The latest in a loooooong line of independent reports evaluating T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T's 5G networks based on several different performance indicators is today out, making this feel like an ideal time to change the order of the three top US wireless service providers a little in the headlines of our articles covering these in-depth studies and extensive nationwide tests.
Despite its steady lead in subscriber numbers, it doesn't seem fair anymore to nominate Verizon ahead of T-Mobile given the latter's broadly documented, and according to multiple analytics firms, rapidly growing 5G availability and 5G speed dominance.
AT&T is itself making a rather surprising push to move up the list, although we'll obviously have to see the nation's third-largest carrier (by users) eclipse Verizon in more than one report before concluding Big Red's place is actually at the bottom of the chart.
Six out of eight possible trophies make a very worthy overall winner
Let's be honest, it's no longer shocking to see T-Mobile outshine its wireless industry rivals in 5G network performance "audit reports" like the one published by umlaut today after conducting no less than 3 billion (!!!) measurements with the help of nearly 600,000 real-world 5G users between November 22, 2021 and May 8, 2022.
After all, the same research firm ranked Magenta well ahead of Big Red and Ma Bell in its overall "5G Score" assessment back in October 2021 as well.
But it is at least a little surprising that T-Mo managed to extend its total 5G network performance advantage over both AT&T and Verizon during a time of C-Band deployments and important (theoretical) coverage expansions for said silver and bronze medalists.
Magenta's score was the only one of the three to increase in these six months, from 700 to 724 points (on a 1000 scale), while Verizon took such a big hit (from 611 to 555) that AT&T moved up to second place despite registering a dip of its own (from 590 to 569).
Perhaps even more impressively (although once again not very shockingly), T-Mobile is the champion of 5G coverage, 5G stability, active 5G download speed, active 5G upload speed, and above all, 5G reliability, leaving just two titles for Verizon.
That's actually up from zero last fall, but only because umlaut used to award just four trophies until today, ignoring the 5G latency aspect and putting all 5G speeds together in one big category rather than separately measuring uploads, as well as active and passive downloads.
How important is 5G reliability?
Given that T-Mobile is flaunting its latest title of "most reliable 5G network" in the US as the crowning achievement in this umlaut study, we're definitely looking at a fundamental performance ingredient here.
In case you're wondering, 5G reliability combines multiple smaller indicators like the time spent connected to 5G, 5G average data rate, and 5G transaction success to produce a score arguably more illustrative of real-life user experiences than cold hard speeds and availability.
Finally, the key claim T-Mo is making today (with relevant evidence) is identical with an advertising statement the "Un-carrier" was asked to discontinue last year following an AT&T complaint, which clearly makes this new win that much sweeter for the overall 5G heavyweight champion of the United States of America.