Who has the fastest data network ends being not so easy a question

March 15, 2011
17

One great thing about the state of mobile phones these days is that every carrier has a great selection of smartphones that users can choose from. And that means they can pay attention to more important things like coverage and speed. So who has the fastest network, especially 4G networks, is a burning question. It's also a difficult one to nail down as it depends on carrier, phone and even how loaded the network is.

PC World/Novarium commissioned a study where they tested 4G etworks in 13 cities all over the country. Their results show overall, that wireless data speeds have increased 3 fold since last year, which is great news for mobile customers. Verizon Wireless was on top this year with their 4G/LTE network being available in 12 of the 13 cities tested. And while PC World found that Verizon's 4G/LTE network was fastest with an average download speed of 6.44 mbps, and upload of 5.0 mbps, they also found that there were few customers on the network and few phones to chose from at the time of the test. It could be that as Verizon rolls out more phones and gets more customers from both phone and tablet data plans, that they're network dominance may dip. PCWorld also found that while Verizon's speed is tops for 4G, it's 3G network has dropped in performance or stayed the same in 10 of the 13 markets.

Phone wise, T-Mobile came in on top with the HTC G2 being the fastest with an average download speed of 2.3 mbps, a 52 percent lead over Sprint's EVO 4G. But PCWorld also went to say that the big winner in the annual speed survey was AT&T. Even though Ma Bell didn't win Gold as the fastest network (although they brag they are), it has increased it's network speeds by 76%, fending off similar speed bumps by the other carriers. But what PCWorld gives, they take away, as the speed gains the network enjoyed didn't translate well to it's flagship handset, the iPhone 4. And that means while Apple may have launched the smartphone craze, the Android platform is screaming past it like it's standing still.

[via PCWorld]


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  • Lifeisdriving

    iphone 4 on AT&T and droid 2 on Verizon are NOT 4G phones. So how exactly did they test 4G networks?!?
    Another side not, AT&T and T-Mobile don’t even have 4G networks….

    • Anonymous

      -_-…not even gonna respond to ur last statement…

    • Anonymous

      -_-…not even gonna respond to ur last statement…

    • Anonymous

      -_-…not even gonna respond to ur last statement…

  • Tico4674

    Fyi, nobody has a true 4g network. Maybe I’m not be reading those charts correctly but it looks like tmobile has the fastest network.???????…?????

  • Distortedloop

    Give the “it’s not 4G” arguments a rest, dudes…seriously, no one really cares. AT&T can call it 9.34563G for all I care in the name. It’s what they deliver that matters, whatever they call it.

    Funny that the networks you call “not 4G” beat the heck out of the two that you don’t take issue with calling themselves “4g”. T-Mobile blows them all away on the tests, and AT&T is only slightly slower than Sprint on D/L, and twice the speed on U/L. I’m also going to assume that they’re measuring WiMax, because Sprint here in Los Angeles can’t even give more than 0.8 on the downside according to many reports and my own experience.

    My AT&T phones (iPhone 4 and Galaxy S i9000) both give me consistent 4.0 Mb/s on the downside the last several months, T-Mobile Nexus 1 and Nexus S both give only about 2.9 (which is odd, since up until last December they gave better than 4.0).

    The only positive you can say about Verizon based on these tests would be that they may be the slowest, but at least you get a signal everywhere with them. Slow’s better than nothing. I wonder how real-world LTE (like on ThunderBolt) will perform. It might make VZW interesting again.

    • Lifeisdriving

      This test is flawed. How can they compare 4G networks without 4G phones? They peg verizon as the slowest while testing with a non 4G phone. The same is true for AT&T.
      If this test was ran using the upcoming thunderbolt 4G and the inspire 4G who would really come out on top?
      Either these “testers” have screwed up of the writer of this ridiculous article has.
      I’m guessing this was supposed to be a 3G network test in which case verizon is dead last.

    • Garrett Norman

      I’ve just got the HTC Thunderbolt and I’ve gotten between 9-14 Mbps down and 16-25 upload!!!! BUT, the Thunderbol’s batter sucks!! I’m gonna get the extended battery for it when it comes out (2750 miAh) which will be twice as much!

    • Garrett Norman

      I’ve just got the HTC Thunderbolt and I’ve gotten between 9-14 Mbps down and 16-25 upload!!!! BUT, the Thunderbol’s batter sucks!! I’m gonna get the extended battery for it when it comes out (2750 miAh) which will be twice as much!

  • Distortedloop

    Give the “it’s not 4G” arguments a rest, dudes…seriously, no one really cares. AT&T can call it 9.34563G for all I care in the name. It’s what they deliver that matters, whatever they call it.

    Funny that the networks you call “not 4G” beat the heck out of the two that you don’t take issue with calling themselves “4g”. T-Mobile blows them all away on the tests, and AT&T is only slightly slower than Sprint on D/L, and twice the speed on U/L. I’m also going to assume that they’re measuring WiMax, because Sprint here in Los Angeles can’t even give more than 0.8 on the downside according to many reports and my own experience.

    My AT&T phones (iPhone 4 and Galaxy S i9000) both give me consistent 4.0 Mb/s on the downside the last several months, T-Mobile Nexus 1 and Nexus S both give only about 2.9 (which is odd, since up until last December they gave better than 4.0).

    The only positive you can say about Verizon based on these tests would be that they may be the slowest, but at least you get a signal everywhere with them. Slow’s better than nothing. I wonder how real-world LTE (like on ThunderBolt) will perform. It might make VZW interesting again.

  • guest

    Megabits per second = Mbps NOT mbps (that would be millibits per second… a very slow network)

    • http://www.facebook.com/cslinder Christopher Linder

      lol

  • steve

    um i live in phx and have an EVO and never anyplace in the valley been able to connect to 4g

  • Chris

    Tmobile is the fastest love the G2 phone

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Kessler/1358784568 Jason Kessler

    Can’t do it by city and expect it to paint a real picture, AT&T focuses everything on the cities and pretty much screws over must rural areas. Where I live I was using data on AT&T and was longing for my old TRS-80 with a 300bps modem, because that would have been twice as fast as AT&T’s data here. Whereas sprint and verizon pretty much have the majority of the nation covered in decent 3G

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Kessler/1358784568 Jason Kessler

    Can’t do it by city and expect it to paint a real picture, AT&T focuses everything on the cities and pretty much screws over must rural areas. Where I live I was using data on AT&T and was longing for my old TRS-80 with a 300bps modem, because that would have been twice as fast as AT&T’s data here. Whereas sprint and verizon pretty much have the majority of the nation covered in decent 3G

  • Joseyg44

    I have the vibrant on t mobile and the slowest download speed i ve gotten so far is 3.41 Mbps and fastest is
    5.59 Mbps