Verizon or T-Mobile, what's the best carrier to have an iPhone X or Galaxy S9 on?

Verizon or T-Mobile, what's the best carrier to have an iPhone X or Galaxy S9 on?
Entangled in a patent war with Qualcomm, Apple is trying to avoid the use of its components like cellular modems anyway it can, and has been shipping iPhones with Intel modems for a while now, destined for GSM networks like AT&T. The iPhone X isn't spared this duplicity and comes in versions with both Qualcomm's X16 LTE modem, and Intel's XMM7480.

The X16 was the modem of choice for most flagships sold in the US last year, as it allows CDMA network tapping, and up to 1Gbps downloads, but since the Intel chip maxes out at 600Mbps, Apple neutered the X16 to even all models out. The bad part, however, is that there are still differences in download speeds between the iPhone X's A1865 model, which is on Verizon or Sprint, thus uses the Qualcomm modem, albeit in a crippled version, and the more widely available A1901 variant with the Intel modem that's shipped to AT&T, T-Mobile, and most every other GSM network globally.

What's left to test now? Well, how does the iPhone X fare against an even faster X20 in this year's Android flagships with Snapdragon 845? You apparently need a phone like the Galaxy S9, or the G7 that support the latest LTE cat. 18 speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, and all the new rural bands that T-Mobile and others are rolling out across the country, too. The folks from Speedtest ran a comparison with the iPhone X, and found out it serves much slower download speeds on average than Samsung's latest Galaxy S9, no matter which carrier it's hooked to. 

Overall, if you are an iPhone X owner, you are best off on Verizon, as you can see from the table below, but you will still experience much slower speeds on average than if you are with the Galaxy S9. Given that in big cities the two fastest carriers - T-Mobile and Verizon - are crossing the 30Mbps average speed threshold these days, that difference might start being noticeable. Bear in mind that the report generated more than 300,000 iPhone X samples, while the Galaxy S9 pool was ten times smaller, but it's still quite telling who's a speed king and explains why the S9 was the phone of choice to demo pre-5G speeds achieved on a commercial LTE network recently.

Verizon or T-Mobile, what's the best carrier to have an iPhone X or Galaxy S9 on?
source: Speedtest

Related phones

Galaxy S9
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(31h talk time)
iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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10 Comments

1. tuminatr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Hello

2. tuminatr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

So T-mobile would sell the technically inferior A1901 Verizon the A1865.In other words you should buy the Verizon one and use it even if you have T-mobile

6. talon95

Posts: 985; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

The inferior version of the qualcomm chip seemed to refer to the A1865 from Verizon if i read it correctly, vs the intel modem in the A1901. I though that was just in relation to other qualcomm modems and not a comparison to the intel at all.

9. tuminatr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I understood the difference is the Qualcomm supports gigabit LTE and MIMO 4x4 the Intel does not. Apple is throttling the performance on the Qualcomm so both are performing equally https://www.techwalls.com/iphone-x-a1865-qualcomm-a1901-intel-modem/

3. BullaBoss

Posts: 141; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

It seems like even though the modem isnt saturated, speed differences can still be felt.

4. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 636; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

Yeah. That surprises me a bit. I would think that since both of their max speeds are well above that it wouldn't make a difference.

5. TechSceptic

Posts: 1156; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

This seems to align with the previous study that was done on speeds on different carriers. The Galaxy S9 completely demolishes the iPhone X in connectivity. The score and speeds are vastly higher. This isn't that surprising, as the iPhone X has an outdated Cat 12, while the Galaxy S9/S9+ both have a CAT 18 LTE modem, which is capable of speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps. However, the difference is felt at every single connection, as the better modem attains better speeds and stability in every scenario, as it's simply newer and better tech. This is seen from the scores in this test. I'll say it again. Samsung and hardware, they're among the very best at it.

7. kiko007

Posts: 7491; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

How many times have you experienced these “vastly superior” LTE speeds, though?

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 1901; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

iPhone X has a better camera though.

10. tuminatr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I have seen shots from both, IMHO the iPhone oversaturates colors but people like that. The Pixel 2 stomps them both however

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