Which wireless carrier has the fastest network?

Written by |

If you’ve got the need for speed, you’ll probably want to be a customer of one of two particular mobile carriers who top the latest survey of fastest 4G LTE networks in America.

RELATED: Best cell phone plans and deals right now

Verizon, T-Mobile top OpenSignal report

Wireless coverage mapping service OpenSignal collected metrics on 4G availability, video experience, download speed, upload speed and latency data from more than 1 million U.S. devices during the waning months of 2018.

The goal was to determine which carrier runs the fastest 4G network.

The results show Verizon and T-Mobile in a virtual draw for the top spot, according to OpenSignal. Verizon’s average LTE download speed was 20.9 Mbps, while T-Mobile’s was 21.1 Mbps.

verizon download speed experience
(© OpenSignal Inc.)

But here’s where the two carriers differ: Verizon has an edge when it comes to 4G network availability.

Verizon’s LTE network was available 94.2% of the time, while T-Mobile’s was available 94% of the time. Trailing further behind in network availability were AT&T (88.9%) and Sprint (88.4%).

4g availability open signal chart
(© OpenSignal Inc.)

But the laurels for Verizon don’t stop there. OpenSignal’s research shows Verizon excelled in the Video Experience and Upload Speed categories, too.

The only area where Verizon didn’t win or tie was Latency Experience. In that category, AT&T had the lowest latency among the Big 4 carriers, with data delay speeds of only 57.8 milliseconds.

opensignal mobile experience awards
(© OpenSignal Inc.)

Paying less money for more network

If you don’t like paying full price AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, you’ll be happy to know that there are less expensive brands that run on those companies’ networks for price-sensitive customers.


Verizon has Visible, Total Wireless and Xfinity Mobile; T-Mobile has Metro by T-Mobile, Mint Mobile and Republic Wireless; AT&T has Cricket Wireless, h2o Wireless and Unreal Mobile; and Sprint has Boost Mobile, Tello Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

We’ve got links to reviews of many of those discounts services here.

The price point is generally around $25 a month for the same towers and the same service you could pay a lot more for — and they’re all no contract!

Other tech stories you may like on Clark.com

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses for 2023 - If you're in the market for a new credit card in 2023, you may be hoping to cash in on the hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses offered to new customers. Welcome bonuses and offers are a marketing tool that…
The best cell phone plans include Tello, Mint Mobile, Visible, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular and more Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.