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AT&T No. 1, Verizon No. 2 when it comes to best US 4G network, report finds

AT&T's "5GE" network improvements have actually helped strengthen its 4G LTE network.

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AT&T's 4G LTE network is getting better even as 5G approaches. 

Angela Lang/CNET

AT&T's 4G LTE network took some well-deserved hits earlier this year for rebranding to the arguably deceptive "5GE," but it turns out that on the backend the wireless carrier actually did more to its network than just call it a new name. 

In a report released Wednesday, mobile network evaluator Global Wireless Solutions found that AT&T was, in fact, the top 4G network in the US, with Verizon coming in second, followed by T-Mobile and then Sprint. The new nationwide survey tested the national carriers in "501 markets in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands," covering 94% of Americans. 

AT&T was found to be the fastest on downloads and had the most reliable data connection and best video streaming experience. Verizon was the fastest for uploads while T-Mobile had the best call quality. 

The GWS report is the latest to look at the US 4G market, backing up previous surveys of the market from RootMetrics, Opensignal and Ookla that have noted AT&T's improved network, though depending on the report Verizon or T-Mobile may be the strongest or fastest.

Even with the rollout of 5G, current 4G networks will remain vital for many people over the next few years as the next-generation network technology becomes mainstream. Apple's newest iPhones that are due to be announced next week, for example, are expected to be 4G-only. 

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