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GWS 5G testing puts AT&T on top for availability, reliability

5G is bringing ‘positive impact and performance improvements … to all operator networks,’ says GWS CEO

Ahead of its annual comprehensive network analysis, network benchmarking company Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) released a look at carrier 5G networks and pegged AT&T’s 5G network as having the highest levels of availability and reliability. T-Mobile US’ network came out on top for speeds during network capacity stress tests, with throughput speeds of 90 Mbps, followed by Verizon at 80 Mbps and AT&T at 58 Mbps, GWS reported.

“The advent of 5G is upon us. We are seeing firsthand the positive impact and performance improvements that 5G is bringing to all operator networks” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO of GWS. “For consumers looking for the best 5G networks in 2021 this is great news – robust, consistent connectivity combined with better service translates into a more fulfilling experience and this is just the beginning.”

All three national carrier 5G networks had high marks for reliability. On AT&T’s network, GWS was able to complete 99.5% of data transfer tasks, with Verizon close behind at 98.8% and T-Mo in third at 97.3%. In an examination of the top 10 U.S. markets, GWS said, AT&T’s 5G network was “actively available” (devices had connected and were ready to send/receive data) 66% of the time, compared to 45% of the time for T-Mobile US and 36% of the time for Verizon.

GWS acknowledged that in the nearly 500 markets that it conducted testing in, T-Mobile US had 5G actively available 5% or more of the market footprint in 429 markets, compared to 286 for AT&T and 175 markets for Verizon. “However, when looking at the U.S. as a whole (i.e., all 498 markets combined), the total amount of time 5G was actively available for AT&T was 45%, versus 35% for T-Mobile, and 22% for Verizon. In other words, T-Mobile’s 5G was actively available in smaller concentrations across more markets than the other operators; whereas AT&T’s 5G was actively available in much larger concentrations but mostly within markets with higher populations,” the testing company explained.

Comparatively, Rootmetrics’ monthly reports for May and June saw a split of speed, availability and reliability awards among all three of the national carriers, with AT&T’s 5G network scoring the highest on download speeds, T-Mobile US snagging the top spot for 5G availability and Verizon’s winning for reliability. Recent results from Ookla, which relies on crowd-sourced, device-based data that reflects customer experience across a range of devices, tagged T-Mo as having the best 5G speeds and users whose 5G devices spent the most time on 5G networks.

GWS’ analysis is based on 8 million controlled tests conducted in 498 markets across all 50 states, using Rohde & Schwarz SmartBenchmarker test equipment, Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, and GWS’ Mobistat data evaluation and reporting platform.

“As evidenced by the each operator’s approach to availability, nationwide deployment and integration of 5G into existing networks is managed differently by each operator and is still a work in progress in 2021,” GWS concluded in a statement on its 5G test results.


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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