Which of the four major carriers has the fastest LTE service in the U.S.?
The winner of Mossberg's informal testing was...drum roll please...AT&T. The mobile operator managed to produce an average download speed during the three tests of 19.7 Mbps. But it was the test in New York City that helped AT&T take the crown. In the Big Apple, the nation's second largest carrier blew away the other three with a 34.8 Mbps speed test. Outside of that one area, AT&T finished third in Maryland and dead last in Silicon Valley.
Sprint finished last with an average speed of 10.4 Mbps. Had the operator not won in Silicon Valley with a reading of 20.7 Mbps, the average speed would have been much lower. Mossberg relates that in two cities, he had to travel away from the testing area to find a Sprint LTE signal. But this could soon change as Sprint has started slowly testing its tri-band LTE service called Sprint Spark. With the tri-band LTE service, the circuitry on the user's handset decides in the blink of an eye, which of the three LTE bands is perfect for a particular task.
Because LTE data speed can vary depending on the amount of traffic in the area at a certain time, we really can't take away too much from Mossberg's test, especially when the winner relied on one high scoring city to bail it out. Ironically, AT&T's signal in New York was called "crap" earlier this year during CES in Las Vegas, by none other than T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
2. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5908; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
It all depends on where the testing is conducted. There are places where I can produce a result of 500 Kb/s down on VZW. I can also go somewhere else and get 50Mb/s down on VZW. Hopefully VZW improves the 500 Kb/s result.
16. tacarat (Posts: 203; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)
Yep. I'd rather there be a report that grades by location instead of making a "national best" headline report. Who cares if you're great in NY, SF and Miami? Most folks are happy with one or none of those, much less two or more.
3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8794; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Well in Chicago, AT&T and T-Mobile take the crown as the fastest averaging over 30+ on LTE and 12/28 on HSPA+. Guess who's in dead last? Yep. ;)
23. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 207; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
No! Its gotta be VZW since their network is overloaded and really bogged down.
28. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8794; Member since: 14 May 2012)
You're kidding me, right?
Starts with S and ends with print.
29. lsutigers (Posts: 758; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
Here we go again. Ladies and gentlemen, like a broken record. T-Mobile lover and Sprint basher himself.
Do you realize that when you spew the same thing over and over again people just start to not pay attention. Sprint LTE works fine in Chicago.
9. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
Agreed, I'm near Chicago and it's fast on T-Mo.
21. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
I live in northwest Indiana but work in Olympia Fields. I get good speeds at home and at work I clocked 21 Megs HSPA+ on my N4 and close to 13 Megs on my G2 with LTE. Closer I get to the city and away from the suburbs, the faster the speed gets.
24. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 207; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
Thank you. I was hoping I wasn't the only one to notice that.
6. LiyanaBG (Posts: 365; Member since: 07 Nov 2013)
i'm surprised i thought everyone said Verizon was the best LTE ?
10. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)
Best coverage, not always the best speeds.
7. donphone (Posts: 54; Member since: 20 Oct 2013)
Surprised sprint took silicon valley. Agreed on the color coding, the wall street journal should know better.
25. JEverettnow (Posts: 209; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)
I get around 10-30mbps down in the Bay Area with sprint. Its the only place my phone works better than AT&T.
8. Gemmol (Posts: 542; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
This is true, even the one about New York, I get way faster speed, then my friends on Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The crazy part out of all them I got 4 bars of AT&T in my room, and 2 bars in my basement, while Verizon have 2 bars in my room and struggle on 1 bar in the basement with sometimes no signal, Sprint work in my room with 1 bar, but not in my basement its dead at zero coverage, T-mobile the worse I cannot get 1 bar on in my room, while having zero in my basement........
11. deathbydesigner (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Nov 2012)
I would rather have the carrier that seems to consistently work everywhere.
12. DimitriTech (Posts: 23; Member since: 04 Nov 2013)
so the best lte in the bay area is sprint? that's a surprise...
18. Jommick (Posts: 209; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)
It's easy to have good throughput with no traffic.
26. JEverettnow (Posts: 209; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)
The Bay Area is one of Sprint's largest markets and the buildout is only 46% compelte in that market.
14. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)
I'm in the okc area and get 20-40+ Mbps on tmobiles LTE.
15. Magenta (Posts: 17; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)
Here in the Silicon Valley especially San Jose, I get peak 48Mbps download and 14Mbps upload even though SF is the main city that receives the blazing fast 4G LTE on T-Mobile on my N5.
17. fervid (Posts: 173; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Must not have tested STL again, where I get 50-70 on ATT.
20. nothingmuch (Posts: 181; Member since: 03 May 2013)
I hate signing in here, it always takes at least 3 trys.
Wish my area had LTE :(
22. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 207; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)
27. MrRansom12 (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2013)
I will take a little less speed for far superior coverage, Verizon all the way, extensive side by side testing in about 8 states and they cream AT&T. I give kudos for AT&T for improving a lot, but they still gotta catch up and stop trying to claim more reliable and most "4G" and lying to your customers and work on the network more.
30. lsutigers (Posts: 758; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
Agreed, better coverage beats a little extra speed IMO.