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T-Mobile, Pixel 6 offer the fastest speeds in Ookla's Q4 2021 report

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T-Mobile storefront (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Ookla's Q4 2021 mobile report finds T-Mobile to be the clear winner in speed, latency, consistency, and 5G availability.
  • T-Mobile had the fastest median download speeds at 90.65Mbps compared to AT&T at just 49.25Mbps and Verizon at 44.67Mbps.
  • T-Mobile saw massive improvements in 5G speed from 135.17Mbps in Q3 to 187.12Mbps in Q4.

Ookla has released its Q4 2021 mobile broadband report and T-Mobile has won every category as well as becoming the fastest provider in the majority of U.S. states. Ookla is the creator of the popular Speedtest app giving it access to a massive amount of network performance information. In the fourth quarter of 2021, all of that information pointed to T-Mobile being the clear winner in all tested categories.

The main test, download speed, shows T-Mobile with 90.65Mbps for its median download speed. Keep in mind that Ookla has switched to median speeds compared to the mean for its results, reducing the influence of very fast test results, as we may see on mmWave networks. Nevertheless, the second-fastest carrier was AT&T at 49.25Mbps and Verizon at just 44.67Mbps. This is a massive improvement for the magenta carrier from a respectable 62.35Mbps in Q3.

It's also worth noting that Ookla only uses results from modern chipsets like this found in the best Android phones and new iPhones. This reduces the potential from underperforming hardware negatively affecting results.

Regarding latency, the amount of time it takes your device to communicate with the test server, T-Mobile also came out on top. Still, the results were very close and would likely not be observable outside of a test environment. T-Mobile came in with just 31ms latency, with Verizon and AT&T close behind with 32ms and 34ms, respectively.

All carriers performed well in consistency. That is, the percentage of results over 5Mbps down and 1Mbps. T-Mobile had 87.3% of its results in this window, followed by Verizon with 80.4% and AT&T with 80.2% of results. This test is essential because it shows how often someone might experience unusably slow data, which may be hidden in the median results.

When it came to 5G results, the results were very one-sided, with T-Mobile turning in a median speed of 187.12Mbps with 61.4% availability. Verizon came in second when it came to speed with 78.52Mbps and third in availability with 36.4%. AT&T only managed 68.82Mbps but has a much higher 48% availability.

Finally, in 5G consistency, T-Mobile came out on top with 81.5% of results over 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. Verizon was second with 77.3%, and AT&T brought up the rear with 69.6% of its results, clearing the bar.

Interestingly, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were found to be the fastest Android devices, beaten only by the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is interesting because there have been reports of the two Google phones falling short when it came to 5G performance.

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.