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T-Mobile 3G and AT&T 4G take the speed crowns

0. phoneArena 17 Apr 2012, 21:25 posted on

PCWorld has done its yearly testing of US wireless carriers to find out which company provides the fastest service across the country and T-Mobile and AT&T took the top honors this year in 3G and 4G speed respectively...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 21:42 18

1. crysiswarmonger (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Sprint sucks.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 03:39 2

31. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

you'll see sprint throttling soon, to get their speed back

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 08:13 2

38. crysiswarmonger (Posts: 78; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)

Soon? They have never had 4g anywhere close to me. 3g has always been slow.

Unlimited data at a trickle....

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 08:46 2

41. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

their investment in wimax was quite simply a mistake.

now they are going to be very behind the curve rolling out LTE.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 11:24 3

53. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 553; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)

Sprint does suck. Had them for almost 2 years before ditching them.

As for the 2mbps speed difference, on average, that difference is hardly noticeable on a cell phone. We're still at the mercy of how fast, efficient, and smooth our phones process the data that's being downloaded. I doubt you'd see the difference in speed. On a PC with MBB, maybe, but only on larger download sizes where the overall DL time is important.

With such a negligible difference, I think it's more important to look at overall coverage, reliability of service, devices offered, and the quality of customer service before deciding which carrier has the highest value per dollar.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 21:46 12

2. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

Way to suck up the joint Sprint. And when I change the PRL so I use Verizon towers, you tell me to stop. Either raise your speeds or allow me to roam as I please.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 23:07 6

22. ojdidit84 (Posts: 458; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)

Exactly why I left Sprint and went to Verzon. Not to mention the fact that I live in the 8th largest city in the US and still didn't have WiMax 2 years after the rollout.

I couldn't take it any longer. Now I have LTE speed outside of my house AND the 3g I was hacking my phone to use anyway...

Now to wait and see if VZW passes on the SGSIII

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 00:37 1

28. sniper1087 (Posts: 508; Member since: 31 Dec 2011)

yeah and guess what they will not expand their coverage with WiMax anymore since they are moving away from it and going to LTE, so yeah no more WiMax, wel will see whats going to be the coverage for LTE on thier network.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:17 3

46. dla0052 (Posts: 9; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)

I couldn't agree with you more! I am just 3 months away from being able to leave Sprint. Unlimited data is useless when 3G speeds are so slow!

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 21:49 2

3. D_Tech-tive (Posts: 104; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)

Big Red needs to step it up else wheres. I still happy with my 4G with my speeds which are well above average.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:43 5

15. solidsnakeduds013 (Posts: 218; Member since: 20 Oct 2010)


posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:56 6

17. biophone (Posts: 1956; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)

Big red uses CDMA so of course 3g is slower but more reliable and widespread. And verizon's 4g network has a lot more people using it so it would be slower then at&t but on the other hand it is also available in a lot more areas.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 08:29 1

39. cnwwyo (Posts: 126; Member since: 26 May 2011)

Absolutely correct, where i work there are so many people on verizon because thats the only carrier that works "good" in that area, and the system is just bogged down.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 21:49 6

4. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

Tmobile has the most users on its 4g bandwith, since HSPA+ shares with 3g devices. ATT has by far the least amount of people on its LTE network.
Yea, sprint kinda stunk up that one big time.

The question remains, are you willing to pay an extra 80 per month for maybe 2mb/s faster internet? 60 on tmobile, or 140 on att/vzw. hmm. And only Tmobile and VZW had 4g in every city they tested. Tmobile still has the largest 4g network coverage though. Kinda funny eh?

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:01 9

6. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

The amount of users on AT&T's LTE network has no bearing on the numbers. LTE is designed to not have slowdown even with high usage. AT&T is just sticking with its same plan as 3G, it may not have the coverage of Verizon, but it'll have the speed.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:58 3

19. biophone (Posts: 1956; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)

The difference in speeds is so marginal you can't even tell. Not to mention the coverage is so scarce that if you do have at&t's lte in your area that is more of a surprise then something expected.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 23:12 11

23. gaby1451 (Posts: 114; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

Not sure about that Michael, Verizon's speeds may be slowing down due to the increased number of users on it's 4G network as well as the time of day they access it. Even phoneArena has suggested that LTE can slow down depending on those factors as stated in its March 2011 article titled "HTC ThunderBolt 4G LTE data speed tests"

"... the ThunderBolt got download speeds between 5-7 Mbps, though occasionally throughout the day we would see download speeds up to 10-12 Mbps. So it does appear the time of day may matter, as well as how many people are connected in your area using the network" (par 2).

Also, AT&T throttles grandfathered users with an unlimited data plan after they have reached 5GB of usage. So in a way, LTE can slow down with high usage.


posted on 17 Apr 2012, 23:41 5

24. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

no, i believe the traffic definitely is a factor. i've observed the numbers ever since the Charge came out and they have gradually gotten lower over time. there's no reason AT&T's network should be any faster. it's the same thing.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 07:14 4

33. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

no signal is immune to traffic and bandwith issues, michael. you should know that.

VZW's traffic is most definitely slowing down a bit as its base gains users.

the other point about Tmobile's traffic remains quite true. Its just about keeping up with VZW, but with a ton more traffic on the HSPA+ network. Makes ya wonder what it would be if it was as unused as ATT's LTE bandwith.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 08:51 2

42. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I agree. When I got my Thunderbolt I consistently saw 20-25 down and 10-15 up... now it's more around 10-15 down and 8-10 up.

Still living in the same apartment so I haven't changed location.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:17 6

9. omarc26 (Posts: 360; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Yes im willing to pay 80-140 bucks more on at&t or verizon i dont care because i have the money as long as i get better reception i had t-mobile before some of there newest phones galaxy s2, sensation etc .. i couldnt get a signal at all in many highrise buildings in downtown LA i was stuck on sos yes i know t-mobile offers UMA but buildings in LA have no wifi so i was screwed were as at&t and verizon ALWAYS came tru in the same building no need for wifi calling with them . And since im in dwtwn LA everyday taking express elevators i need a company that works and thats at&t or verizon . Idont care about speed i think i told u that before yes we have argued on here before about that me and u it seems all u care about is speed were as i care about reception but if u need to know im getting waay faster speeds on verizon LTE and at&t LTE than what my friends are getting on t-mobile hspa+ in the 20-30 mbps range so have a nice day and dont bother replying cuz most likely i wont be writting back cuz i have stuff to do :P

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:43 3

14. cellphonator (Posts: 298; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)

I'm sorry for your situation in those buildings, I'm enjoying T-Mobile price, speed and reception like a mad man. Location location!

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 12:03 1

54. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

its all about where you live. Im about getting the most value for my money. unlike some of the people on these boards, i live in the real world where throwing my money away isnt a good thing.

there is no such thing as a perfect carrier. its all about where you live. Where I live, Tmobile gets a strong signal almost everywhere, including in the heart of giant hospitals where i do clinicals. I have an issue in one building where I go to school, but that is a small price to pay for service at nearly half cost.
like i said on another post, i recommended VZW to a friend this morning. His needs were much different. VZW gets signal like 15-20+ miles off shore (not kidding) and he fishes competitively while also having to drive to GA, so that was his best option.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:29 2

10. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Remix you claim HSPA+ speeds of double digits and higher. Yet another study shows you're wrong.

LTE is much faster. You're also lying about T Mobile having the largest 4G coverage.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 07:25 2

36. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Taco, HSPA+ where I live has given users 15.0 mbps download speeds....

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:14 2

45. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Burst speeds mean nothing. I get burst speeds of 35-40 Mbps on VZW. Remix tried to tell us all the average speed on T Mo is double digits. Clearly a lie.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 12:05

55. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

you get speeds like that on your iphone?? thats amazing taco. how did you get such a super fast iphone? on your ipad?? woow! i didnt know your ipad2 was LTE enabled!

yea, i think u just got called on your BS.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 19:36

59. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I have a galaxy tab and a VZW hotspot.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 19:54

61. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

wow, you must be rich, because just the other day you said you had a ipad2 as well.

BTW, even in the off chance that your telling the truth about your ipad2, tab, and hotspot, VZW as with probably all the companies allows their individual hotspot/mobile web devices to get a little faster on the internet. They do that because there is a huge % of those clients that are business clients. Run a hotspot next to a phone with the same carrier and data type (LTE ect) and the hotspot will "almost" always beat it.

So.. your telling me the biggest anti-android pro-inut on the site secretly uses a galaxy tab? your full of crap with this.. or your full of crap with the ipad2. or you really do live at home with your mommy and its her toys.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 08:11 2

37. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

hmm.. if im lying then tmobile is lying, since they advertise that. if they were lying, VZW would have sued them by now or at least bashed them in commercials, dont ya think? They sure went after ATT's "3g network" with the force of an advertising hurricane.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 23:00 2

20. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I just looked up prices on T-Mo's site. For unlimited talk, text and 5gb of data they charge 94.99. Verizon charges 119.99 for unlimited talk, text and 4gb of data, NOT $140 as you falsely claim. That is a totally different picture then what you claim.

Does your biased bs every stop?

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 00:17 2

27. max9777 (Posts: 78; Member since: 11 Dec 2011)

@taco50 My friend just switched from At&t to Verizon his monthly plan is also 119.99 for unlimited talk, text and 2gb of data. His monthly bill comes out to 164.-- after taxes. He does not go over his data usage.

Maybe Remix was talking about 140 with 5gb data which is legitimate. On LTE 2gb is nothing.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 07:19

34. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

maybe i was talking about the VALUE PLANS and NOT the CLASSIC plans.

2 gig web = $60
5 gig web = $75
10 gig web = $105

and the 5 and 10 gig plans come with FREE TETHERING included

with ZERO overage, unlike ATT/VZW that charge you per gig of overage.


taco, does your brain ever work?

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:06 1

44. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

So it's 75 a month and you have to pay retail for your phones so you're still being dishonest. Why did you say $140 when you know it's $120?

Oh did T-Mo tell you they have the largest 4g? Thanks for drinking the cool aid.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:04 2

43. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Verizon 4g gives you 4gb at the 119.99 price. There's no way your friend is paying $40 in tax. There has to be something extra he doesn't know about.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:38

48. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

depending on where you are, taxes are different. In FL, cell phone plans pay about 22% taxes. Since we dont have state income taxes, they make it up in other areas.

How is 75 + the full cost of the phone dishonest? its way more honest than a subsity and discounted phone. Your paying a set amount of subsity costs for every ATT/VZW/Sprint plan, no matter if you get a cheap phone or an expensive one. Full retail is the most honest.

Besides its still way cheaper
you want to do a quick apples to apples?

unl talk text + 5 gigs web (the only one they meet completly on).
Now tmobile throws in tethering for free, so to keep it apples to apples, the VZW plan needs tethering

Tmobile - $75 a month x 24 months = $1800
VZW - (6gig + hotspot LIMITED PROMO) = $140. x 24 months = 3360

+ phones
Tmobiles most expencive phone = SGS2
1800 + 600 = 2400

VZW's Galaxy Nexus = 300

2400 - 3660 = $1260 savings.

And thats using VZW's PROMOTIONAL pricing, not their normal pricing. Tethering is usually what.. another $30 on top for VZW?

Go to family plans, it gets to be an even bigger difference.

And lets not even get started on VZW's massive upgrade fees or contract cancellation fees.

So.. taco.. if you are living in an area that gets both tmobile and VZW/ATT 4g service.. is it really worth $1260 bux to MAYBE get an extra few mb/s?

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:56 2

50. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I'm not even going to comment on all your car salesman math. I'll leave you with this. Verizon adds customers every quarter. T Mo loses customers every quarter. There must be a reason.

We all know why you're bitter against VZW.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 10:11 1

51. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

your an idiot.. plain and simple.

when have i ever made unwarranted disparaging remarks about VZW? Its a great company and I just recommended it to a friend this morning. Not liking the expensive plans and not liking the company are 2 different things.

You dont want to talk about the salesman math because its dead on. Tmobile loses customers because its been a poorly advertised company that changes directions every 5 minutes. Hopefully this new ad campaign will help dispel some of these long inaccurate assumptions that people like you make.. but somehow i doubt it.

you confronted me, remember? and you got proven wrong YET AGAIN. One day you are going to stop this obsessive compulsive "must attack remix" bs that you have been doing for years. wouldnt that be neat.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 19:37

60. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

You'll be gone soon so I won't have to worry

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 19:55

62. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

not unless you go and buy 10 million iphones to make up the smartphone sales deficits.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:01 4

5. iPAPiNYC (banned) (Posts: 5; Member since: 16 Apr 2012)

I whole-heartedly disagree. Firstly, I was in a T-Mobile store today comparing a SGS II to my DROID CHARGE (as most of you might already know, I am selling my RAZR to make room for the Galaxy Journal [Note] on Verizon so, I got a CHARGE as a temp') and I was surprised to see that this Single-core 1000MHz beat out that 1.5 Dual-core loading PhoneArena's Home page (Desktop version) by about 30 seconds (standing in the exact same spot. Truely shocking as, I expected the SGS II to win hands down.

As for AT&T beating Verizon, well that's just plain ludicrous. I've used AT&T phones and it's only left me with a desire to commit suicide. As for Sprint, well: my deepest condolences.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:03 1

7. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2703; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I don't really see a country-wide 13 city, 130 location test as something that you can "disagree" with. Your personal experience is one data point compared to the hundreds that went into this testing. Obviously in specific spots there will be variation.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:58 3

18. iPAPiNYC (banned) (Posts: 5; Member since: 16 Apr 2012)

It's quite obvious that this 'country-wide 13 city, 130 location test' was "designed" to yield a controlled result. And, therefore, using the same parameters and logic used in this "study" one should also conclude that the fastest phone on this side of the cosmos is Apple's OG entreé to the smartphone arena.

I've tested several phones on all four major U.S. carriers over the years and, thus far, the fastest in terms of up/down speeds has been my RAZR on Verizon.

All of my friends, including most of the people I meet who have other wireless carriers, always express Verizon envy.

We hereby decree this "study" null. PC World: the same company that recommended Windows Vista to the masses; yes, they are credible. Someone bring me a razor blade so I can join the after-life.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 00:04 1

25. Forsaken77 (Posts: 553; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)

You can disagree all you want. But a highly regarded NATIONAL publication says otherwise. I think I'll take their word over you and your friends. Like the guy below said... AT&T has ALWAYS had better speed than Verizon, but not as good coverage. Also, AT&T's secondary 4G service, HSPA+, is almost on par with Verizons' LTE service. HSPA+ is available just about everywhere 3G is, except in super rural areas. So people that live anywhere with any sort of a population most likely have access to HSPA+ if they don't YET get LTE. HSPA+ is no slouch, as Tmobile can atest, and Verizon is short sighted to not deploy it as a secondary service to LTE.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 07:21

35. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

where I am in jacksonville, the data speeds are consistently higher than what is posted. it all has to do with exactly where your standing and what time of day your doing it.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 01:14 1

29. jcpwn2004 (Posts: 314; Member since: 18 Jan 2012)

i don't even use verizon but I agree with PAP. I've lived in LA & PHX and I've seen my friends get upwards of 30mbps down. At&t has never been close.

I use at&t prepaid and would love to hop on verizon if I could just afford it.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 09:55

49. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

i used to get 7mbps on a daily basis on tmobiles 3g

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 12:06

56. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

i get 4-5 most days on 3g. not too shabby

posted on 19 Apr 2012, 08:12

63. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

T-mobiles 3G slaughters everyone elses 3g and almost approaches verizon lte speeds which is pretty sad because its supposedly so much faster.

posted on 19 Apr 2012, 12:56 1

64. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5711; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)

*snorts* T-Mobile 3G speeds are no where near LTE speeds. xD

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:36 1

12. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

att has always had the fastest data connection.. they might not be better coverage but their network has been faster.. personally that works better for me as they have great coverage where i live and i enjoy the faster speeds

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 10:12 2

52. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

unless you are an ATT LTE customer in the 5 sq ft of LTE coverage that they offer, they are by far not the fastest. Tmobile and VZW trump them hands down on their "hspa+" coverage.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:07 1

8. christianqwerty (Posts: 467; Member since: 05 May 2011)

I get about 1-5 Mbps on my AT&T iPhone. Seems about right, kinda wishing I got an LTE phone since my city has AT&T LTE ,

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:35 2

11. veritech (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Oct 2011)

I just called Sprint about there speed issue they stated there network is working fine and its my phone that giveing me data and voice issue. They told me that I need to get my phone fixed. OMG if you're phone is working fine on an airave and the local network is getting download speeds of 42 kbps and uploads of 1 kbps you know its not the phone it the Network.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 01:57 4

30. threeline (Posts: 267; Member since: 11 Sep 2011)

Sprint flat out sucks. VZW here I come.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:42 1

13. ScelesticSteve (Posts: 26; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

AT&T's 3G network is pretty fast. During the middle of the day in a small city I get anywhere between 1.50MB Down to 4.0 MB Down, to 1.0MB Up - 3.5 MB UP. At night it's slightly faster due to no network strain and less calls going through the network. Every once in a while I'll even see 5-6 MB down, but that's seldom unless they employ more backhaul.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 22:48

16. hitechredneck (Posts: 97; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

LOL someone say t-mobile has the largest 4g coverage. Not in MD and not in my town around here only verizon and at&t have 4g coverage sprint and t-mobile does not. Still have a backflip and get 2 - 2.5 mbps download and about 0.2 mbps up according to coverage map and opensignal. In western MD verizon doesn't even offer 3g coverage in that area at&t is the only one offering 4g in cumberland, md. Just my two cents.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 23:03 1

21. Zayuh24 (Posts: 149; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

Bottom line: carriers have variable signal reception because of the share of frequencies. There are always factors to consider but it's always personal preference. T-mobile vs Sprint, Verizon vs AT&T, etc. Despite what anyone says about the customer service or reception in their, you'll want to try it for yourself if you like the phone being offered.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 00:13 1

26. ScelesticSteve (Posts: 26; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

Exactly. A lot of carriers sometimes use different frequencies (800 vs 1900) which can affect signal strength in buildings. Different companies are better in different places. Also, we really don't know what signal strength was like during these tests or what type of phones were used to do the testing.

posted on 18 Apr 2012, 04:06

32. nikhil.agrawal88 (Posts: 18; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)

now i know why americans are so concerned about 4g..you guys are really getting bad speeds..here in uk..i've used 3 operators..3, O2 and Vodafone and on 3g i generally get download speeds of 4-6 mbps..4g hasnt been even launched here yet..

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