Verizon vs T-Mobile vs AT&T: here’s how the three US carriers size up against the world 5G champions


If you’ve been keeping an eye on the slow progress and great struggles of the US 5G networks over the last couple of years, you probably won’t be shocked to hear that Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T are not ranked very high in Opensignal’s first-ever 5G Global Awards report.

That’s right, the well-known and highly respected mobile analytics company is today following up its countless evaluations of the national wireless landscape with a truly unique look at the state of the global 5G industry as a whole, and just as you’d expect, the conclusions of the latest in-depth research are not particularly flattering for the big three US carriers.
America might be a world leader, a pioneer, an innovator, and a trendsetter in plenty of fields and domains, but this is definitely not one of them. That being said, one of the country’s top three players does have one important thing to be proud of, and you can probably guess exactly what we’re talking about.

T-Mobile is the world heavyweight champion of 5G availability

Yes, ladies and gents, Magenta has done it again, this time around surpassing operators as diverse as Kuwait’s Zain, South Korea’s SK Telecom, Saudi Arabia’s STC, Taiwan Mobile, and Thailand’s TrueMove H in addition to Verizon, AT&T, and… every single European carrier analyzed by Opensignal for the purposes of this fascinating new report.

As always, availability and coverage are viewed as two very different things, with the former indicating the proportion of time actual users with 5G devices and subscriptions can connect and stay connected to a 5G signal rather than anything geographical.

T-Mobile‘s statistical tie with Kuwait’s STC for the joint global 5G availability title is in fact made that much more impressive by the US geography as the “Un-carrier” had to cover a considerably larger area than its East Asian rivals to reach a final score of 35.7 percent.

For what it’s worth, AT&T also earned an honorable mention as a 5G availability “global leader” (which is different from a “global winner”, mind you), while Verizon, well, did not receive any such praise whatsoever.

No 5G speed prizes for US carriers

Although it must be nice for T-Mo subscribers stateside to know they can (theoretically) get 5G service about three times as often as the average global user, a large part of that satisfaction is likely to be negated by the disappointing speeds registered most of the time (especially on “nationwide” low-band 5G).
What’s truly disappointing is that Verizon and AT&T are not able to offset their much lower 5G availability results with towering speeds, failing to make the global top 22 and top 27 lists of 5G download and upload leaders respectively.

Both lists are dominated by Taiwan’s FarEasTone, in case you’re wondering, while including many other East Asian names and only a handful of European wireless service providers.

To give credit where credit is due, Verizon and AT&T are at least among the 30 major carriers around the world found to have made a big impact in the 5G games experience field compared to the same network performance indicator on 4G.

AT&T is also listed among the 31 carriers with the greatest 4G to 5G improvement in the overall user video experience, although before getting too excited, you might want to note that Big Red and Ma Bell still didn’t do enough to earn a “5G global leader” ribbon in either of these two categories.

In other words, more progress will be needed before America’s wireless leaders can catch up with the likes of South Korea’s LG U+, Vodafone Ireland, Taiwan’s Chunghwa, Singapore’s Singtel, and… T-Mobile Netherlands.

Ironically, T-Mobile Netherlands just so happens to be ranked extremely high on the 5G upload speed chart as well, which must be painful to see for the brand’s American customers. At the same time, though, that could be viewed as an encouraging sign of what’s to come in the US… eventually.



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