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T-Mobile is best mobile network in all categories but one, OpenSignal says

Christian de Looper
Cell tower FM radio

T-Mobile is on the way up. OpenSignal’s latest State of Mobile Networks report delves into struggles that the likes of Verizon have been having of late — and it seems as though T-Mobile is picking up a lot of the slack.

Verizon and AT&T’s data speeds took a bit of a hit when they first started offering unlimited data plans, we previously reported, though their speeds now seem to be recovering — even if only slightly. According to the report, T-Mobile has established itself as the fastest and most responsive mobile network around in the meantime. In fact, T-Mobile took  all of OpenSignal’s awards except for one — 4G latency, which was won by AT&T, though T-Mobile came in a close second. T-Mobile even managed to set a personal record in the fourth quarter of 2017, hitting an average download high of 19.4 Mbps. (And we picked T-Mob’s “One Unlimited Plan” as the best unlimited data plan.)

Interestingly enough, Sprint is also showing signs of life. OpenSignal’s report showed some pretty big gains by the company in both data speeds and LTE availability in the past year. That’s good news for Sprint, which has reportedly seen customers leave in droves over the past few years.

According to OpenSignal, 2018 could be a pretty unpredictable year for mobile networks. T-Mobile may be a dominant player right now, but competition is heating up, especially as we head into the deployment of 5G. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have all said that they’ll begin rollout of 5G networks toward the end of this year, and T-Mobile says that it’s targeting a full rollout by 2020.

As OpenSignal notes, however, Verizon has a history of making big moves under pressure. The company was the first to launch its LTE network, and in 2013, when its 4G network was under strain, it launched a major upgrade that reinstated its high speeds. The same thing seems to be happening now — and we’ll have to wait and see how Verizon responds.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher in 2018. The first 5G networks may still be years away, but the foundations of those 5G services will be built on the 4G infrastructure we use today. The more power the operators build into their LTE systems, the better prepared they’ll be to offer the next generation of mobile services,” said OpenSignal in its report.