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Ranked: The U.S. Carriers With The Fastest Mobile Data Speeds

One carrier is the clear winner in both 3G and 4G download speeds

[Photo: courtesy of T-Mobile]

The U.S. has four major national mobile network providers—all of which claim their network is the best…at something. But if you are looking for the carrier with the best 3G and 4G download speeds, look no further than T-Mobile, according to a report from OpenSignal.

The mobile operator analytics firm collected its data from 181,927 US devices running its app between October 1 through December 31, 2015. Out of that large sample size, it found that when 3G download speeds were taken into account, T-Mobile was the clear winner with an average speed of 3.5Mbps. AT&T took second place with an average speed of 2.2Mbps. Verizon and Sprint finished a pathetic third and fourth with 0.66 Mbps and 0.64Mbps, respectively.

But when OpenSignal looked at 4G download speeds, the scoreboards shifted. T-Mobile still lead the pack with an average download speed of 12.26Mbps, but Verizon wasn’t far behind with an average download speed of 11.98Mbps. AT&T, however, didn’t fare as well, with an average download speed of only 7.93Mbps. As for Sprint—it just can’t catch a break. Its average 4G download speed was 6.56Mbps.

But while T-Mobile wins in both 3G and 4G download speeds, it only ranks third in 4G coverage uptime—the percentage of time subscribers have a connection to its 4G network. T-Mobile scored 81.23% for 4G coverage uptime, while Verizon got top marks at 86.73%. AT&T placed second at 82.63% and poor Sprint placed last at 70.05%.

Other interesting stats from OpenSignal’s report mention that while the U.S. has an average 4G download speed of 9.9 Mbps, we lag behind the global average of 13.5 Mbps. However, our 81% average of 4G network uptime across the country is something only seven other countries can boast about.