Just a little over a month after seeing it T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T has unveiled its 5G network expansion and upgrade plans for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. It is time to reconsider the current status, performance, and potential of these networks in the real world.
Of course, the speed, availability, and reliability tests routinely performed by RootMetrics are not always fully representative of the real-world experience of smartphone users, but these independent reports, without a doubt, remain our best indicator of the amazing progress that is being made by the entire US cellular industry.
5G speeds are on the rise, but the fastest carrier might surprise you
At least for the time being and at least in these 45 markets, Ma Bell’s combination of extensive low-band spectrum and limited mmWave technology proves the success strategy. Granted, we’re not talking about a crushing victory over T-Mobile and Verizon, but AT & T’s 31 cities with average 5G download speeds between 50 and 100 Mbps beat the total of the two arch-rivals in the same section.
Perhaps even more impressive was that AT&T was able to deliver “the absolute best 5G speed experience” in a total of 14 cities, compared to just six and three for T-Mobile and Verizon, respectively. This indicator combines the median with the speed of the 5th percentile and the 95th percentile to give a more realistic view of different usage scenarios, ranging from the best to the worst on a given day.
The 5G availability and reliability wars produce different winners
In the meantime, T-Mobile still has plenty of room for improvement in the area of speed in order to meet the high availability figures for services. The same goes for the reliability of 5G, where AT&T and Verizon currently share their industry leadership status.
Combining the two factors (connecting and staying connected), all three cellular network operators excelled and delivered “generally exceptional” 5G data reliability. But AT & T shone (slightly) brighter than Verizon, which in turn put T-Mobile clearly in the shade.