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T-Mobile wins top honors in Q1 5G speedtest

T-Mobile once again blew past AT&T and Verizon to win Ookla’s Q1 2023 Speedtest ratings. Ookla deemed T-Mobile to be the fastest mobile operator in 46 states and the District of Columbia as well as the fastest in 88 of the 100 most populous cities in the U.S.

This was a slight improvement over Q4 2022 when Ookla designated T-Mobile the fastest mobile network provider in 45 states and the District of Columbia and the fastest in 86 of the 100 most populous U.S. cities.

According to Ookla, T-Mobile logged a median download speed of 165.22 Mbps, which is more than double Verizon’s median download speed of 75.40 Mbps and AT&T’s median download speed of 68.20 Mbps. T-Mobile’s median download speed of 165.22 Mbps was an increase from its Q4 2022 download speed of 151.37 Mbps. Verizon and AT&T also improved in Q1 with Verizon increasing its median download speed from 69.01 Mbps in Q4 to 75.40 Mbps in Q1 and AT&T improving its median download speed from 65.57 Mbps in Q4 to 68.20 Mbps in Q1.

In upload speeds, T-Mobile also leads AT&T and Verizon with a median upload speed of 12.99 Mbps compared to Verizon with 9.87 Mbps and AT&T with 8.14 Mbps.

For 5G specifically, T-Mobile also came in first place. Ookla reported T-Mobile 5G download speeds of 220.70 Mbps in Q1, an increase from 216.56 Mbps in Q4. Verizon came in second place with 5G download speeds of 132.72 Mbps in Q1, an increase from 127.95 Mbps in Q4 2022 and AT&T came in third place with 5G download speeds of 86.46 Mbps, up from 85.39 Mbps in Q4 2022.

In terms of overall median multi-server latency, T-Mobile leads with a latency of just 55 milliseconds and Verizon comes in second with a latency of 57 seconds. AT&T was in third place with a median latency of 60 milliseconds.

However, when measuring 5G latency specifically, Verizon actually holds a slight lead over T-Mobile in that category with a latency of 52.53 milliseconds and T-Mobile had a 5G median latency of 53.17 milliseconds. AT&T had a latency of 59 milliseconds.

However, Ookla CTO Luke Deryckx, said that it is important to note that the overall difference in latency between T-Mobile and Verizon is quite small. “Both operators are making network improvements to enhance their consumers' experience in regards to latency. This is important, as more consumer use cases demand consistent low latency connections. I expect to see this trend of prioritizing latency and responsiveness in network design and optimization to continue,” Deryckx said.

He also added that as operators move to standalone 5G networks, there is the opportunity for major improvements to latency and network responsiveness. “We will be keeping a close eye on these metrics,” he added.

T-Mobile’s lead over its competitors in the Ookla Speedtest results are likely a result of the company’s early lead in its mid-band 5G deployment. When T-Mobile acquired Sprint in 2020 it also acquired that company’s abundance of 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum. At the end of 2022 T-Mobile said it covered 260 million people with its mid-band 5G.

Meanwhile, Verizon has covered 200 million people with its mid-band 5G network, which it is deploying in the 3.7 GHz C-band spectrum. The operator has said it plans to cover 250 million people by the end of 2024.

AT&T’s mid-band 5G strategy uses both C-band spectrum and 3.45 GHz spectrum. The company has said it will cover at least 200 million people with its mid-band 5G by the end of 2023.

Speedy Samsung

Ookla also measured the download speeds of the most popular smartphones in the U.S. and found that Samsung devices outshine Apple and deliver the fastest median download speeds in the U.S. at 91.57 Mbps in Q1, which is an increase from 79.43 Mbps in Q4. Apple device had a median download speed of 76.92 Mbps.

And when it comes to specific smartphone models, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the fastest with a median download speed of 161. 86 Mbps. The fastest Apple device is the iPhone 14 Pro Max with a median download speed of 130.99 Mbps.

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