Surprise, T-Mobile blows away the competition in 5G speeds

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T-Mobile 5G service
T-Mobile leapt ahead of its competition in 5G.
Photo: T-Mobile

T-Mobile is the carrier to go to for the fastest 5G speeds. A cross-country study of cellular data by PCMag found that AT&T and Verizon couldn’t match their rival’s average download speed. Not even close.

Lots of people bought an iPhone 12 for the 5G. And T-Mobile the carrier that lets users get the most benefit from it.

T-Mobile is tops in 5G speeds

A graph from PCMag’s Sasha Segan shows that T-Mobile once perpetually languished in third place but has now leapt ahead of the competition.

The results came from tests done in 30 cities and 6 rural regions. “T-Mobile took a commanding lead in 5G, winning 24 cities and rural regions to AT&T’s eight and Verizon’s two,” wrote Segan.

Across the entire series of tests — which involved driving 10,626 miles — T-Mobile’s average download speed was 162 Mbps. AT&T’s average was 98 Mbps and Verizon’s was 94 Mbps.

Note that this doesn’t carry over to 4G. T-Mobile still trails its competition in LTE.

5G is finally winning

The chief advantage of 5G is an increase in speed. But a few years ago when carriers were first rolling out their 5G networks it wasn’t unusual for 4G connections to be faster. That’s changed, with the study finding that T-Mobile’s and Verizon’s 5G networks are consistently the better options.

The exception is AT&T. PCMag’s real-world tests found many areas where this carrier’s 4G network is still faster on average than its 5G one.