T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42Mbps network faster than Verizon's 4G LTE in 11 cities

T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42Mbps network faster than Verizon's 4G LTE in 11 cities
In speed tests conducted by PC Magazine, T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42Mbps 4G network beat Verizon's 4G LTE network in 11 cities. What does PC Magazine think about T-Mobile's HSPA+ service? "It’s really fast, covers a lot of the country and is inexpensive," says the publication. Taking it even further, PC Magazine says that with this type of speed available to its customers, the nation's fourth largest carrier doesn't really need an  LTE network except to have the additional spectrum and for marketing purposes. Anyone who thinks that T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42Mbps network doesn't belong in the same conversation as LTE should probably take a look at the numbers

Although it was outperformed in some areas, as we pointed out above, Verizon proved to have the best network overall, looking at both upload and download speeds. Still, T-Mobile was the best carrier in the North Central, South Central and Southwest regions. In some areas, the carrier won by a large margin. For example, in the North and South Central Regions, T-Mobile's data speeds were often twice as fast as second place AT&T. You can visit the sourcelink to see results of the speed tests in individual cities.

In the meantime, we can look at the results from some major cities. In Miami, on the download test, Verizon's 4G LTE just edged out T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 pipeline, but those two were well above the rest of the carriers. On the upload side, Verizon's 4G LTE won by a landslide. In New York, it was AT&T's 4G LTE network that had the highest download speed which peaked at 41.59Mbps. Verizon's 4G LTE and T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42 had scores about half those of AT&T. Verizon's 4G LTE had the highest upload speeds. In San Francisco, it was AT&T's 4G LTE network that had the fastest download speeds while Verizon's 4G LTE pipeline offering the top upload speeds.

What about Sprint? Well, the carrier was at a disadvantage as it doesn't have an HSPA+ pipeline of course, and while it does offer 4G via WiMAX, those speeds are slower and later this year the carrier is expected to turn on its LTE network which means next year's tests should be more competitive.

source: PCMag



1. Cugino2007

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 31, 2012

Were the tests done indoors or outdoors? With my experience, T-Mobile is plenty fast, as long as your outdoors. Indoors the signal is virtually nonexistent.

6. Galen20K

Posts: 577; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

In 12 years with T-Mobile I've always had fantastic indoor signal strength. Obviously the very small area where you live/go does not represent the entire experience of the United States.

58. ravx25

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

It doesn't have to be a small area. I live in the middle of Dallas Forth Worth and Tmobile blows here. I work just north of DFW Airport and get little to no 4G coverage. Tmobile just blows in some places. Unfortunately for me, they suck in Dallas...one of the largest places in the Unites States.

65. abrahavt

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

I tried TMobile for a day before switching back to ATT. I could barely get one bar in my home and the constant search for a signal killed the battery in no time.

17. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

I dont know what your talking about. I do clinicals in a very large hospital and have full 4g coverage the whole way through it. I have a friend with a VZ thunderbolt that only gets coverage on the outter edges. Its all about where you are. There is no such thing as a perfect carrier.. just perfect for your location.

29. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i think that's interference from Hospital Equipment, it's a tried theory, i've been in Hospitals recently with my Razr and i go from full LTE connectivity to nothing in the few minutes it takes me to get further into the Hospital. that doesn't happen anywhere else and i do grunt work in a factory sometimes which is in a thick, solid industrial building.

31. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

LTE generally gets better building penetration than GSM so if its not interfering with mine, it shouldnt be interfering with yours. Then again, im up with the patients or down in surgery. oooh surgery is fuuuun. :) I think its just a weak area for VZW. I tossed that at a VZW rep the other day that tried the old "you will keep losing signal on Tmo" line. He didnt have much of an answer. Sad part is that i know its a canned responce, since we all said that when we worked there.. lol. Honest truth, one covers 96% of americans, the other covers like 98% of americans.. there isnt that big of a difference other than the boonies.

44. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

oh i wasn't talking about the actual Hospital Building, i'm talking about the Equipment like CAT Scanners and whatnot.

52. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ahh. havent had an issue yet regardless of what I'm near. So, so far i've been very happily surprised with the service.

69. barterpc

Posts: 5; Member since: Jun 19, 2013

KingKurogiii you shouldn't be dampened that much. LTE like CDMA signals re-route so theoretically if you have good coverage you should have it throughout. Actually I've gone in hospital basements with older CDMA 800 and had almost flawless coverage. It might also be in your hospital they specifically install cell-dampening. They do this alot now in places where the cell may interfere with normal operations of radiological equipment. They install UHF dampeners to guarantee it won't happen, as a precaution. But if you did it near Radiology, it's normally hospital policy to have you turn off your cell there anyway.

2. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Heh heh heh. I hope this silences all the ignorant folk who don't consider HSPA+ in the same speed tiers as LTE... Looking forward to LTE-Advanced and next-gen HSPA+ versions Oh yeah, and sprint is still slowest, to no one's surprise. Hope for their sake they trade unlimited for speed and quality (especially structure penetration), otherwise they'll keep losing money and customers

4. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

there won't be next gen HSPA+, that's the whole point of it not being comparable to LTE even though the speeds are indeed pretty comparable.

18. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

technically, HSPA+ is capable of 84mb/s and thats probably what he meant. Tmobile had plans to go 84 (and they still might, who knows), but they decided to concentrate on LTE revision 10 first. Tmobile isnt the first with the tech, but when they build it, they build it pretty smartly. They werent first with 3g or 4g, and they blew past everyone, and they are not the first with LTE, but they are building it in a way to make super quick upgrades. Which means as a consumer your getting a lot more for your money.

25. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

that's all well and good now but that strategy is merely a quick fix, T-Mobile can't afford to divulge into changing network technologies at the drop of a hat like the larger carriers can. it's much better to have one solid type of network than multiple types of networks that you need a bunch of different radios to even be able to take advantage of. it's like swimming, if you keep coming up for air every few seconds then you're not going to get anywhere.

32. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Tmobile isnt switching anything. They are reorganizing. No, Sprint tried that "well, we will just get a little of every technology and see what sticks" approach and they suck for it. iDen, cdma, wimax, lte.. whats next? lol. Tmobile's approach has always been to wait and let the big guys pay the big bux for the equipment. Then when economies of scale kick in, they get the newer, upgraded version for cheaper. They waited on 3g, and then ran circles around ATT/VZW speed with their quick upgrade to hsdpa, hspa+ 21, then hspa+ 42 ... and now they are set to do it again with LTE-10 set up in a way that leaves them open for a super quick upgrade for the future. They went from 2g to 4g with a wide roll out faster than either ATT or VZW could get from 3g to 4g. Now they are condensing the network a bit and moving their "4g hspa+ to 1900 as well so they can use 1700/2100 for LTE. A move that not only makes them international device compatible, but offers even better in building penetration with minimal extra cost. Tmobile is very smart with how they implement the network. Where they suck at is consistency in plans and advertising.. which has cost them quite a bit.

45. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

to the end user it really isn't that different from what Sprint used to do. you still have to buy specific devices to be able to use the different categories of HSPA+ and then the phones that are available now won't be compatible with LTE when they roll that out. that's when the network fragmentation becomes a problem. you say they'll have LTE-10 set up in a way that'll open them up for a super quick update but they're nowhere near as prepared as Verizon having nearly half of the nation covered in LTE TODAY. T-Mobile still needs time to roll out an LTE Network, that takes time no matter who you are. of course T-Mobile got onboard with 4G quicker, it's 3G upgrade tech, it's quick, easy and cheap to upgrade but investing into it whole heartily isn't the way to prepare for a future that meets an LTE standard.

53. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

bah. were gonna just have to disagree. its no different than VZW's CDMA phones being locked out of LTE, or any other company's GSM/LTE. So its really a moot point. the big difference is, when your not on LTE, your on 42mb/s hspa+. When your on verizon and your not on LTE, your on 2mbs CDMA. Your over complicating a non issue for Tmobile. Its a lot more important for VZW to speed LTE across their map than it is for Tmobile to hurry it up with LTE. For them its more marketing at this point than an increase in service. Look at the scores.. they are identical. To the end user that doesnt really care.. whats the difference? There really is non on the short term, and they will be on LTE on a similar time table to Sprint, so its not like they will be "behind. They will be among fastest 4g now, and right up there tomorrow.

56. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

Tmobile also uses AT&T's network alot. Tmo doesn't have great coverage. I guess they deploy a lot less towers in areas than the bigger carriers. So they "borrow" AT&T's network, which is probably the reason for the 1700 band. If I'm not mistaken, AT&T is using a 1700's band also.

3. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

it all comes down to the same thing, Verizon has more people using their LTE network than AT&T does with theirs and T-Mobile does with their 42mbps category HSPA+. they're all very capable networks. AT&T & Verizon use the same damn thing and HSPA+ 42mbps does compare quite nicely however it's long term potential is non-existent hence why T-Mobile is eventually going towards the goal of having an LTE network up and going so really i think the winner in terms of progress is Verizon being that they are much, much further along in rolling out their LTE network and that'll also make them even more ready for the upgrade to LTE-Adv in the near future, the network is just getting more adverse effects from having more LTE users to hog up the spectrum. once Verizon finishes maximizing network efficiency they'll have it down and if AT&T doesn't pick up the pace Sprint and T-Mobile may surpass them in the LTE race eventually. we'll just have to see about that.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Finally someone with some sense speaks! King, that is what I'm talking about! Verizon has by far more people on their LTE network, thus slowing down the data network speeds. Remember how fast they reported it when it first came out on limited networks? Yep same thing can be said about AT&T as well, trust me once it reaches 100+ more cities and more and more people are using their LTE network, it will slow down as well. Sprint's network is a joke because how much of an epic fail they had with their "4G" network. They flat out gave up on it and are in last in line once again. Why bother even have unlimited data when your network is slower than dial up? At least Verizon has a large LTE network and a HUGE 3G network that covers so many people and can actually be used indoors too. AT&T at least has a large HSPA+ network that by itself is very fast and so is T-Mobile's. Sprint needs to rush their LTE network out now and quick.

10. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

yeah, Sprint is easily forgettable when discussing 4G networks and their term potential, they had such an Amazing device last year with the E4GT but Sprint's network totally killed it and then like you brought up there Sprint's signal frequencies make using Sprint indoors a real pain in the you know what and their customer support is the WORST but i digress, luckily Sprint could turn their luck around by following Verizon's example being the other side of the CDMA coin here in the US and do an aggressive roll-out of their LTE network and maybe catch AT&T off guard. the GSM carriers may be comfortable with HSPA+ now but they may find themselves too far behind in a future where LTE technology is having it's potential increase exponentially and HSPA+ is hitting a stand still.

19. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

one thing you forgot is that Tmobile's HSPA network is in much higher use than either ATT or VZW's LTE. Since HSPA+ shares bandwith with the 3g phones, there is always a lot more use. And it still kicks butt. Heres a big middle finger to all those morons that kept trying to say that Tmobile sucks. :)

22. maxican16

Posts: 364; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

Hmm, is there more use on Tmobile's 3G / HSPA+ network than on VZW's 4G LTE network?? Honest question. Good on Tmobile though. If only they had better coverage where I live...

23. N.Reynolds

Posts: 257; Member since: Feb 15, 2011

Remix, I have respect for you after seeing all your posts over the past couple years and yes T-Mobile's HSPA+ is fast but I still say T-Mobile sucks.

24. greathero1

Posts: 584; Member since: Jun 13, 2008

Well, I am a Tmo subscriber and their network is fast at times but it is very inconsistent. Too many times over you will have 5 bars and a big 4G label but horrible and slow service. They have been very subpar in my 3 year experience but I have stomached the service in order to have a cheaper bill.

35. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

say what you want. I was just given the option to switch to other networks and I dont see a point. Why pay more for less if its working like a dream where I'm at. Its all about where you are.

27. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

that's true but remember T-Mobile is the fourth largest carrier in the States, that brings to question how many T-Mobile users there are in a given area using bandwidth vs. the percentage of LTE users there are in those areas especially when we're talking about HSPA+ 42mbps because even though it is upgraded 3G doesn't mean that 3G devices cause as much signal degradation as LTE users do for each other. another thing you might want to remember is that handsets using T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42mbps technology probably haven't seen nearly as much adoption as LTE devices have on Verizon. most people on T-Mobile are there to save money and don't necessarily care about having the latest and greatest. the people that care enough about the latest and greatest to pay more for it are on Verizon. when i look at the classifieds section on forums or on sites like Swappa or Glyde Verizon listings always outnumber everybody else's listings.

34. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

it doesnt matter if its HSPA+10, 14, 21, or 42.. its the same signal. the only difference between 21 and 42 is in the phone.. it uses a dual modem of sorts. HSPA+ is considered more bandwidth friendly up to 84, then LTE starts beating it at higher ranges. Every 4g phone tmobile has runs the same HSPA+ signal, which is quite a bit. Almost every phone Tmobile has sold in the last 2+ years has been 4G, where on ATT and VZW, a large chunk of their sales is 3g iphones. Last report had only like 2 or 3 million LTE devices running on VZW if i remember right (which even i thought seemed low) That is well below whats running on Tmobile. VZW may have more customers, but it has a much smaller percent of people on LTE since only specific devices can use it. On Tmobile, nearly every smartphone in the store uses HSPA+

46. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

yeah, i don't think it's that cut and dry bro. if that were the case 42mbps phones would never even drop to 3G but they do. around 10% of Verizon's subscriber base has switched to LTE. i still think the amount of signal degradation falls within what category of HSPA+ you're using. so i'm still going by Verizon LTE vs. T-Mobile's 42mbps HSPA+.

54. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

technically anything under 12mb/s is 3G so thats a pretty broad range of "still too fast to care" :) Not all of Tmobile's 3g network has been upgraded to hspa+42. There are still pockets of HSDPA to be found, so yea, the phone will drop. but again, when the phone drops from 4g to 3g on tmobile its going from 42 to 7. On VZW its going from about the same to 1.5-2. On the high range they are near identical, on the low range its a pretty substantial difference in speed.

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