With customer 5G expectations running high and operators rapidly deploying this advanced technology across the US, Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) has completed nationwide testing of the major operators’ 5G networks. GWS’s network testing specialists conducted approximately 8 million controlled tests in all 50 states, accounting for nearly one million miles across all major metropolitan areas, smaller urban cities, and rural towns (a total of 498 markets covering a population of 303 million or 92 per cent of the US).
“The advent of 5G is upon us. We are seeing firsthand the positive impact and performance improvements that 5G is bringing to all operator networks” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of Global Wireless Solutions. “For consumers looking for the best 5G networks in 2021 this is great news – robust, consistent connectivity combined with better service translates into a more fulfilling experience and this is just the beginning.”
5G Reliability: GWS determined that AT&T has the most reliable 5G nationwide network, completing 99.5 per cent of the data transfer tasks performed on 5G networks. Verizon Wireless finished second at 98.8 per cent and T-Mobile third at 97.3 per cent.
5G Availability: Looking at the top 10 US markets (population totaling approximately 87 million), AT&T’s 5G network was actively available 66 per cent of the time (“actively” means phone has connected to the operator’s 5G network and is ready to send or receive data), versus 45 per cent for T-Mobile and 36 per cent for Verizon. Over the 498 markets measured, our testing found that T-Mobile had some 5G coverage (i.e., 5G was actively available in 5 per cent or more of the market footprint) in 429 markets, versus 296 for AT&T and 175 for Verizon. However, when looking at the US as a whole (i.e., all 498 markets combined), the total amount of time 5G was actively available for AT&T was 45 per cent, versus 35 per cent for T-Mobile, and 22 per cent for Verizon. In other words, T-Mobile’s 5G was actively available in smaller concentrations across more markets than the other operators; whereas AT&T’s 5G was actively available in much larger concentrations but mostly within markets with higher populations.
5G Network Speeds: As evidenced by each operator’s approach to availability, nationwide deployment and integration of 5G into existing networks is managed differently by each operator and is still a work in progress in 2021. At this point, while all operators are offering 5G speeds that can easily meet the requirements of today’s data driven world, T-Mobile had the fastest 5G throughput speed (95 Mbps) during our network capacity stress tests with Verizon at 80 Mbps and AT&T at 58 Mbps.