The average US 5G connection is getting faster

All three major national US carriers saw substantial increases in their average 5G connection speed over roughly the second quarter of 2022.

5g cellular tower
Shutterstock / Alexander Yakimov

T-Mobile is still the fastest 5G provider in the US by some distance, but all three of the major national mobile service providers recorded major increases in their average connection speed between March and June of this year, according to a report released today by Opensignal.

Much of the across-the-board increase, the report said, is due to the carriers beginning to use the mid-band 5G spectrum that was auctioned off recently by the FCC. Opensignal said that areas where C-band spectrum is available have seen noticeable improvements to average connection speeds.

Other areas of mid-band spectrum, however, are the reason why T-Mobile continues to boast a substantial lead over both AT&T and Verizon in Opensignal’s speed tests. T-Mobile averages 171Mbps over a 5G connection, compared to 72Mbps for Verizon and 53Mbps for AT&T, thanks in large part to its early acquisition of 2.5GHz spectrum, the researchers said.

“However, T-Mobile is not remaining idle and is continuing to advance the quality of its users’ 5G experience with rising 5G download speed and other measures,” the report said. “This is a clear indication that the carrier is pushing ahead on its plans to expand both breadth and depth of its mid-band 2.5 GHz 5G network.”

Verizon’s more rapid C-band build-out gave it a larger percentage bump to 5G speeds than its competitors, rising by nearly 30% over its mark since the last report. That compares favorably to a 10% bump seen by AT&T over the same period. The lower band 2.5GHz signals used by T-Mobile also offer an advantage in coverage range, given their stronger ability to propagate over long distances, and the report found that T-Mobile’s 5G network was available 40% of the time, compared to almost 19% for AT&T and just 10% for Verizon.

There were also significant variations in average speeds when broken out by region, according to Opensignal – Verizon’s 72Mbps national average was pushed upward by figures of 100Mbps in several states, including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Indiana and Michigan. AT&T posted numbers of between 79.3Mbps and 82Mbps in Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

The major carriers are more tightly grouped when it comes to upload speeds, however. T-Mobile still leads, at 17.8Mbps, but Verizon and AT&T are close behind at 14Mbps and 10Mbps, respectively.

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