With the rise in popularity of video streaming, gaming, and other data-heavy smartphone features, many consumers often wonder which U.S. carrier has the fastest network. According to a new report, that's AT&T.
AT&T has come out on top in the Fastest Mobile Networks 2019 report from PCMag. This is the first time in five years that AT&T has come first in the Fastest Mobile Networks studies, with this year's report saying that AT&T's 5G Evolution network upgrades have given its download speeds a major boost. 5G Evolution uses 4G LTE Advanced technologies like 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, and carrier aggregation to increase download speeds on compatible phones.
AT&T's average 4G LTE download speed was 69.5Mbps, beating out Sprint with 64.7Mbps, Verizon with 59.4Mbps, and T-Mobile with 52.5Mbps. AT&T also had the highest percentage of downloads above 5Mbps (95 percent) and the highest reliability percentage (98 percent).
When it comes to uploading, AT&T didn't fare quite as well, posting the second highest maximum upload speed (62.4Mbps) and the third fastest average upload speed (17.1Mbps). It did manage the most uploads over 2Mbps (95 percent), though.
Taking into consideration factors like download and upload speeds, average ping, and reliability, AT&T finished with an overall speed score of 97 out of 100. Verizon came in second with 94, T-Mobile finished third with 91, and Sprint rounded out the top four with 82.
In addition to winning the national title, AT&T finished first in most of the regions of the U.S., claiming the title of Fastest Mobile Network in the Northwest, Southwest, North Central, and Northeast regions. Verizon claimed the South Central region while T-Mobile took the Southeast.
AT&T has worked aggressively to spread its 5G Evolution network improvements, and the blue carrier says that 5G E is available in more than 500 markets. Now that we've got this fastest network report, it looks like AT&T's efforts have paid off. It's worth noting that you do need a compatible smartphone to access 5G Evolution, but many recent smartphone models support it, including the iPhone models going back to the iPhone 6s and SE, the Galaxy S8, S9, and S10 phones, the Galaxy Note 9, and the LG V35, V40, and G8.
Check out the full Fastest Mobile Networks report over at PCMag for more info on the testing, including reports for many different major cities. How does your carrier's network perform where you live?