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Fastest Mobile Networks 2018

Fastest Mobile Networks 2018

We tested data speeds on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in 30 US cities. See which network is the fastest where you live.

We tested data speeds on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in 30 US cities. See which network is the fastest where you live.

In our last Fastest Mobile Networks survey of the 4G era, Verizon once again cements its position as the 4G leader. The nation’s largest carrier also runs the nation’s fastest LTE data network, with the fastest download speeds and lowest latency.

We’ve been drive testing American mobile networks since 2010, first 3G and then 4G, watching speeds grow and coverage expand. Yes, there are still dead zones out there—American cities have less reliable mobile coverage than Canadian cities, we’ve found. But we’ve seen steady improvement over the years, especially from T-Mobile, and Americans in major metropolitan areas can now generally assume a level of service they couldn’t a few years ago.
Faster Speeds Than Ever

Compared with 2017, we’re seeing faster, more consistent LTE connections on all four major US wireless networks. Peak speeds have jumped from the 200Mbps range to the 300Mbps range, average download speeds have bumped up by 10Mbps or more, and latency has dropped by 10ms. That’s an impressive change in one year, and it continues the trend of improvement that we’ve seen over the past several years of testing. See how speeds have changed over the past few years on our national results page.

2018 FMN Overall Scores

Much more than previous years, we saw many cities where the carrier with the fastest average download speeds didn’t win the award. We’re OK with that. Our speed score tries to balance all of the components of a mobile connection: downloads, uploads, availability, and latency. (For more details, see our testing methodology page.) As we get to a world where we can assume 20Mbps or higher download speeds on 4G in most cities, other questions arise: Where are those speeds most consistent? Where is the network most responsive, especially when you’re downloading pages made of many small files?

Our tests cover data speeds and reliability; we don’t make voice calls. But our awards for data service apply more and more to voice, too. All of the carriers other than Sprint now use voice-over-LTE, piping their voice calls through their data networks. So the reliability of those LTE data networks translates into the reliability of your HD voice calls, as well.

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