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The latest measure of America’s mobile networks shows consumers are enjoying faster download speeds on their smartphones and tablets, despite increased usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. But consumers trying to upload their own videos and other content actually suffered from slower performance according to data collected by testing firm Ookla, which makes the popular Speedtest app.
In a new report covering the second quarter of 2020, Ookla said the average download speed on U.S. mobile networks reached 44.9 megabits per second in June, 28% faster than the same period in 2019. That’s fast enough to download an episode of the Netflix series The Politician in less than a minute. Upload speeds lagged behind and got slightly slower however, averaging just 9.7 Mbps, marking a 3% decrease from last year.
AT&T had the fastest average speed nationwide of 41.2 Mbps; followed by T-Mobile with 33.7 Mbps; and Sprint, which was just acquired by T-Mobile, at 31.5 Mbps. Verizon came in fourth at 30.8 Mbps. The average score includes a combination of both upload and download speeds and excludes areas with too few tests and tests taken on older phones. AT&T has come out first for the past six quarters.
This year’s test also included a separate score for superfast 5G service. However, the carriers are using different strategies, which resulted in wildly divergent speeds and availability.
Verizon, which is rolling out the fastest form of 5G but only in limited areas, had the highest average speed of 870 Mbps, but was available in parts of only 39 out 5,164 cities and towns with some 5G service. AT&T averaged 78.7 Mbps in 237 places, and T-Mobile averaged 64.3 Mbps in 5,013 areas.
Ookla said it calculated the average speeds by combining the results of millions of Speedtest app results from 1.6 million mobile users. That’s quite different from RootMetrics, a testing firm that employs professional testers who drive around the country and measure network performance. In January, RootMetrics ranked Verizon as the speediest wireless network.
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