These days, choosing a carrier is more about data than it is calls or messages—so a new report about which one provides the fastest 3G and 4G download speeds makes for interesting reading.

OpenSignal has published the results of its recent data network tests to establish which carrier provides the fastest downloads. And the answer, perhaps surprisingly, is... T-Mobile.

The carrier effortlessly wins out on 3G download speeds, shown below, offering an average speed of 3.5Mbps. That’s way faster than second-placed AT&T, which offers 2.2Mbps, and leaves Verizon and Sprint in the dust, with their paltry 0.66 Mbps and 0.64Mbps respectively.


Things are a little closer when it comes to 4G, shown below. T-Mobile just squeaks a victory, with an average download speed of 12.26Mbps, while Verizon lags behind with 11.98Mbps. AT&T and Sprint languish, with 7.93Mbps and 6.56Mbps respectively.

The data used here is collected by OpenSignal using a network testing app, and it’s based on data taken from 181,927 US devices. So, a reasonable sample size.


For a little context, those figures peg the average LTE connection speed in the US at around 9.9Mbps—way behind the international average of 13.5. But then, if you want super-fast mobile data, you should move to New Zealand, which offers a zippy 36Mbps average. Probably because sheep can’t use mobile phones very well.

One last note about coverage, which is important—even super-fast speeds aren’t any use if don’t have a connection. In that race, Verizon wins with 87 percent of its customers picking up 4G, while T-Mobile and AT&T both hit around 82 percent. Again, Sprint sucks: just 70 percent of its customers can get a 4G connection.

If you’re about to get a new contract and treasure data speeds above all else, it looks like T-Mobile is your best bet—at least for now.

[OpenSignal via The Verge]

Original image by Blackzheep/Shutterstock