Last month, we looked to you to help PCMag decide which carrier is the speediest in all the land. Well, PCMag has tallied up their results, looked at your contributions, and has come to a definitive answer. Sort of.
Your winner this year is Verizon, which got a boost from their new XLTE network. XLTE added the 1,700 mHz band of spectrum to free up more bandwidth. The victory wasn’t exactly conclusive, though – T-Mobile came in a very close second, only a year after not having their LTE network full rolled out to all of the nation’s major metropolitan areas.
In fact, when it comes to vast numbers of urban populations out there, it seems like T-Mobile might be the best choice. T-Mobile outright won half of the cities tested by PCMag for both upload and download speeds. What brought T-Mobile down was poor rural coverage – for those out in the country, or for those who frequently need to commute between cities, there’s a substantial falling off in the performance and availability of T-Mobile’s LTE network outside the city. Verizon’s XLTE network, on the other hand, remained consistently solid even in rural areas.
Defending champs AT&T fell far behind this year, with speeds in some places dropping by as much as half. They’re still in third – Sprint’s Spark network is still in the middle of being rolled out, and was found to be disappointing in a lot of places where it was up and running. Sprint at least had LTE service up in 29 out of 30 major metropolitan areas (sorry Denver), but performance continues to lag behind their three rivals.
Want to see how the big four fared in your area? PCMag’s Fastest Mobile Networks 2014 has detailed breakdowns by nation, region, and metropolitan area right here.