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Ookla 2Q: Verizon tops fixed broadband speeds, but T-Mo runs away with mobile speeds

Mobile and fixed data speeds continue to increase across the U.S., and Verizon is at the top of Ookla’s internet speeds list — but for its wireline broadband service. T-Mobile US, meanwhile, snagged the designation of both fastest and “most consistent” mobile network operator in the country, per Ookla’s latest data analysis for the second quarter of 2021.

T-Mobile US had a median download speed across of the U.S. of 54.13 Mbps, and high consistent minimum performance across its network as well. Ookla calculates a “consistency score” for each carrier, based on how many data test samples show speeds of at least 5/1 Mbps (25/3 Mbps is Ookla’s minimum for consistency in wireline broadband and for 5G). For T-Mo, nearly 85% of its speed test samples across all network technologies met the 5/1 Mbps threshold –but when it came to 5G speeds, Verizon narrowly beat out T-Mo for consistency in meeting 25/3.

AT&T was in second place overall for mobile network speeds, with a median downlink of 47.96 Mbps, and a consistency score of 81.3%. Verizon’s wireless network came in third with speeds of 40.02 Mbps and a consistency score of 79.7%.

When only 5G tests were considered, T-Mobile US still dominated the speed category, with its median download speed clocking in at 99.84 Mbps. Verizon did better in the 5G-only category, coming in second at 78.33 Mbps, while AT&T was third with 75.61 Mbps.

Ookla also reported that among users with a 5G-capable device and plan, T-Mobile US users saw the most 5G availability among the three national operators, at 69% compared to around 38% for AT&T 5G device users and 35% for Verizon customers with 5G access.

All three mobile operators recorded equal latency, by Ookla’s numbers: 33 milliseconds, across the board. That was an increase of 1 ms in latency for both AT&T and Verizon, compared to the first quarter of 2021.

“T-Mobile customers are the clear winners coming out of these network reports, with unmatched 5G coverage and 5G speeds that keep getting faster,” said Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile, in reaction to the Ookla results. “Our differentiated 5G strategy of first building a foundation of coverage and then adding a deep layer of speed with Ultra Capacity 5G focuses on what matters most for customers – coverage and speed. This is how you build a 5G network the right way and this is why T-Mobile is the leader in 5G.”

Verizon’s wireless performance may not have won it top marks in most areas, but its wireline broadband was a standout performer with a Speed Score of 170.22; Ookla’s Speed Score is 90% attributable to download speed and 10% to upload speeds of wireline networks. Cox was in second place, followed by Comcast’s Xfinity service and then Spectrum; AT&T’s wireline internet service came in fourth for speeds. Verizon also took the top spot in wireline latency at 8 milliseconds. Spectrum was ranked first in providing consistent speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps in 89.3% of its test results, followed by Xfinity and then Verizon.

Where are networks the fastest? Based on Ookla’s numbers, Tampa, Florida was the fastest city for median mobile download speeds, reaching nearly 80 Mbps. San Antonio, Texas was the location with the fastest fixed broadband connections, recorded at  

On mobile networks in 100 cities ranked by Ookla, T-Mobile US was the fastest operator in 29, AT&T was the fastest in 20 cities and Verizon in 16 — but things were too close to call in 34 cities.

Ookla’s analysis is based on crowd-sourced Speedtest data; you can see the results of its second-quarter 2021 analysis for both fixed and mobile networks in the U.S. here.  


Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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