AT&T and Sprint Deliver Most Improved Download Speeds
Mobile internet speeds have improved across the board, but Opensignal finds that AT&T and Sprint saw particularly steep increases in download speed in the last half of 2019. Since July 2019, the 4G LTE download speeds on both networks jumped 22% for an average of 27.5 Mbps on AT&T and 23.9 Mbps on Sprint. While T-Mobile and Verizon registered smaller jumps, their average download speeds still come in at an impressive 25.8 Mbps and 25.3 Mbps.
July 2019 Download Speed Experience
In July 2019, Opensignal found that T-Mobile had the fastest 4G LTE download speeds of all four major carriers. T-Mobile took the crown with an average download speed of 23.6 Mbps across both urban and rural markets. AT&T and Sprint (the most improved networks in January 2020) lagged behind T-Mobile and Verizon, with average download speeds of just 22.5 Mbps and 19.2 Mbps.
January 2020 Download Speed Experience
By January 2020, the leaderboard for average mobile download speed looks very different. With an average download speed of 27.5 Mbps, AT&T has pulled ahead of the rest of the competition. Its closest competitor, T-Mobile, lags 1.7 Mbps behind AT&T. There’s also a much smaller gap between Sprint and the rest of the competition. While Sprint lagged 3.7 Mbps behind Verizon in July 2019, its average is now within 1.4 Mbps of AT&T’s average.
Mobile Download Speeds in Urban Areas
Mobile download speeds vary significantly based on how far the user is from the closest cell tower, as well as the potential speed of that tower (which depends on whether it was built for long-range or short-range transmissions). These factors work to the advantage of people who live in urban areas, which tend to have a high concentration of short-range towers.
A report by Ookla SpeedTest found that, in the first half of 2019, the mean download speed across all networks in competitive areas was 33.88 Mbps. This mean is significantly higher than the average download speed across all networks in all areas calculated by Opensignal, and it highlights the big difference between download speeds in urban and rural areas.
Mobile Download Speeds in Rural Areas
While 4G LTE coverage is now strong in rural areas for all major carriers, the slower download speeds in these areas still leaves many people behind. One in four people in rural areas say they can’t find fast enough internet where they live and almost as many say they never go online because they can’t get a good connection.
While Opensignal finds that AT&T has the fastest mobile internet speeds of all major carriers, rural internet users who struggle to see faster speeds may be more interested to know which provider offers the most consistent mobile internet experience where they live. To find out, use our coverage check or give us a call to explore fixed wireless internet options in your area.