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T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T: 2023's first 5G speed war ends in a bloodbath


T-Mobile has kicked off 2023 in a very similar fashion as 2022, getting a lot of bad press for the latest in a long line of security incidents, the latest round in a long line of post-Sprint merger layoffs, and the latest slap on the wrist in a long line of "recommendations" to stop or modify its hyperbolic advertising.


At the same time, the "Un-carrier" also continues to do what it does best, crushing its arch-rivals in pretty much all the nationwide speed tests and network availability evaluations conducted by the top analytics firms out there.


Hot on Ookla's heels, Opensignal is today ready to share not one but two new user experience reportshighlighting T-Mo's extended dominance of the US wireless industry across most key performance indicators. The research is based on data gathered in all states between September 16 and December 14, 2022, strongly suggesting the overall heavyweight champion will not have its title challenged by the end of 2023 (at the very least).


Four different speed battles, one single winner


While the (not so) secret recipe for a great mobile network is undeniably composed of many ingredients, most smartphone users primarily look at download speeds when appraising an operator's (and even a handset's) quality.



Believe it or not, T-Mobile comes out as the winner of this key battle as far as 5G technology is concerned for the seventh (!!!) consecutive time, once again improving its score from 150 Mbps early last year to 186.3 Mbps now and consolidating a lead over Verizon and AT&T that's simply impossible to describe using any hyperbolic labels known to man.


Hefty? Towering? Lofty? Devastating? None of those words are "big" enough for an advantage of over 100 Mbps. We repeat, both Verizon and AT&T are at least 100 Mbps behind T-Mobile in 5G download speeds as of December 2022, facing a mission that would stump even Tom Cruise in their pursuit for supremacy competitiveness.


The gap is slightly smaller in the overall download speed "experience" section, but with a 79.5 Mbps average, Magenta looks mighty hard to beat for the foreseeable future from that standpoint as well.



Disregarded by certain users, overall upload speeds and 5G upload speeds are clearly important for many others, like YouTubers and video content creators in general, all of whom are also better served (statistically speaking) by T-Mobile than Verizon and AT&T.


What about everything else?


Of all the other network experience "ingredients" measured by Opensignal researchers, T-Mobile wins the nationwide taste contest in overall consistency, video, gaming, voice app, 5G availability, and 5G reach, leaving Verizon with just three gold medals and AT&T with a single title.


What's perhaps more important to mention is T-Mo's huge lead in both 5G availability and 5G reach, which should translate in a much higher real-life likelihood of obtaining (and retaining for a longer period of time) a high-speed cellular signal in most parts of the US right now.



Interestingly, the overall coverage crown sits on AT&T's metaphorical head, although as you can imagine, the differences between the combined penetration of the big three carriers' 3G, 4G LTE, and 5G signals are minimal at most in this day and age.


Regardless of your mobile network operator of choice, there's almost no place in the US where you can't get some type of service today, and Opensignal's 98 to 99.3 percent coverage numbers for T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T seem to very accurately reflect that situation.



While perhaps not as flashy as some of Magenta's latest gold medals, Big Red's three different 5G titles are definitely nothing to scoff at, representing the basis for what could become a truly great high-speed network... whenever speeds will ultimately be improved.


Last but not least, T-Mobile can also be proud of taking Opensignal's two consistency trophies home, thus guaranteeing, well, a more "consistent" network experience (both on 4G and 5G) in everything from video conference calls to gaming, web browsing, and good old fashioned voice calls. At the end of the day, there's simply no way to look at these reports and reach a conclusion that doesn't include T-Mobile's name and the word "winner."

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