T-Mobile’s 5G punches above 200 Mbps in 4 markets - RootMetrics

T-Mobile’s 5G snagged another round of top marks in recent third-party testing, outpacing both AT&T and Verizon on speed and availability.

The latest results are from RootMetrics November 5G scorecard (PDF), which ranked the major carriers across 60 markets in the second half of 2021.

T-Mobile’s 5G was found in all the markets tested, while Verizon was present in 58 and AT&T in 54.

In terms of availability T-Mobile had the highest score in 42 markets, compared to 25 for AT&T and just four for Verizon. Despite its low market tally, RootMetrics said Verizon’s 5G availability improved in 30 cities since the first half of the year. T-Mobile also was a clear winner on speed, delivering the fastest 5G downloads in 16 markets versus Verizon which led in one market. AT&T didn’t score any market wins in the 5G speed category.

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To be considered fastest in a given market the carrier had to deliver the fastest 5th percentile, median, and 95th percentile download speed in the same city.

And out of the 16 cities where T-Mobile claimed “fastest 5G” across the three metrics, 13 of them also clinched highest 5G availability.

Armed with 2.5 GHz spectrum, T-Mobile has been deploying 5G mid-band spectrum ahead of its competitors who are still waiting to turn on C-band in the coming months and a delay over aviation regulator concerns. Just this week it reached a milestone with 200 million people covered by mid-band 5G, or what T-Mobile brands as “Ultra Capacity 5G,” six weeks ahead of schedule. Now its aiming for 300 million by 2023. T-Mobile also has a low-band coverage layer for 5G using 600 MHz spectrum.

RootMetrics reports that T-Mobile’s speeds showed significant improvement since the first half of 2021, with 5G median downloads increasing in all 60 markets since then.

RELATED: T-Mobile notches 4.95 Gbps on 5G standalone network

How much of a speed boost? Neither AT&T nor Verizon reached 100 Mbps in any market, while T-Mobile hit above that mark in 21 cities and above 200 Mbps in four.

Those four include:

  • Kansas City, Missouri - the fastest for T-Mobile at 273.3 Mbps, where AT&T clocked 52.3 Mbps and Verizon came in at 42.5 Mbps
  • Columbus, Ohio – T-Mobile (234.6 Mbps), Verizon (57.4 Mbps), AT&T (47.6 Mbps)
  • Raleigh, North Carolina – T-Mobile (226.5 Mbps), Verizon (67.8 Mbps), AT&T (58.4 Mbps)
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – T-Mobile (210.9 Mbps), AT&T (46.3 Mbps), Verizon (34.2 Mbps)

AT&T’s fastest 5G median download speed was 71 Mbps in Milwaukee, while Verizon neared the 100 Mbps threshold at 98.3 Mbps in its fastest market of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

RootMetrics isn’t the only network testing company making note of T-Mobile speed gains. Recent analysis by Opensignal showed that from March to September 2.5 GHz spectrum drove a 40% speed bump for users connected to the carrier’s higher capacity mid-band 5G spectrum (5G speeds on 600 MHz remained much slower).  

RELATED: Verizon relies on dynamic spectrum sharing more widely than AT&T – report

AT&T’s nationwide 5G flavor is cropping up in more places with availability above 80% in 19 markets, the RootMetrics report shows, but the carrier saw 5G median download speeds slow down in 39 cities since the first half.

According to the company, declines were 10 Mbps or less in nearly all of those metros, which the testing company said likely weren’t enough to be noticed by users.

One category where AT&T and Verizon came out on top is reliability, at 38 markets and 41 markets, respectively. That compares to five cities where T-Mobile registered the highest success rate for both getting and staying connected to 5G in the same city.