While 5G is Ramping Up, U.S. Operators Deliver Big Improvement to Video Experience and LTE Download Speed According to Opensignal USA Mobile Network Experience Report
Verizon and AT&T Lead the Pack with awards in Six of Seven Categories
LAGUNA HILLS, CA – January 23, 2020 – Opensignal, the independent global standard for measuring real-world mobile network experience, today released its January 2020 Mobile Network Experience: USA Report. Verizon claimed the top position in three of seven categories, holding onto the award for Video Experience. AT&T was close behind with wins in two categories, including Download Speed, and a tie with T-Mobile for Voice App Experience. While Sprint missed out on awards this time, it still scored a big gain in its users’ Video Experience – jumping almost 17% in just six months. And all four operators are delivering extremely high levels of 4G Availability – over 90 percent.
The Opensignal bi-annual report analyzed the experience of Opensignal’s active U.S. user base of more than 1.6 million unique devices, spanning early adopter 5G through 3G, across the four nationwide operators (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon). Dates of analysis ran from September 16 to December 14. And data was captured predominantly from automated testing – a key distinction that eliminates bias from self-initiated tests and ensures results accurately reflect the network experience.
“There is a lot of talk about the 5G revolution coming, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the mobile evolution we’re currently in the midst of,” said Brendan Gill, CEO of Opensignal. “Our newest USA Report findings show that U.S. operators are investing across the board to improve the consumer experience, and that investment is paying off in faster speeds, lower latency and better video experiences. That’s good news for subscribers, whether they’re trying 5G or still on 4G which continues to carry the vast majority of traffic for the majority of Americans.”
Report highlights include:
The U.S. Video Experience is improving, with Verizon leading the charge and Sprint gaining ground.
- Verizon is the winner in Video Experience for the third time in a row, and both Verizon and Sprint have now moved into the Good category – a big change from last year when no U.S. operator scored better than a Fair rating in Opensignal’s Video Experience analysis.
- Verizon scored 58.8 on a scale of 1-100 and Sprint jumped up to a score of 55.5 points (due to several changes including the deployment of small cells and massive MIMO sites).
- Video Experience in the U.S. continues to improve, which is critical because video demand over wireless networks is growing. Ericsson’s Mobility report estimates that video accounted for 60% of traffic on mobile networks in 2019 and will make up 75% of traffic on mobile networks by 2025.
AT&T and Sprint saw the biggest gains in download speed, with AT&T winning the Download Speed Experience award for the first time.
- AT&T’s download speeds increased an impressive 22.2% – from 22.5 Mbps to 27.5 Mbps. Regionally, AT&T won in Download Speed Experience in 26 cities and tied for the win in an additional 42.
- As predicted in our July USA Network Experience Report, AT&T’s leadership position was only a matter of time. The company has made substantial investments in 4G LTE Advanced Pro technologies, carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO which help explain the improved experience.
T-Mobile keeps its Upload Speed Experience crown with an 18% increase since our last report.
- Opensignal users on the T-Mobile network experienced an average of 8.6 Mbps for upload speed, creating a bigger distance between the carrier and its closest rival Verizon, who came in second with 7.9 Mbps.
- AT&T, meanwhile, scored 6.0 Mbps in Upload Speed Experience, which is a 22.4% increase over its 4.9 Mbps score in our July 2019 report. Verizon won more city-level awards (34) and T-Mobile had 16 solo wins and drew for a win in an additional 43 cities.
The Opensignal Voice App Experience results show T-Mobile and AT&T tied for the lead, with room for improvement across the board.
- Voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger offer a popular way for users to talk to each other, so Opensignal is measuring the quality of our users’ experience using this technology.
- T-Mobile and AT&T statistically tied for the lead in this category, with T-Mobile scoring 79.4 and AT&T scoring 79.3 on a 100-point scale. That puts them in the Acceptable range and bordering on Good.
- Sprint and Verizon also fell in the Acceptable range, meaning that Opensignal users are satisfied with their voice app experience, but that some users may experience call quality issues such as clicking sounds or distortion and volume might not be sufficiently loud.
AT&T regains its Latency Experience award after sharing the title with T-Mobile last year.
- Opensignal AT&T users scored a latency of 49.7ms, making AT&T the first U.S. operator to fall below the 50ms latency threshold.
And, for the first time, all four U.S. operators scored 90% and above in the 4G Availability category.
- At 95.9%, Verizon marginally ousted T-Mobile (95.4%) to take the top prize in this metric, which is a measure of the proportion of time users with a 4G device and subscription have an LTE connection.
The Opensignal report also includes regional analysis of key metrics across 100 U.S. cities, which showed some pretty sizable deltas, especially when it comes to speed.
- The fastest average download speeds for Opensignal users were clocked on Verizon’s network at 45.6 Mbps in Dayton, Ohio and on T-Mobile at 44.2 Mbps in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On the other end of the spectrum, we saw some significantly slower download speeds in markets like York, Pennsylvania, where our users on Sprint recorded just 14.2 Mbps.
- Notably, AT&T led on a city-by-city basis for Voice App Experience – winning in 12 cities and tying in 81. T-Mobile, won in 3 cities and shared the award in 75.
- And when it comes to Video, Verizon was the leader again in 67 cities, sharing the award in another 31, and scoring a Very Good rating in 8.
Download/view the full report and accompanying charts here.
To learn more about Opensignal, visit www.opensignal.com and check out the following resources:
- Metric definitions
- July 2019 Mobile Network Experience: USA Report
- January 2019 Mobile Network Experience: USA Report
Opensignal is the independent global standard for measuring real-world mobile network experience. Using billions of measurements collected daily from over 100 million devices globally, the company analyzes real-world mobile network experience at the largest scale and frequency in the wireless industry. 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.
Opensignal and the Opensignal logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Opensignal, Ltd. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.
Opensignal Limited retains ownership of this insight including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports and insights produced by Opensignal Limited may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent. Journalists are encouraged to quote information included in Opensignal reports and insights provided they include clear source attribution. For more information, contact [email protected].