If you want fast 5G service, just one carrier — T-Mobile — really delivers, according to rankings from PCMag.
T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G network is the only 5G service from any carrier that is “markedly faster” than 4G, the publication says. For that reason, T-Mobile earned the honor of having America’s fastest mobile network.
This was the 12th year that PCMag has evaluated mobile networks. The publication’s testers traveled more than 10,000 miles and surveyed 30 major U.S. metropolitan areas and six rural regions.
T-Mobile had the best 5G service in 24 metros and rural regions.
Runners-up AT&T and Verizon had the best 5G service in eight and two areas, respectively. There were also ties in two regions: one between T-Mobile and Verizon, and the other between T-Mobile and AT&T.
According to PCMag:
“T-Mobile’s winning secret isn’t much of a secret: It’s mid-band spectrum, which T-Mobile calls ‘ultra-capacity’ 5G. Now covering more than 165 million people in cities large and small, these airwaves (bought with the Sprint acquisition) let T-Mobile’s network give consistent results between 150Mbps and 500Mbps of download speed. That’s far better than AT&T and Verizon’s 5G can do in most areas, and it secured T-Mobile’s win.”
However, PCMag notes that T-Mobile’s great service only is apparent if you have a 5G phone. The publication says T-Mobile’s 4G service “still falls short of the competition.” For 4G, AT&T “dominated nationwide as surely as T-Mobile did overall.”
In addition, PCMag says that while T-Mobile excels in the nation’s biggest metro areas, it lags AT&T in small cities and areas away from interstate highways. That is particularly true in the Western U.S. In those areas, AT&T dominated.
To view the top carrier in each area included in the ranking, click on a city or region in the “Locations” section of PCMag’s report.
The bottom line: If you have service with T-Mobile or Metro (which is owned by T-Mobile) and do not have a phone that can access mid-band 5G, “you should get one now,” PCMag says. For those with AT&T and Verizon, the need to switch is “less urgent.”
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