Ookla has used the huge amount of data it compiles from internet access performance tests carried out on Speedtest.net, which is owned by PCMag’s parent company, Ziff Davis, to rate the mobile performance of the US for 2019. The good news is, speeds are improving significantly.
In order to assess the state of mobile performance, Ookla relied on data from over 4.1 million unique devices, 11.5 million consumer-initiated speed tests, and 4.9 billion data points collected during the first half of 2019. What the overall results show is that mobile download speeds have increased by 24 percent compared to the same period last year, with the mean average now being 33.88Mbps. For upload speeds, the improvement is 13 percent, a mean average of 9.75Mbps.
For overall network performance AT&T came out on top as the fastest, achieving a Speed Score of 32.91. That’s a 45.1 percent improvement over last year. T-Mobile came in second, Verizon was third, and Sprint came in 4th and last. However, Sprint has seen the biggest year-on-year speed improvement, so it will be interesting to see if that continues into 2020.
Speed is great, but it’s nothing without a reliable connection. For consistency, the results are quite different with Ookla determining a reliable connection as one being able to consistently deliver 5Mbps or higher speeds. The most consistent network in 2019 is Verizon, with T-Mobile coming in second, AT&T third, and Sprint last once again.
Focusing in on LTE specifically, Ookla looked at which network kept you connected via 4G for the longest period of time. Verizon once again came out on top, with T-Mobile second, Sprint third, and AT&T coming in last. Verizon also came top for lowest level of no coverage (AT&T was second, Sprint third, and T-Mobile last). Looking at the whole of the US including rural areas, Verizon offered the best 4G coverage, with Sprint second, T-Mobile third, and AT&T last.
Ookla also had the data available to focus in on the most popular flagship phones at the moment and where they enjoy the best overall experience. So if you own a Samsung Galaxy S10+ or an iPhone XS Max, the best experience is had on AT&T, with T-Mobile second, Sprint third, and Verizon last.
Ultimately, these results must be viewed with consideration of where you are in the US. Ookla also looked at speeds per state and the fastest providers and best coverage per city. For state speed, Rhode Island came out top, followed by Minnesota, the District of Columbia, Delaware, and Massachusetts. For slowest states, Wyoming takes that crown, followed by Mississippi, Iowa, Alaska, and Oklahoma.
Looking specifically at the 100 most populous cities, Minneapolis offered the fastest download speeds while Laredo was the slowest city. AT&T is the fastest mobile operator in 52 of the largest cities, Verizon in 20 cities, T-Mobile in 16 cities, and Sprint in 10 cities.
Ookla believes the rollout of 5G over the next 12 months could have a major impact on the speeds and coverage we see next year. The results above show it’s certainly quite a mixed bag for 4G coverage and as expected, highly dependent on where you live. For full details of the results, visit Ookla’s latest Speedtest reports page for the US.