T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T battling it out over 5G download speeds, video and gaming

An Opensignal report found T-Mobile leading the way in 5G download speeds while Verizon dominated with 5G voice apps.
Written by Jonathan Greig, Contributor

The major telecoms in the US are in fierce competition over 5G, according to a new report from mobile analytics company Opensignal. 

According to consumers, in the new "5G User Experience Report July 2021" from Opensignal principal technical analyst Francesco Rizzato, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T are all succeeding in different areas of the 5G space in the US. 

T-Mobile led the pack when it came to 5G download speeds, with users reporting an average speed of 87.5 Mbps, far ahead of AT&T and Verizon's 52.3 Mbps. This is the third report that T-Mobile has led the other companies in download speeds. 

Users also reported that T-Mobile was better than the others when it came to 5G availability and reach. Both T-Mobile and AT&T saw increases in how consumers rated them in both categories, while Verizon saw decreases in their scores. The study measures availability by the proportion of time that 5G users have an active 5G connection. Reach is calculated using the proportion of locations a 5G user visits with a 5G signal. 

T-Mobile leads the way with 5G upload speeds as well, with scores of 15.1 Mbps, but Verizon is not far behind at 14.2 Mbps, according to users surveyed by Opensignal. 

AT&T and Verizon users did see some benefits, with both companies getting high marks for their 5G video experience. Verizon users said the company had improved its 5G gaming experience and the 5G voice app experience. 5G gaming experience is judged by how the multiplayer mobile gaming experience is affected by mobile network conditions like "latency, packet loss and jitter to determine the impact on gameplay and the overall multiplayer gaming experience."

The user experience with voice apps on 5G was measured based on the "quality of experience real-time communications using over-the-top voice apps" like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

"T-Mobile maintains a clear edge on our two measures of a network's extent -- 5G availability and 5G reach -- as well as a firm lead on 5G download speed and 5G upload speed. On the other hand, we keep seeing a two-horse race between AT&T and Verizon for our three experiential measures -- 5G video experience, 5G games experience and 5G voice app experience," Rizzato explained.


"Our T-Mobile users spent more time connected to 5G than we have measured before, reaching 36.3% of the time with 5G service. Also, they benefit from the ongoing deployment of T-Mobile's 2.5 GHz spectrum, which pushed up the average 5G download speed experienced by 5G users to an impressive 87.5 Mbps -- around 35.2 Mbps faster than AT&T and Verizon 5G users. However, our T-Mobile users also observed very slight declines of between 1% and 3% in their average 5G video, 5G games and 5G voice app experience compared with Opensignal's previous report."

AT&T users reported improvements with 5G availability and reach but dinged the company for its lackluster video, gaming and voice app experiences and worse 5G download and upload speeds. 

Verizon similarly struggled with gaming, voice app experience, video and availability, with Opensignal attributing the declining scores to "more users connecting to 5G, as well as users spending more time outdoors and traveling to more locations during the spring, compared to winter months, where Verizon hasn't rolled out its 5G network yet."

T-Mobile users said they were connected to 5G 36.3% of the time, according to Opensignal, while AT&T users were connected 22.5% of the time. Verizon was at 11.2% availability. 

The report also looked at how 5G is experienced by people in different states, chronicling the 5G coverage in 30 states. 

"T-Mobile dominates Opensignal's regional 5G awards on both measures of the extent of 5G networks. In fact, T-Mobile wins all of the 5G availability and 5G reach awards outright. In 11 states, our T-Mobile users spent 40% or more of their time connected to 5G. By contrast, AT&T clocked up 5G Availability scores above 30% in only three states, while Verizon's highest 5G Availability score was 16.9% -- measured in Illinois," the report said. 

"5G video experience was a two-horse race between AT&T and Verizon as they share victory in 24 states. Of the remaining six states in our analysis, AT&T wins outright in New York, North Carolina and Ohio, Verizon is the sole winner in Colorado, while AT&T and Verizon share the win with T-Mobile in Alabama and Kansas." 


Verizon managed to win 21 regional awards for 5G gaming experience, and AT&T won the award in Texas. Verizon managed to get higher Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon and Utah scores than either company did in any other state.  

There was a notable difference in the fastest average 5G download speed, with T-Mobile topping 130 Mbps in New York, Virginia and Maryland. 

AT&T only got a score above 70 Mbps in Maryland, and Verizon didn't get any scores above 70 Mbps in any state. 

The same goes for 5G upload speeds, with T-Mobile being the only company to get 20 Mbps or more. 

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