We're still in the early life of 5G but now all of the major US carriers have started deploying their 5G networks and launching 5G phones, so some consumers may be wondering how the networks stack up.
A new report from Opensignal compares the 5G networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, including their 5G availability and average download speeds. Verizon came out on top for 5G speeds, posting an average of 494.7Mbps that is much, much higher than the other three carriers.
Coming in second place is AT&T with an average 5G download speed of 60.8Mbps, while Sprint and T-Mobile basically tied with speeds of 49.5Mbps and 49.2Mbps, respectively.
Verizon is the only major US carrier to go all-in on mmWave spectrum for 5G so far, which explains why its 5G speeds are so fast. mmWave offers crazy-fast speeds, but the trade-off is that the signal can't reach very far and isn't good at penetrating buildings. Meanwhile, AT&T and T-Mobile are largely focused on low-band 5G that reaches much farther but isn't as fast.
Then there's 5G availability. This metric focuses on how much of a consumer's time is spent connected to a 5G signal, and here T-Mobile came out on top with its customers spending an average of 22.5% of their time connected to 5G. T-Mo has touted that it has nationwide 5G coverage, with its low-band 5G covering nearly 6,000 cities and towns, which is why it finished first here.
Sprint came in second with its customers on a 5G signal 14.1% of the time, while AT&T customers spent 10.3% of the time on 5G. And then there's Verizon with its mmWave-based 5G, and its customers spent just 0.4% of their time connected to a 5G signal.
The final metric in today's report is Download Speed Experience — 5G Users. This measures the overall download speed experience for 5G customers, taking into account 3G, 4G, and 5G speeds plus the time a customer spends connected to each network.
Here, AT&T and Verizon came out to a statistical tie, with AT&T posting a score of 42.6Mbps and Verizon getting 41.0Mbps. AT&T managed to catch up here thanks to its faster 4G speeds and broader 5G availability. T-Mobile came in third with a score of 33.7Mbps and Sprint rounded out the group with a score of 28.2Mbps.
Do you have a 5G smartphone? If so, what's your experience with 5G networks been?