PCMag has published its 12th annual “Fast Mobile Networks” test today, and the results show that the onset of 5G has made for a “radically new landscape” in the networking industry and a “surprising winner.” According to the data, T-Mobile is the overall winner with the fastest network in the United States…

PCMag has some details on the methodology of the testing:

It’s T-Mobile’s year at last. The carrier’s new mid-band 5G network is the only nationwide 5G that’s markedly faster than 4G, earning T-Mobile its first-ever PCMag award for America’s fastest mobile network.

In our 12th annual test, drivers traveled a total of 10,626 miles, surveying 30 major US metro areas and six rural regions to find out the state of 5G from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. T-Mobile took a commanding lead in 5G, winning 24 cities and rural regions to AT&T’s eight and Verizon’s two; we also saw one tie between T-Mobile and Verizon and one tie between T-Mobile and AT&T.

T-Mobile has been crowned the “overall winner” with average speeds of 162.3Mbps, compared to averages of 98.2Mbps and 93.7Mbps for AT&T and Verizon, respectively. Verizon led the way in terms of maximum download speeds, with 2216.7Mbps, compared to T-Mobile at 1134.4Mbps and AT&T at 1090.9Mbps.

The difference between the results comes down to T-Mobile’s adoption of mid-band 5G:

To put it simply, T-Mobile was behind the competition when using 4G and low-band 5G. Then mid-band completely changed the game, just in the past year.

Even in the cities it covers, T-Mobile 5G isn’t everywhere. But it covers enough area in those cities to make a real difference, and coverage is improving every month. This chart shows how often our T-Mobile 5G phone made use of 5G in each of the cities and regions we tested—from 90% of the time in Chicago down to only 36% in New Orleans. (But T-Mobile still won in New Orleans, because 5G is generally sparse there.)

You can find the full study results over at the PCMag website, full of details, charts, graphs, and much more. What do you think about the results? Let us know down in the comments!

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author