T-Mobile’s 5G dunks on AT&T and Verizon in this in-depth 2022 network test

5G connected on Zenfone 8 with Android 12
(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • T-Mobile has the best network overall in PCMag’s nationwide Best Mobile Networks 2022 results.
  • T-Mobile also wins when it comes to pure data speeds thanks in no small part to its vast mid-band coverage.
  • AT&T showed stronger rural results than the other carriers despite its lower average speeds.

PCMag is back with its Best Mobile Networks 2022 report (opens in new tab) and for the second year, T-Mobile takes the top price. In its detailed report, PCMag has gone to great lengths to improve its testing methodology and unlike in previous years, it now includes calling reliability in the final tally. Utilizing Ookla Wind software on multiple Galaxy S22 Android phones, collected results while on the move and while stationary during its 10,000-mile road trip.

Verizon comfortably took the top spot with top download speeds thanks to its mmWave network but both AT&T and Verizon fell well behind T-Mobile in average data speeds. T-Mobile had average speeds of 264.4Mbps compared to Verizon at 156.8Mbps and AT&T at 79. Perhaps more importantly, 81% of T-Mobile’s results were above 25Mbps.

Upload speeds were also average out higher on T-Mobile at 32.9Mbps compared to Verizon and AT&T in the low 20s. Average latency across the three was solid with T-Mobile taking a marginal victory at 39ms to AT&T at 47ms and Verizon at 40ms. These numbers really mean that things like video calls and sharing media online will be more performant on average with a T-Mobile SIM in your phone.

It is worth mentioning T-Mobile has the greatest number of failed data connections which PCMag’s report largely attributes to weak rural performance in the Northwest.

PCMag overall results for Best Mobile Networks 2022

(Image credit: PCMag.com)

You can find PCMag’s local results in its report for a better idea of how a carrier performs closer to you. There are 30 major cities to choose from as well as rural areas in the Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, Northwest, and Southwest.

With these results in mind, it's easy to see why T-Mobile has some of the best mobile plans for your Android phone. Speaking of which, PCMag performed its tests on the Samsung Galaxy S22. This phone is a great candidate for this type of testing thanks to its high-end Snapdragon X65 5G modem as well as Android's superior network information.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.