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What just happened? Move over Verizon, there's a new speed king in town. According to PCMag's 10th annual nationwide speed test, AT&T now offers America's fastest mobile network, unseating Verizon's five year run at the top.
Each year for several weeks, PCMag sends its staff across the country to gather on-the-ground data on wireless networks. This time around, testers collectively drove nearly 10,000 miles through 30 cities and 25 states, conducing some 60,000 speed tests using Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphones. Tests were run every two minutes and the results were summarized across six categories.
AT&T won or tied in 15 out of 30 cities and won or tied in every rural region. PCMag said its 5G Evolution upgrades - which aren't technically 5G - played a key role in improving speeds this year.
Longtime champion Verizon won or tied in 12 cities / regions with T-Mobile taking home seven awards. Sprint finished with just a single win and one tie. The nation's fourth largest carrier actually had the best download speeds in nine cities but kept losing points in other tests.
Ironically enough Cricket and Consumer Cellular - both of which use AT&T's network - ranked higher than AT&T in PCMag's Readers' Choice category.
This year's results don't mean that Verizon or T-Mobile have worse networks than last year. In fact, all four major networks improved on speed and reliability this year, it's just that AT&T improved more than its competitors.
Looking ahead, PCMag notes that this will be the final year of 4G-only testing. 5G is coming although in actuality, it'll still be at least a couple of years before widespread coverage exists.
All images courtesy PCMag