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T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T: final H1 2022 5G test results are in... and they're pretty great

Even though we've seen several different analytics firms in the last few weeks put together a whole bunch of different reports comparing and contrasting the mobile network experience delivered by the big three US carriers, RootMetrics may have just come out with the ultimate evaluation of the nationwide 5G landscape during the first half of 2022.

We're talking about that entire six-month period here, mind you, covered on foot and behind the wheel both in broad daylight and at night, using the "latest Samsung Galaxy 5G-enabled smartphones" across the most populated 125 metropolitan markets stateside.

The conclusions of these incredibly rigorous and undoubtedly reliable new measurements are... far from surprising, especially if you've been following the company's past biannual "state of 5G" reports, as well as similar speed, availability, and reliability tests conducted by the likes of Opensignal or Ookla.

There can be only one winner

And its name is T-Mobile. Don't act shocked now, as the "Un-carrier" is simply retaining its 5G availability and 5G speed crowns from the second half of last year.

What might be a little unexpected is that Magenta has somehow managed to extend its lead over the competition (yet again) in both categories, boosting its tally of regional 5G availability and 5G speed titles from an already impressive 83 and 48 in H2 2021 to 100 and 75 now.

Put simply, T-Mo currently offers the best 5G availability in a whopping 100 of the nation's 125 most populated areas, with its blazing fast signal registering a mind-blowing availability record of 99.3 percent in McAllen, Texas, whose residents essentially never have to settle for outdated 4G LTE connectivity anymore.

Meanwhile, Fayetteville, North Carolina leads the 75 markets where T-Mobile delivers the highest 5G download speeds with, in lack of a better word, a mind-blowing median score of 410 Mbps (!!!). T-Mo incredibly exceeds 200 Mbps download figures in 59 of those 75 cities, including 16 where the median result is higher than 300 Mbps.

But because there's no such thing as a perfect carrier (at least not yet), T-Mobile continues to suffer when it comes to 5G data reliability, a category where Verizon is still number one, with 95 individual trophies, followed by AT&T with a solid 70 titles of its own.

Although generally regarded as a less meaningful measure of network performance than speed and availability by "everyday" users, reliability is also definitely important, basically completing the picture by assessing how easily it is to both get and stay connected to a certain signal out in the real world.

Everyone is improving on every level

While we all love a good fight and the main point of these in-depth tests is clearly to name a winner and two losers, the general progress of the US wireless industry as a whole benefits pretty much everyone.

T-Mobile, Verizon, and yes, even AT&T are all making great progress across the board, slowly but surely paving the way for a (not so distant) future of faster, broader, and more reliable 5G experiences for all mobile users nationwide.

AT&T, for instance, which might seem like the market's biggest loser at first glance, continues to step up its 5G availability in "many cities" while delivering "particularly good" reliability results and... still suffering from a 5G speed perspective largely due to its late mid-band adoption and sluggish initial C-Band rollouts.

Because Verizon is moving a lot faster on the C-Band deployment front, its 5G speed scores have already substantially improved in many areas and should continue to do so over the next few months (even years), undoubtedly building the pressure on T-Mobile to keep up its own progress rate.

Remarkably, that's exactly what the "Un-carrier" has apparently done since H2 2021, further boosting its already industry-leading use of fast and broad mid-band spectrum by "roughly" 20 percent, which explains that continuous rise in 5G speeds.

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