According to a new report from OpenSignal, T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) LTE network provides the fastest average download speeds at 11.5 Mbps. Those speeds were faster than the 9.12 Mbps that AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) provided, the 7.82 Mbps that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) provided, and the 4.32 Mbps that Sprint (NYSE:S) provided.
However, according OpenSignal's report, LTE speeds in the United States were among the slowest around the world--only carriers in the Philippines provided slower average speeds. The firm's latest "State of LTE" report, which is based on data from 6 million OpenSignal LTE users, found that average speeds in the United States clocked in at around 6.5 Mbps, faster only than the Philippines' 5.3 Mbps. Australia provided the fastest average speeds of those countries measured, at 24.5 Mbps. However, OpenSignal pointed out that U.S. LTE speeds were dragged down by some carriers that provided noticeably slower speeds than others--like MetroPCS, which was acquired by T-Mobile last year and only offered LTE services on slivers of 5 MHz spectrum.
Moreover, since LTE has been available in the United States for years, a large number of Americans are now weighing down LTE networks in the United States with data traffic. Indeed, OpenSignal found that the United States was No. 6 in terms of time spent on LTE. In the firm's measurement of that figure, U.S. wireless users who connected to LTE networks did so 67 percent of the time, indicating that LTE services are relatively widely available. South Korean wireless customers spend the greatest percentage of time on LTE connections at 91 percent of the time, while the Philippines came in last at 38 percent of the time.
U.S. wireless operators have put a significant amount of time and money into building out their LTE networks. Verizon kicked off the LTE race in 2010 with its buildout, which is now largely complete and stretches to around 305 million people. T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint are in various stages of the respective LTE buildouts, and largely expect to complete their initial LTE builds within the next year or so.
T-Mobile, which clocked the fastest LTE network in OpenSignal's report, is deploying LTE on its AWS spectrum in relatively wide channel blocks of 10x10 MHz and, in some cases, 20x20 MHz. Sprint, on the other hand, is using smaller, 5x5 MHz blocks, which could explain its slower LTE speeds.
Although Verizon came in No. 3 in OpenSignal's rankings, the carrier's position could change as it deploys LTE more broadly in its AWS spectrum. Indeed, the carrier said it recorded average download speeds of around 24 Mbps during a recent test at the Super Bowl, thanks to its AWS deployment near the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
- see this OpenSignal report
Verizon: We provided 24 Mbps speeds during Super Bowl, faster than AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile
Super Bowl XLVIII: How did Tier 1 wireless carriers' networks hold up?
Verizon adds 1.7M subs in Q4, powered by LTE