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Verizon offered the fastest 5G connections of all carriers during the most recent quarter, but its service was the most difficult to find.
Verizon customers averaged 5G connection of 793 Megabits per second, blasting past AT&T’s 65 Mbps and T-Mobile’s 59 Mbps, according to research firm Ookla. But Verizon customers with 5G-compatible phones found a 5G connection less than 1% of the time compared to 54% for T-Mobile and 18% for AT&T.
The differences largely relate to the different types of 5G that the three carriers offered during the three months ending Sept. 30. AT&T and T-Mobile used gear that provided broad coverage but relatively slow connections while Verizon’s emphasized high speeds with minimal coverage.
That will likely change some in the current quarter because Verizon is also adding broader coverage and T-Mobile is rolling out faster service.
In another change, the fourth will be the first to include 5G-capable Apple iPhones. The iPhone 12 line, which ships next week, will be available through all the major U.S. carriers..
In the third quarter, Samsung’s line up of 5G-capable phones, including the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G and Note 10+ 5G, achieved the fastest connections on average, Ookla said.
When it came to overall speed, including 4G connections, AT&T led Ookla’s rankings with an average of almost 42 megabits per second. T-Mobile was second at 33 Mbps and Verizon was last at 31 Mbps. The results are similar to what Ookla found in the second quarter.
AT&T also ranked best for consistency, which measured how frequently connections achieved a minimum level of speed. AT&T hit the consistency mark 81.4% of the time, followed by T-Mobile at 80.8% and Verizon at 76.9%.
Ookla calculates the average speeds by combining the results of millions of Speedtest app results from mobile users. That’s quite different from RootMetrics, a rival 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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