How Fast are the Fastest Mobile Networks in the United States? 2017 Report

fastest mobile networks 2017

According to the Fastest Mobile Networks 2017 report from PC Mag, Verizon tops the overall list over the other three major cellular networks: AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Here are some of the key highlights of the report, some of which may surprise you.

To prepare this report, cellular data speeds were tested on these four mobile networks in 30 major cities and 6 rural locations across the United States, using Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones.

Verizon is still ahead in 2017’s list of fastest mobile networks, but only by a very slim margin. T-Mobile, surprisingly, comes in at second place rather than AT&T. Sprint came in with very low average despite impressive peak speeds, but the consistency was poor.

fastest mobile networks 2017

That’s the overall score, and Verizon also has the fastest maximum download speeds for cellular data across the four networks.

mobile networks

However, when you take average download speeds, AT&T seems to have a slight edge, as shown in the graph below.

average download speeds across mobile networks

Overall, maximum speeds appear to be doubling every two years, with no signs of slowing down. Maximum cellular data download speeds are now consistently hitting 200Mpbs, and we’re not even completely out of LTE territory yet. These maximum speeds are the early results of gigabit LTE, which is not technically gigabit speeds, but merely a doubling of regular LTE speeds.

On next year’s Fastest Mobile Networks 2018 report, we hope to see more evidence of gigabit LTE rollouts that are being planned by the four major carriers. T-Mobile should be the first to move towards that in a big way with their LTE-U, followed by AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. What AT&T currently sells as “5G Evolution” is not actually 5G, as we’ve shown in a previous article:

SEE: Is ‘5G Evolution’ from AT&T the Real 5G Technology or a Marketing Ploy?

What they’re doing is packaging Gigabit LTE as a “taste of the future” and calling it 5G Evolution.

Against that background, it’s quite possible that T-Mobile will move up a spot based on its early rollout of LTE-U. 5G isn’t going to be widely available for the next three years or more, so Gigabit LTE is the best we’ll see. And the ranking will essentially be based on who has the widest Gigabit LTE network the same time next year, when PC Mag does its ninth Fastest Mobile Networks 2018 report.

Globally, however, things are very different. Here’s a look at average cellular data download speeds across the world, from various mobile networks.

Fastest Mobile Networks in the World
Image Courtesy: Quartz Media

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