Verizon does the best job of connecting customers in rural areas to LTE, while AT&T has the fastest download speeds in rural areas, according to a new report from mobile analytics provider Opensignal. As the report notes, 97% of the U.S. land mass is considered rural, and rural areas are home to 19.3% of the U.S. population.  

Rural Mobile Report Results- 4G
Verizon had the top spot on 4G connectivity in all three types of U.S. rural areas, including “fringe” areas, which are close to urban areas; “distant” areas, which are more rural; and the most rural “remote” areas. Definitions of and data about these areas came from the National Center for Education Statistics.

In fringe areas, Verizon users connected to 4G 95.1% of the time, while Verizon users in distant and remote areas connected 89.3% and 83.5% of the time, respectively. Verizon was followed by T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint, in that order, in all three types of rural areas.

Top Download Speeds
AT&T had the top download speeds in all three types of rural areas. The company’s average download speed was 20.2 Mbps in fringe areas, 15 Mbps in distant areas and 14.6 Mbps in remote areas. AT&T was followed by T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, in that order, in all three types of rural areas.

As an Opensignal representative noted in an email to Telecompetitor, both rural 4G availability and rural download speeds lag behind overall averages for the U.S. 

Average U.S. 4G availability exceeds 89% for all four major carriers, and average U.S. download speeds exceed 22 Mbps for three quarters of nationwide carriers, according to the representative.

The Opensignal rural mobile report also looked at upload speeds and latency. 

Verizon users had the highest upload speeds in all three types of rural areas, and AT&T had the lowest latency in all three types of rural areas. 


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