural areas, performance can be significantly worse, with speeds that are 20.9 percent slower than the nation as a whole. Verizon (51.6%) and AT&T (27.3%) have far more coverage in rural areas than T-Mobile (11.5%) and Sprint (9.6%).

    In addition to looking at network performance by carrier, Ookla also shared some data on LTE speeds across carriers on two popular devices: the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S7. On T-Mobile and Sprint, broadband speeds were on average slightly faster for the Galaxy S7, with little difference on Verizon and AT&T networks.

    Both the iPhone 7 and the S7 see higher mobile network speeds than other devices because they aggregate three component carriers to improve peak and average speeds. On T-Mobile, Samsung has an edge because the Galaxy S7 enables features like higher order modulation and 4-Layer MIMO.


    Ookla's report is based on data gathered from its popular Speedtest Intelligence benchmark during the first half of 2017. More than 3 million unique devices performed more than 14 million user-initiated cellular network tests, giving the company a lot of data to work with to figure out trends during the year. For the S7 and iPhone 7 comparison tests, data from 250,278 iPhones was collected and compared to data from 134,742 Galaxy devices.

    Additional test results covering minimum acceptable experience, the impact of unlimited data, fastest carriers by city, and more can be read in the full report.

    Article Link: T-Mobile Offered Fastest LTE Speeds in the First Half of 2017
  2. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    T-Mobile has been solid. More so than a lot of the wifi networks I have access to.
  3. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Because they offer LTE in the least number of places across the US. Fairly easy to offer the highest speeds if you only need to supply it to major metro areas.
  4. geoff5093 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2014
    Dover, NH
    Here's hoping the iPhone 8/Edition has a high end modem like Android phones have.
  5. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
  6. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    In my area I'm more than happy with AT&T. Plus I would think they would be the first to roll out 5G LTE if that's such a thing.
  7. _Refurbished_, Sep 7, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017

    _Refurbished_ macrumors 68000


    Mar 23, 2007
    320 million people is a nationwide rollout, not just "metro" areas. The whole "metro" issue hasn't been true in about three years. 2017 TMobile is nothing like 2014 TMobile.

  8. yaxomoxay macrumors 68030


    Mar 3, 2010
    Not true at all.

    I have been a TMobile customer for a few years now and I don't plan to change it. Fantastic service, fair prices, TMobile Tuesdays, and free MLB TV !
  9. Sharkoneau macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2017
    Sprint, bringing you paleolithic download speeds and spotty coverage since the dawn of time.™
  10. ovo6 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 10, 2015
    Exactly I love att cuz of that but they need to step their game up if the want me to continue paying so much money or lower it if they don't have the fastest speed
  11. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Those speed differences are in consequential.

    I regard all of those as acceptable in fact and would not be disappointed with any of them.

    Quality of spectrum, coverage, and connection stability is where it really matters.
  12. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    Sorry, tmobile is a joke. Verizon rules because of their coverage.
  13. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Nothing wrong with T-Mobile provided you are in the right market.

    YMMV. T-Mobile is strong in my city and a viable alternative to my current carrier, AT&T.
  14. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
    I'll take a "joke" over money-gouging Verizon any day.

    Tmobile isn't perfect, but for the amount I pay, I have zero complaints.
  15. star_nerdy macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2017
    They also have the worst network in the country. I switched to T-mobile from AT&T and had to switch back. Their coverage across the country is awful. They work exceptionally well in many cities, but their service nationwide is spotty.

    I legitimately was afraid that I'd get stuck somewhere and be without service.
  16. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    That would be great if TMO had credible coverage.

    They’re catching up though, and the more competition the better.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 7, 2017 ---
    Most price comparisons I’ve done had T-MO & VZW within $5 or so of each other. Sometimes VZW was actually cheaper.

    YMMV of course.
  17. star_nerdy macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2017
    If you're in a city with good service, yeah T-mobile works great. Where my family is in north Denver, we would alternate between 1-2 bars of 4G or no service depending on where in the house you stood. The call quality was horrible to the point where I couldn't hear 30%-50% of what he said on calls. And when we went to a T-mobile store in a large shopping center, we had no service despite being next to a T-mobile store.

    I love how T-mobile rewards customers. Their prices are awesome and I really hope they expand coverage. But from what I've seen, their service is pretty bad. I drove cross country and felt it and I didn't believe my dad when he explained how bad his service was. But we had to switch because it was so awful.
  18. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    Definitely need your discounts on verizon. I have military and chase ink. It's set on autopay (for that discount) but I use the CC a few days prior. I'm around 200 for 6 lines and charge a 100 a month for two of them (parents). That's the unlimited plan from earlier in year.
  19. Stromos macrumors newbie


    Jul 1, 2016
    Reading the first few posts of people going on and on about how great T-Mobile is I don't get it. People say its changed and coverage isn't an issue anymore. I have coworkers on TMobile and my girlfriend is on it as well. We live in Atlanta. Not the middle of nowhere. Coworker can walk into our one story building in the Alpharetta tech corridor and completely lose signal with TMobile. Data center completely lose signal (VZ has 3G in the facility but there is at least something). I can say maybe once a week I don't have a dropped call from my girlfriends phone and we talk everyday. TMobiles spectrum is just **** at penetration. When you have any signal its fast. Getting signal and getting consistent signal is still a huge issue in a city that should have damn near perfect coverage by the way some people are talking praises about them.
  20. CrzyP macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2012
    Wow. T-Mobile is so much faster than Verizon...
  21. kmichalec macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2010
    Funny. I just drove from Detroit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and back, which is roughly 850 miles each way. My wife and kids were streaming Netflix/Amazon the whole way there and back, and only lost LTE coverage maybe 2-3 times for a minute or two on each leg of the trip (so maybe 20-25 miles worth of downtime). I guess I didn't realize all 850 miles was all "major metro areas", by your definition.

    Might I suggest you actually look into what things are really like, before you make ridiculous, untrue comments based on your opinion of the network status from years ago.
  22. gsmornot macrumors 68030


    Sep 29, 2014
    These towers are fed with fiber, the limitation has to be in the airwaves from either too many users or lack of spectrum. 20-25Mbps as a test speed is just not that fast. In day-to-day use its plenty for nearly anything a mobile phone is doing. Sure there are ways to use more than that but generally speaking its plenty. The bigger thing they should report on is latency. I want to see how quick the response is more than the top speed since that is a big part of the overall feel of the connection. If you can hit 50Mbps but have 400ms of latency the other guy with 25ms and 20Mbps is going to feel faster.
  23. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Fastests as long as you sat on the street corner that had service. Go up into the building on the street corner and poof!
  24. democracyrules macrumors 6502a

    Nov 18, 2016
    Fastest speed is nice but NOT good if weak or no signals in majority places outside metropolitan areas. The claim on the article needs be verified or audited by a reliable auditor like Big Four or ten accounting firms, Better Business Bureau Bureau, etc. The claim source should be from multiple reliable sources. The claim from Okla should be taken skeptically.

    T-Mobile keeps giving gimmicks to retain their customers from leaving them due to many inconveniences like weak or no signal outside metro areas, weak or no signal building penetration, narrower coverage, headaches during annual iPhone upgrade via Apple or the carrier themselves, etc.

    T-Mobile is cheap but it comes with many hidden inconveniences. Many cheap products or services generally come with hidden inconveniences. They could have a strength on their functions but not much on the other areas.

    Verizon is like Apple, premium service provider. T-Mobile is like Samsung or android.

    Fortunate for those who can afford Verizon/ Apple Wireless, including myself.
  25. JohnApples macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2014
    With today's plans, sure. I'm still on an older plan from ~2 years back and it doesn't even come close when compared to VZW's current plans.

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