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U.S. has second slowest LTE speeds in the world, report says

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American carriers do a solid job providing coverage with their LTE networks, but when it comes to speed, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have a hard time keeping up with the rest of the world.

U.S. carriers average the second-slowest speed among LTE networks worldwide, according to a "State of LTE" report by OpenSignal, a company that makes an app that helps users find areas with the best network coverage. The report looked at LTE network performance in the second half of 2013.

On average, American LTE networks provide users with download speeds of 6.5 megabits per second, faster only than networks in the Philippines, which average speeds of 5.3 Mbps. The fastest country was Australia, with an average speed of 24.5 Mbps.

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Though the Philippines averaged the slowest speed by country, the U.S. had the slowest networks when broken down by individual carriers. Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and MetroPCS were the slowest networks in the report, with averaged speeds of 4.2 Mbps or less.

U.S. Cellular, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all averaged speeds higher than 5.3 Mbps. The fastest U.S. carrier was T-Mobile, which averaged speeds of 11.2 Mbps. The fastest individual carrier in the report was Claro Brazil, with an average speed of 27.8 Mbps.

Compared to 2012, U.S. LTE networks suffered the largest decline, with the average speed falling from 9.6 Mbps to 6.5 Mbps. Japan and Australia, meanwhile, saw the speeds of their LTE networks improve drastically.  

"Mobile networks do not remain constant, with operators constantly rolling out to new areas and making improvements to their network," the report said. "On the other side of the coin, increased users combat these improvements, as increased network load brings down average speeds."

The one silver lining U.S. mobile users can take from the report is that U.S. carriers ranked in the middle of the pack when it came to coverage.

OpenSignal found that on average U.S., carriers provided users with LTE coverage 67% of the time. The best country for coverage is South Korea, where carriers provided LTE 91% of the time. The Philippines also came in last place for coverage, with users only receiving LTE speeds 38% of the time.

For the report, OpenSignal said it used data from its 6 million users who have access to LTE networks around the world. OpenSignal said it only analyzed countries that provided a sufficient sample size of data. 

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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T-MobilePhilippinesVirgin Group, Ltd.Steve JobsTelecommunication Equipment
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