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T-Mobile and Verizon 4G speed bumps hint at a 5G revolution

July 19, 2018 / JEREMY HORWITZ

As the 5G cellular era is now only months away from kicking off in the United States, carriers have quietly — and not-so-quietly — been upgrading their towers to prepare for higher-speed 5G devices. Now OpenSignal is quantifying what those upgrades are already doing for users of current-generation 4G devices, and the initial results are promising.From a big picture perspective, there are improvements, but they don’t look like huge ones. Six months ago, T-Mobile’s national download speed average was 19.42 megabits per second (Mbps) to Verizon’s 17.77 Mbps, with both AT&T and Sprint falling well behind them. Today, the speed rankings look virtually the same, but T-Mobile now averages 21.57 Mbps, and Verizon 20.56 Mbps — enough to justify the headline that U.S. carriers are finally crossing the 20 Mbps threshold.