A new report testing 5G network performance across 45 US cities, released today by RootMetrics, has credited AT&T as currently winning the US 5G race. The report shows AT&T 5G has superior 5G download speeds and reliability, while T-Mobile has the best 5G network availability.
The best 5G speed experience will be one in where a carrier delivers fast speeds across all three metrics in the same city: 5th percentile, median, and 95th percentile. So, RootMetrics looked at the number of markets in which the carriers clocked not only the fastest 5G median download speed, but also the fastest best- and worst-case 5G download speeds.
"AT&T led the competition, delivering a combination of the fastest worst-case, median, and best-case 5G download speeds together in 14 cities," the report summarised. "T-Mobile registered the fastest speeds across all three metrics in six markets, while Verizon did so in three cities."
In its 5G research, RootMetrics found that AT&T's 5G was faster overall, delivering median download speeds of 50 to 100 Mbit/s in 31 markets. T-Mobile 5G did this in 11 markets and Verizon 5G in ten. The report also highlighted that AT&T provides a higher floor, in the sense of its 5th-percentile 5G speeds being faster than both T-Mobile and Verizon's.
T-Mobile was the only of the three 5G networks on test to offer 5G in all of the 45 cities where RootMetrics tested. AT&T offered 5G in 44 and Verizon in 43. However, AT&T was found to offer a slightly more reliable 5G service, both in terms of connecting to a 5G signal and staying on it, than both T-Mobile and Verizon.
“From a market count perspective, AT&T registered 5G data reliability success rates of 99.5% or better for getting connected in the most markets at 40. In terms of staying connected, AT&T also had the most markets with 5G data reliability success rates above 99.5%, with 34. The competition in both measures of 5G data reliability, however, was close,” stated RootMetrics.
The report noted that the US’s 5G speeds trail what RootMetrics found in the UK and, especially, South Korea. “As 5G continues to expand across the country, we expect to see 5G availability and performance improve across this dynamic and rapidly shifting landscape going forward. That’s particularly true since all three carriers acquired mid-band spectrum at the C-Band auction. As we saw with T-Mobile in the first half of 2021, mid-band spectrum can certainly help contribute to faster 5G speeds. As the carriers add more mid-band to the repertories, we could see faster speeds sooner rather than later,” stated RootMetrics.