Carrier 3G/4G LTE network latency research compares Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile
4G LTE itself is a technology that comes with the benefit of much lower latencies over traditional 3G connections, but there are differences between different carriers’ 4G networks. FierceWireless and OpenSignal have partnered to show exactly what those differences are, and to ultimately give us real-world speed data to know which carrier has the fastest network. Keep in mind that the data you’ll see below covers not just 4G LTE, but also eHRPD (a technology allowing Verizon and Sprint to pass data from their current CDMA towers to an LTE network), HSPAP and HSPA.
Looking at the numbers gathered by Fierce Wireless, it becomes clear that the big winner among the top four US carriers is T-Mobile. The fourth-largest US operator scores the lowest (meaning, fastest) latencies on its 4G network. AT&T is a close runner-up, while Verizon and Sprint trail behind. Sprint is obviously the biggest loser, scoring the highest latencies on 4G LTE. The reason for this is likely the limited amount of spectrum it uses right now with its 5x5MHz network configuration, while other carriers use 10x10, or even 20x20MHz allotments. The Now Network has promised improvements soon, though.
Finally, we ought to say that the data is based on stats from over 1 million consumer devices, each of which runs three pings to Google.com, and the average result is taken as a base. How important is network latency to you? Let us know in the comments below, and check out Fierce Wireless' post for all the data visualization.
1. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1229; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Woot Sprint is winning haha. But where I live, it only gets 3G or lower. So I'm staying with AT&T
2. youlookfoolish (Posts: 122; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)
Sprint is not winning, it is in last. Latency is a terrible thing.
5. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1229; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I know it was joking haha :P I do want to see Sprint to really get that 180-200mps speed they were shooting for in the future. This way, it will push AT&T and Verizon to make their speed even faster.
9. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7729; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Not surprised to see last place are you? Do you see T-Mobile last? Nope.
7. lsutigers (Posts: 710; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
Lower numbers are better when it comes to latency big guy.
This was done Open Signal/Fierce Wireless and does not include Sprint Spark in the testing.
4. youlookfoolish (Posts: 122; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)
This article is click bait. At least it points out Sprint is using a smaller pipeline.
11. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7729; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Just accept it and move on with your life. No need to get hurt.
6. mikedano (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Mar 2014)
I there. I'm Mike Dano, the executive editor of FierceWireless. While I appreciate your interest in our network latency report, I would respectfully ask that you remove our charts from your site. You're welcome to direct readers to our site for those charts. Thanks!
10. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7729; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Lol dunno if joke account or the real deal.
The charts do not match e colors of the carriers btw.
12. tokuzumi (Posts: 264; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)
Sprint should change their motto from "The Now Network" to "We're working on it"
16. lsutigers (Posts: 710; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
Not to be a di*k PapaSmurf
You commented above that "youlookfoolish" should just move on with his life yet all I see is you do is bash Sprint every chance you get and spew TMO propaganda all over the place.
We get it, you don't like Sprint and love TMO...you're the one that needs to move on with your life.
14. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)
Sprint reminds me of that song from Scott Pilgrim vs the World... "Soooooooooooo Saaaaaaad"! Lol
15. zennacko (Posts: 227; Member since: 16 Jun 2013)
And that was another point to John Legere and the T-Mo gang. Now he can troll the other carriers with those tests!
17. genkidama20 (Posts: 31; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
So happy I left Verizon for T-Mo ... Verizon was robbing me for petty overage charges on top of their overpriced plans. I have not missed VZW one bit. I'm saving over $50 a month on our family plan. AND according to these charts, I'm getting just as good of data speeds!
18. ryan5609 (Posts: 98; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)
Finally T-Mobile wins at something! I am on the best carrier in the WORLD!!!