There's a new fastest mobile network in the US, this report claims

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The race to increase the availability, speed and reliability of 5G (opens in new tab) networks in the US is heating up with T-Mobile now surpassing both AT&T and Verizon in one key metric.

According to the latest 5G Scorecard from RootMetrics (opens in new tab), T-Mobile is currently in the lead when it comes to both speed and availability during the second half of 2021 while AT&T and Verizon are tied when it comes to reliability.

Every six months, RootMetrics tests 125 of the most populated metropolitan markets in the US to compile its 5G Scorecard for the year. However, to provide a snapshot of which mobile carriers are currently leading the 5G race, the firm has released its RootMetrics November 5G Scorecard (opens in new tab) highlighting 5G availability, speed and reliability results from the first 60 cities it tested in the 2H 2021.

CMO of RootMetrics, Patrick Linder provided further insights on the results of its November 5G Scorecard in a press release while also warning that these results could change after it carries out tests in other cities across the US, saying:

“Our latest 5G Scorecard shows strong speed gains for 5G users in the US, with T-Mobile’s increased usage of mid-band spectrum providing particularly striking improvements. We also witnessed firsthand just how dynamic the 5G race can be, with a new leader for speed and a shift in the reliability standings since our testing in the first half of 2021. With another 65 markets to test and all carriers aggressively continuing 5G deployment and optimization, things could certainly change again as we continue our 2H 2021 testing.” 

Who's winning the 5G race?

In the first 60 markets RootMetrics tested in 2H 2021, the reliability race between AT&T and Verizon was too close to name a leader which is why both carriers are currently tied. Still though, these findings mark a shift from the first half of the year when Verizon led the competition for 5G reliability by delivering the top reliability in 99 out of 125 markets compared to 59 for AT&T and just 12 for T-Mobile.

T-Mobile (opens in new tab) on the other hand picked up where it left off during the first half of the year to offer the most widespread 5G availability of any carrier in the 60 markets tested in 2H 2021. While AT&T (opens in new tab) was able to edge past Verizon (opens in new tab) in terms of 5G speeds during the first half of the year, T-Mobile now delivers the fastest 5G download speeds in the most markets of any carrier so far during the second half of the year.

Additionally, not only did T-Mobile improve its 5G median download speeds in each of the 60 markets tested since 1H 2021, it was also the only mobile carrier to deliver a 5G median download speed above 100 Mbps in any city. The company was particularly impressive in Kansas City where it clocked a remarkable 5G median download speed of 273.3 Mbps according to RootMetrics.

In its new report, RootMetrics also made the point that C-band 5G (opens in new tab) could level the playing field when it comes to 5G speeds. However, both AT&T and Verizon were recently forced to delay their rollout of C-band 5G due to concerns from the FAA that this new spectrum could interfere with key cockpit safety devices (opens in new tab) on airplanes.

Regardless of whether you choose T-Mobile, AT&T or Verizon as the  mobile carrier for your 5G smartphone (opens in new tab), 5G speeds are increasing across the US with more availability and improved reliability as well.

Interested in upgrading to 5G? Check out our list of the best 5G smartphones (opens in new tab) and our roundup of the best cell phone plans (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.