4G LTE Availability Now Tops 90% on All Networks

While some people struggle for 4G LTE coverage, others struggle to stay connected to 4G LTE where there is coverage. All too often, overloaded 4G LTE networks bump users down to 3G when network traffic is high. Luckily, things are changing. For the first time, Opensignal finds that all four major mobile internet networks have 4G LTE availability at least 90% of the time.

4G LTE Availability in January 2020

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In its January 2020 report, Opensignal finds that Verizon and T-Mobile lead the way on 4G LTE availability. People who purchase a 4G LTE subscription from either carrier now have access to 4G LTE more than 95% of the time (95.9% on Verizon and 95.4% on T-Mobile). That’s a slight but significant improvement over July 2019, when Verizon 4G LTE subscribers had access to 4G LTE 94.8% of the time and T-Mobile subscribers had access 94.2% of the time.

4G LTE Availability in July 2019

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While Verizon and T-Mobile are the first carriers to push 4G LTE availability past the 95% mark, AT&T and Sprint actually made bigger gains on 4G LTE availability since July 2019. While Verizon and T-Mobile increased their availability about 1% since then, AT&T’s availability increased 3.3% – from 89.6% to 92.9%. Sprint’s availability jumped 3%, from 89.5% to 92.5%

4G LTE Coverage Experience Across Networks

So, what happens now when 4G LTE networks get overloaded with users (during the 2020 coronavirus crisis, for example)? The answer varies by network. In its January 2020 report, Opensignal also takes a look at “coverage experience,” which measures 4G LTE availability in locations with heavy network traffic. Coverage experience is a relative scale that tests the capacity of different 4G LTE networks in busy urban and rural areas across the country.

Opensignal finds that not only does Verizon have the best 4G LTE availability, it also handles heavy traffic better than any other carrier. With a coverage experience score of 9.7 out of 10, Verizon is least likely to bump users down to 3G when 4G LTE gets busy. As a result, internet speeds and performance are more consistent on its network.

AT&T places second on coverage experience, with a score of 9.3 out of 10. Even though AT&T has lower 4G LTE availability than T-Mobile (89.6% compared to 95.4%), it actually scored higher than T-Mobile on coverage experience (9.3 compared to 8.7). This means that AT&T’s 4G LTE availability depends less on network traffic and more on other network factors.

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Are you struggling with 4G LTE availability or coverage experience? Check out OpenSignal’s regional availability breakdown to see which carriers score highest where you live.