So far, Verizon is holding on tight to its network crown, with the latest RootMetrics report underscoring Verizon’s lead in the Los Angeles market, where Verizon took home six out of seven RootScore awards, including overall performance and network reliability.
The report also verified what is fairly well-known: Verizon’s 5G is super-fast, clocking 254.7 Mbps in median download speed in LA. Sprint had a 5G median download speed of 61.8 Mbps, while AT&T delivered 37.5 Mbps and T-Mobile had 24.3 Mbps.
On the LTE side, Verizon’s median download speed was 36.9 Mbps, with AT&T in a close second place with 35.5 Mbps. Sprint had 33.0 Mbps for a median LTE download speed while T-Mobile wasn’t so great, delivering 16.4 Mbps on LTE.
But Verizon’s 5G is hard to come by. The low-band spectrum used by AT&T and T-Mobile for 5G and the mid-band spectrum used by Sprint offer broader coverage. In fact, Verizon’s 5G availability in LA was a mere 0.3% compared to 32.1% for T-Mobile’s 5G, 25.1% for Sprint’s 5G and 18.3% for AT&T’s 5G in LA.
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Los Angeles stands apart as one of a few cities where consumers can find 5G from all four major carriers. RootMetrics collected the LA data before most everything shut down; the company has put its physical data collection on hold due to the pandemic.
What about those T-Mobile plans?
Earlier this year, executives at T-Mobile boasted about plans to leapfrog the competition by combining the mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum and network assets of Sprint with its own 600 MHz, 1.9 GHz and other assets.
At a Citi investor conference way, way back in January, T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray pledged to not only take on but surpass the two largest rivals: “I want to be sitting here this time next year with you talking about this tremendous network which is literally kicking the ass out of AT&T and Verizon, because their plans cannot match what we can do with the combination with Sprint. We’re ready to go.”
RootMetrics already sees trends that would confirm what Ray was saying. The companies have been working on the transition for a long time now – the proposed transaction with Sprint was in play for about two years – and they had time to plan for the integration of the networks and get handsets seeded into the market.
“Our trends show that T-Mobile is becoming a fierce competitor towards AT&T and Verizon,” especially with the addition of the Sprint assets, said RootMetrics Chief Commercial Officer Kevin Hasley.
T-Mobile already is pretty much nailing it on 5G coverage, he said, and with the addition of Sprint, which is showing up as one of the fastest carriers on 5G, that’s only going to help in its mission.
“They’re going to be a dominant force in the future,” Hasley said. “I don’t think COVID-19 is going to disrupt that in any capacity… It looks like we have a three-horse race that’s actually heating up right now.”
A T-Mobile spokesperson told FierceWireless that its network build is continuing on track and it continues to conduct necessary network activity to both maintain its network and expand capacity, be that LTE or 5G.
The team has “already hit the ground running and are looking to immediately begin deploying more mid-band spectrum across the U.S. so we can bring the world’s most transformative 5G network to the U.S. as fast as possible,” the spokesperson added.