LAGUNA HILLS, Calif., July 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Opensignal, the independent global standard for measuring real-world mobile network experience, today released its latest Mobile Network Experience: USA Report which showed some of the biggest changes in years and an increasingly narrowing gap between Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T in many categories.
Results show Verizon and T-Mobile each claimed the top positions in two of five metric categories. Enhanced video streaming quality and extended LTE reach made Verizon the winner of Opensignal's Video Experience and 4G Availability awards, while T-Mobile reclaimed the lead in both Upload Speed Experience and Download Speed Experience. AT&T was close behind in the Download Speed category and came to a draw with T-Mobile for Latency Experience. This represents a significant shift from earlier this year and shows U.S. operators continuing to invest in 4G as the groundwork for 5G.
The USA report draws on Opensignal's active U.S. userbase of more than 1.4 million unique devices which collected more than 5.6 billion measurements between March 16, 2019, and June 13, 2019 via Opensignal's apps and partner apps. Opensignal captures data actively and automatically – a key distinction that avoids bias from self-initiated consumer tests and ensures results accurately reflect mobile network service the way users are truly experiencing it. Capturing the real-world experience is increasingly important in helping separate hype from reality in the ever-changing mobile landscape.
"The race to 5G in the U.S. is increasing competition among operators and the majority of the measurement categories we analyzed within this report have become closely contested three-horse races," said Brendan Gill, CEO of Opensignal. "Competition drives innovation and ultimately better consumer experiences. And the technical enhancements operators are making in preparation for the fifth generation of wireless communication are giving us some of the best 4G mobile user experiences as well."
Download/view the full analysis and accompanying charts here. Highlights from each of the award categories include:
Verizon once again led operators in Opensignal's 4G Availability metric, a measure of the proportion of time users with a 4G device and subscription have an LTE connection. Verizon and T-Mobile battled over 4G reach, but Verizon inched ahead in the current data collection period to reach a score of 94.8%, yet everyone performed well including AT&T and Sprint coming in just below the 90% milestone. That said, 4G Availability growth rate has plateaued over the past six months, and with an increased focus on 5G, there will likely be less change in this metric moving forward.
Video Experience measures the quality of mobile video streamed to devices and is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100 points. In 2018, no U.S. operator achieved more than a 'Fair' rating in overall Video Experience (40 to 55 in our 100-point scale), meaning long loading times and frequent interruptions. However, this report shows Video Experience is starting to improve with Verizon boosting its score and becoming the first U.S. operator to earn a 'Good' rating (55 to 65) with a score of 56.1. That means users generally experienced faster loading times and fewer playback interruptions when streaming video to their devices when compared with other operators' connections. Verizon taking home the Video Experience crown despite not winning the Download Speed Experience disproves an industry notion that video quality is prominently associated with speed.
Download Speed Experience
In Opensignal's January report, T-Mobile and Verizon tied in a statistical draw for the Download Speed Experience award. This period, T-Mobile gained the advantage and won with a score of 23.6 Mbps but things are still incredibly close with AT&T joining Verizon and T-Mobile in the hunt for top speed. AT&T increased its Download Speed Experience the most, with its average LTE download speed jumping from 15.1 Mbps to 22.5 Mbps in just six months, primarily due to new LTE-Advanced upgrades. In fact, AT&T had the most outright regional wins in Download Speed Experience of any operator in the 71 cities we examined.
Upload Speed Experience
T-Mobile also took the Upload Speed Experience award by boosting its score to 7.3 Mbps. Previous winner, Verizon, continues to hold steady at 6.9 Mbps. AT&T's surge in Download Speed Experience did not correlate to Upload Speed. That's likely due to the fact that AT&T's new LTE-Advanced upgrades mainly amplify downlink throughput, not uplink.
The lower the latency is on a network, the better the experience on a host of mobile applications and services, such as web browsing and multiplayer gaming. AT&T and T-Mobile tied in a statistical draw for the Latency Experience award with speeds of 52.5 and 52.6, respectively. All four major operators showed improvement in this category, with all latency speeds below 60 ms.
Understanding and Measuring 5G
Opensignal has been monitoring 5G data and sharing early analysis – first with an 5G Opportunity Report highlighting the real-world value 5G will bring to consumers, and most recently with an analysis of maximum real-world 5G speeds (vs. 4G) across eight countries worldwide. As consumer adoption of 5G devices ramps up, watch for 5G analysis to be included in future reports and insights. Follow all the latest 5G news from Opensignal at: https://www.opensignal.com/5g.
Download/view a copy of the USA report to see the full analysis and charts at: https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2019/07/usa/mobile-network-experience.
And to learn more about Opensignal, visit www.opensignal.com and check out the following resources:
- Methodology -- https://opensignal.com/methodology
- Metric definitions -- https://opensignal.com/blog/2019/01/03/understanding-mobile-network-experience-what-do-opensignals-metrics-mean-2/
- January 2019 Mobile Network Experience: USA Report –https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2019/01/usa/mobile-network-experience
- July 2018 State of Mobile Networks: USA Report –https://opensignal.com/reports/2018/07/usa/state-of-the-mobile-network
Opensignal is the independent global standard for measuring real-world mobile network experience. Using billions of measurements collected from tens of millions of smartphones through its own and partner apps, the company analyzes real-world mobile network experience at the largest scale and frequency in the wireless industry: by operator and by country, regionally and worldwide. Opensignal believes measuring how the network performs directly through users' eyes is key to building better wireless networks. Opensignal's mobile analytics solutions are used across the industry by mobile operators, telecoms regulators, equipment manufacturers and analysts.
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