Have you noticed that obnoxious buffering signal on your smart phone more often than usual lately? It’s not your imagination. Mobile speeds are slowing down across the country, thanks to our overuse of unlimited data plans.
Sorry, Verizon and AT&T customers; new research from OpenSignal, a mobile network measurement company, says that you’ll be the most affected. Both Verizon and AT&T re-introduced unlimited data plans in February to compete with T-Mobile and Sprint. But as their unlimited data users grew, the networks became more and more bogged down. Simply put: The greater the demand for data, the slower the mobile speed. (Buffering is also one of the things that kill your smartphone’s battery life.)
Since T-Mobile and Sprint have adapted for the increase in data demand over time, their speeds have thankfully stayed bearable. Plus, Verizon and AT&T have almost twice the amount of subscribers compared to T-Mobile and Sprint. No wonder the increase in traffic hit their networks harder.
Data speed for both of the carriers increased this year. T-Mobile taking the lead with an average LTE download speed of 17.5 Mbps, a five percent increase from last year. Meanwhile, Verizon and AT&T’s download speeds have dropped 12 and seven percent, respectively.
Overall, U.S. mobile speeds are generally slower compared to other developed countries, Recode reports. And as people spend more time on their phones, unlimited data plans will only get more popular. Ericsson predicts that data usage will increase from 5 GB to 25 GB per month by the year 2022. (On the flip side, you could also try these tricks to use less data—and lower your cell phone bill.)
A lack of storage space on your smart phone could also cause the endless buffering. Use these tips to free up storage on your smartphone.