PC World says AT&T best in 3G performance tests

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PC World says AT&T best in 3G performance tests
Last Spring, AT&T finished with the lowest average download speed in PC World's test of 3G network performance. Since then, the carrier has worked hard to improve coverage and speed. This has meant so much to the company that we wouldn't be surprised to hear that Luke Wilson was hammering in some cell towers on some quiet back road highway in the middle of the country. Regardless of the mechanics behind the turnaround, AT&T improved its download speed by 84% from the prior test and had download speeds that were on average 67% faster than Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The actual number from the new test was an average download speed in kilobits per second (kbps) of 1014 compared with the 818 of last Spring. Those results are compiled from tests of 13 cities and are the product of connecting with both a laptop and smartphone in each city.

AT&T has said that it was concentrating on improving the network in cities like New York and San Francisco, two mecca's of heavy smartphone usage. In the Big Apple, AT&T's average download speeds were 3 times faster when compared to the previous results. In San Fran, the carrier's average download speed was 40% faster than from the Spring. Obviously, someone is doing something right. The network's reliability also improved. Last Spring, PC World could get a usable connection from AT&T only 68% of the time. That figure rose to 94% with the new tests, which tied for first place with Sprint. T-Mobile and Verizon each had a 92% reliability figure in the tests. For those who have been complaining about AT&T's 3G network, it seems that the carrier has heard you and has made some serious corrections.

source: PCWorld


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57 Comments

1. easytochris

Posts: 126; Member since: Jan 21, 2010

LOL at verizon's reliability.

17. vzw fanman

Posts: 1977; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

it wasn't tested for reliability of voice coverage, only 3g. verizon is still the most reliable voice network.

21. xmguy1

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 04, 2009

I agree. AT&T sucks where I live. Between Nashville and Chattanooga TN. Verizon is the best around here!

39. ILOVEtechnology unregistered

The internet on verizon is really slow. I had verizon and admit that it was better as far as voice coverage. But the internet was way to slow. Just a opinion, don't go after me.

41. grech03

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 24, 2010

I wonder how much GAYT&T paid them to post these results.. I disagree 100% with this. Verizon Wireless has the most reliable 3G network and has for years. Before everyone started to refer to it as 3G! I remember my old BB Curve that i got a few years ago that i took everywhere and had 3G coverage(No one called it 3G back then but still had it). Cant wait for LTE to come out and demolish everything!

42. Schmao

Posts: 365; Member since: Jul 05, 2009

LOL GAYT&T

45. IcanBEATali

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 24, 2009

no one called it 3G a few years ago? I hate to break it to you, but its been called 3G since the technology launched (EVDO Rev. 0 on VZW). YOU may not have called it that... but everyone else did.

49. whocares

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 19, 2009

Makes sense why apple chooses at&t now eh?

52. ILOVEtechnology unregistered

im going to give you -200 for that buddy, stop calling a phone company gay and look at yourself in the mirror!

2. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

In my opinion VZW and AT&T are the best. One thing I have learned is that these studies have an average reliability of 20%. People need to experiment and see what works best for them. This study does do a good job of showing how these networks perform regionally. PC World also said that Sprint had "the most compelling phone line up"...are you serious? Regardless of how much I bash Sprint and how much PC World loves Sprint...go off your own personal experience and don't be afraid to try for 30 days (14 if you're trying T-Mobile). Although it perhaps would not have been a fair comparison they should have compared Sprint's WiMax in addition to the 3G just for kicks.

47. jbroots3

Posts: 104; Member since: Jan 29, 2010

i actually agree with rwolf on this one. Phone carriers are always going to spin numbers and results their way. It's an extremely competitive market. Even opinionated sites like PC world (or phonearena.com for that matter) have their own reasons for citing info with hidden bias. You really don't know until you try it. I like the Tmo & Sprint options bc the plans are better... i just don't have good Tmo coverage where i live and Sprint does well enough for me where i live right now, just as good as my verizon and alltell phones did.

53. ILOVEtechnology unregistered

Cellphone carriers are just like women, you just got to try them out until they wear out! LMAO

3. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

13 cities does not make a comprehensive test. which 13 cities? how about doing 50-100 cities and lets see how that holds up. ATT only has 7.2 in a handful of cities. It would be funny to see how these cities were cherry picked so ATT had higher speeds than everyone else. Bet they didnt run in Philly where they are testing the 21mpbs Tmobile network...LOL.

5. easytochris

Posts: 126; Member since: Jan 21, 2010

funny that you mention that because the first city i was looking for was philadelphia.

6. shimmyx20

Posts: 280; Member since: Mar 03, 2009

The second image shows which cities were picked and the test results for each one

4. Mateo8326

Posts: 472; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

i'm not surprise with ATT

7. numberonenygfan

Posts: 211; Member since: Oct 19, 2009

i guess in this case 5xs more doesnt mean 5time faster.. haha .. they still need to expand .. i dont care how fast it is if i cant use it in my area

8. Legacystar

Posts: 131; Member since: Dec 31, 2009

yah i think 13 cities is a little bit of a botch test

10. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

The big markets are where the people are. . .

13. phonedemocracy

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Doesn't include Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Albequerque. All of these markets are larger in population of smartphone users and size than San Diego. Also doesn't include T-Mobile or Sprint's advanced networks in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, or Houston. Not a wide enough test.

14. SamTime

Posts: 253; Member since: Nov 07, 2009

@rwolf very true

25. rwolf1984

Posts: 536; Member since: Jun 06, 2009

advanced networks? You mean 4G? they were only testing 3G.

38. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea, the problem with that, wolf, on tmobile, its 3.5G technically, and many of the current 3g handsets get a real kick in the speed department in philly and other test sites, using current phones. also, i noticed the speeds. this test was hand picked to test on mostly ATT 7.2mb/s cities, which are the far minority of ATT's coverage. I say that because otherwise ATT/Tmobile would be running at the same theoretical/real world speeds. Since there is such a difference between the 2, its easily concluded that they are cherry picking ATTs 7.2 towers. Must be one of those studies that was "endorsed" by a certain Luke Wilson loving company.

50. whocares

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 19, 2009

at&t is dallas based so im sure everywhere in texas is covered well lol

9. afroninja92

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 21, 2009

The speed statistics always seem strange to be, i live in the third mile, so i use sprint as a primary connection. Even with my modem being split through a switch and going to 5+ computers, i just speedtest'd at just over 2 mbits, is this because i am using a modem rather than a phone? or am i just lucky to have a pro tower...

16. spoonb1

Posts: 77; Member since: Jan 02, 2010

i use att and speed tested my telus htc hero and my acer liquid, both unlocked for use on att 3g, and get anywhere from 1.2mb minimum to 3.2mb depending on where in dallas/addison/dfw i was at the time.... and this is as is, the 7.2mb is not yet turned on here ... pretty real world if you ask me, since im not in some fancy van driving around with 10k in telecom equipment, just my phone in had at a table in tgiFridays eating dinner, lol

54. whocares

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 19, 2009

+1 for the awesome scenario lol

11. mr. anderson

Posts: 92; Member since: Apr 16, 2009

these figures are waaayyy off of what bgr got in their user test from all over the nation. it may not be quite as scientific, but is probably a much better snapshot of real world usage

12. omarc26

Posts: 360; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

what the fuck? da people that did those test must of been on crack . i had at&t and used it in 6 different states and it was horrible on the only one it came out wining was puerto rico. lucky puertoicans . at&t works the best in puerto rico. in all the other places it was crap.. verizon won

15. spoonb1

Posts: 77; Member since: Jan 02, 2010

ha ha ... you probably were on an iphone.... same goes for anyone using the iphone for testing will get varied results from using any other phone... the iphone is not the best "phone". funny how anyone testing att with an iphone gets worse results than with something else. im so tired of crapple products, bring on android from motorola and sony ericsson that will actually perform better as "phones" not just neat toys for surfing the web... can't wait to get the backflip, desire and X10 and never sell apple again

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