According to RootMetrics (opens in new tab), which collects independent data on mobile network operators around the world, AT&T’s investment in infrastructure over the last year is paying off, with the carrier delivering speeds of 50 Mbps or faster in 20 more markets in 2020, compared to 2019.
AT&T registered speeds under 20 Mbps in only two out of 55 US cities covered by RootMetrics in the first quarter of 2020, a total matched by only Verizon (whilst Sprint registered speeds below 20 Mbps in 12 markets in 2020, with T-Mobile doing so in 27 of 55 cities tested).
"We found excellent and improved download speeds on the carrier’s 4G LTE network in the 55 markets we completed testing before we paused our scouting efforts," said Suzanth Subramaniyan, Director of Mobile Networks, RootMetrics. "And AT&T’s low-band 5G is also providing generally fast speeds – though not as fast as Verizon’s mmWave 5G)."
AT&T 5G performance was impressive, ranging from a high of 94.5 Mbps in Philadelphia, PA, to a low of 27.9 Mbps in Modesto, CA.
According to RootMetrics, speeds of 40 Mbps or better are a yardstick, as it allows for buffer-free video streaming, and AT&T clocked 5G median download speeds of 40 Mbps or better in 19 of its 26 markets with 5G, with speeds of at least 60 Mbps in 12 of those cities.
“AT&T has invested heavily in its 4G LTE network over the past year and a half, and we’ve seen faster connectivity in nearly every city we’ve tested this year,” said Subramaniyan.
AT&T’s technology upgrades
These speed improvements come off the back of heavy investment from AT&T over the past 18 months, and the increased use of 5-carrier aggregation (5CA) technology, which it pairs with 4x4 MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output). Together, these technologies increase capacity, improving efficiency, and lead to faster speeds on 4G LTE. (AT&T is currently the only carrier that can utilize 5-carrier aggregation on a wide scale.)
“The carrier’s 5G has also shown impressive speeds in several cities across the US," said Subramaniyan. "As 5G continues to grow, even better things could be ahead for consumers, but for now, AT&T subscribers in many cities could be enjoying faster speeds than ever before.”
Among the 55 cities tested so far in 2020, AT&T’s speeds improved in 51 of those markets, which was more than any other carrier (Sprint wasn’t far behind, with improvements in 47 markets). Even more impressive is that AT&T’s median download speeds jumped by at least 15 Mbps in 22 of those cities.
RootMetrics completes testing in 55 cities before having to pause its testing efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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