There’s a big wave of change moving through the wireless industry right now. Carriers are adjusting and creating a better value to stay competitive and draw new customers. The networks, though, are ultimately what it comes down to. If coverage isn’t good or LTE speeds are sluggish, no one is going to stick around or even choose that carrier. It explains why carriers heavily emphasize their networks in advertisements.
OpenSignal, an outside firm that monitors the carriers’ networks throughout the nation, recently completed its study of LTE availability and LTE speed.
When it comes to LTE availability, Verizon finished first in all five regions. T-Mobile, however, finished first or at least second in LTE speed in the regions specified by OpenSignal. Though it hasn’t claimed first in availability, T-Mobile can say it’s fast than Verizon in these two regions: the northeast and the southeast.
It’s actually incredible to see these results today as it reveals the huge investment in infrastructure by T-Mobile over the years has paid off very well. Every region in both categories ranks almost the same: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. While Verizon has long been the leader throughout the United States, we’re seeing AT&T slip behind T-Mobile. Some regions even have T-Mobile ahead of Verizon.
Now we truly understand why Verizon brought back its unlimited plan and got people excited about its service again. As T-Mobile continues to improve its network and nears the same size/quality of Verizon’s, Big Red needs to do other things to keep the brand appealing. Pulling its most loved plan out of retirement was a brilliant and easy move. But it’s a battlefield, and T-Mobile responded by tweaking its One plan to best Verizon’s unlimited plan. So all carriers are going to need new tactics along with improving networks to generate new customers and retain existing customers.
Sprint, as expected, is the carrier with the worst network at this time. CEO Marcelo Claure continues working on building the network up; however, financial constraints from its parent company are really holding Sprint back from doing anything like T-Mobile. That could be why a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile remains a possibility.
The spin based on OpenSignal’s finding will be interesting. T-Mobile, the loudmouth of the wireless industry, already sent out a press release saying “T-Mobile is Destroying Verizon’s Network Edge.” Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer, goes on to say his competitor’s “perceived network advantage is history, and Verizon knows it.” Verizon has yet to respond.