RootMetrics is only about halfway through the 125 U.S. cities that it tests every six months, but after 60 cities, it’s releasing a look at what it’s seeing so far in 5G test results. While the number of cities where each of the three national carriers have a 5G presence is similar, there are notable differences in performance.
T-Mobile US has a considerable lead in speed and 5G availability across markets, but Verizon and AT&T both perform better than T-Mo on 5G data reliability, according to RootMetrics.
RootMetrics found that T-Mobile US had the highest 5G availability in 53 out of 60 markets tested thus far, followed distantly by AT&T having the highest 5G availability in 13 markets and Verizon in three (the figures include ties). Within those 60 markets, T-Mo had the fastest 5G download speeds in the most markets: 39.
On RootMetrics’ assessment of 5G network reliability—the ability to get connected and stay connected to the 5G network—Verizon had the most success or tied for first in 45 markets, AT&T in 39, and T-Mobile US in nine markets.
In terms of specific market performance that stood out, one of the markets that RootMetrics highlighted was Toledo, Ohio, where T-Mobile US’s median 5G download speed jumped by more than 200 Mbps between rounds of testing: In the second half of 2021, RootMetrics saw speeds of 69.5 Mbps, which accelerated to 285 Mbps in the company’s most recent Toledo testing. Availability also rose from 68% to nearly 85%.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, RootMetrics said that C-Band deployments increased Verizon’s 5G availability and performance. The carrier’s median 5G download speed in SLC was about 54 Mbps in the second half of 2021, and the testing company said that thanks in part to C-Band spectrum, that increased to 174 Mbps—a more than 3x improvement. 5G availability, meanwhile, rose from about 51% to nearly 69%.
Overall, across cities, RootMetrics said that for Verizon, C-Band deployment has “helped Verizon post 5G median download speeds of at least 100 Mbps in nine markets, up from zero last time. What’s more, Verizon’s 5G speeds increased by at least 40 Mbps in 11 of its C-Band markets, with jumps of 100 Mbps or more in two.”
RootMetrics also said that AT&T’s 5G availability has improved in 41 markets tested, and while its 5G speeds overall “remained generally consistent” with its performance in the second half of last year, there were five markets where speeds increased at least 25 Mbps from the previous round of testing. AT&T’s use of C-Band was more limited, according to RootMetrics, with tests showing AT&T using the new midband spectrum in four out of the 60 markets, in “limited amounts.”
Read more from RootMetrics here.