Verizon's LTE fastest, T-Mobile takes second place, while AT&T provides in rural America

Verizon's LTE fastest, T-Mobile takes second place, while AT&T provides in rural America
PC Mag just finished its extensive annual test of the nation's carrier networks, and the results are in. After driving with six people for 6000 miles, and using 16 smartphones in the process, more than 140 000 tests were made in 21 major cities, with specialized software supplied by Sensorly, to measure the network coverage and speeds of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS and Cricket.

Without going much into the details of it by geographical area, we'll just list what the tests found as an end result. When facts talk, marketing walks, so have a look at the charts below that say it all. Hit the source link, if you want a breakdown by region or city - the 21 test cities were Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Nashville, Jacksonville, South Florida, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The test devices were the LG Optimus C (the best Cricket had to offer), the Samsung Galaxy Indulge (MetroPCS), the HTC ThunderBolt (Verizon 4G), the HTC DROID Incredible (Verizon 3G), the Samsung Galaxy S 4G (T-Mobile), the HTC EVO 4G (Sprint), and the Samsung Infuse 4G with AT&T.

The tests found Verizon's 4G LTE network to be the fastest and most reliable in the major cities, with T-Mobile's recently upgraded 4G HSPA+ network taking second place. Verizon's 4G really delivered in Chicago, clocking 15.73Mbps on average. AT&T provided better performance in more rural areas, in terms of overall index, since despite all the 4G hype, its coverage is almost non-existent outside big cities for now, and this is going to change in the distant 2013. Sprint's situation is a bit different with its rented WiMAX network and CDMA standard, but it did well on the 4G test, coming third, while a traditional rural carrier like U.S. Cellular declined the tests of its network.

Last year we had AT&T taking the lead, while Verizon's LTE was still being built. Next year we will probably have different results with AT&T rolling out its LTE project, and Sprint possibly making a switch as well, while T-Mobile gets folded into AT&T's network. For 2011, however, the facts are listed in the two tables below. As for pricing and data caps, that's a whole different comparison, with its own heroes and villains.

source: PCMag

Nationwide carrier network test results

Nationwide carrier network test results


Rural areas carrier network test results

Rural areas carrier network test results


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34 Comments

1. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

I wonder how much Verizon stuffed their pockets for this lol.

10. Shemus Shaughnessey unregistered

Are you lost, fella?

16. jogutier

Posts: 324; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

@ The Miz, I luv HATERS!!!

2. topshelf1800 unregistered

verizon doesnt stuff pockets they actually invest in their network. Sprint spends more money annually on NASCAR than their network, so they lose.AT&T claims to have 4g but they have a boosted 3g signal, also lose. LTE is the future for now and verizon built that network. no bandwagon stuff here Verizon as far as network goes gets it done all other carriers are in the rear. just check consumer reports for the last 10 years only company that came close was Altell and look where they are now....

3. bluechrism unregistered

But is T-Mobile "4G" :)

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea, sprint and ATT say that as well, yet Tmo beats them all exept VZW. woops.

19. buck unregistered

You idiots, AT&T hasn't even begun to deploy 4G...and notice the commercials say.....There GETTING faster with 4G! AT&T's 4G won't launch until mid July...from there it's kick ass and take names! They worked on enhancing 3G to HSPA so when 4G is not available instead degrading all the way back to 3G you have HSPA+ which is something the Big Red nor sprint can say they have!

27. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

uhh. buck, theyve already launched LTE in New York. And they have been calling their slow ass HSPA that only goes to 12mb/s "4g". But hey, Sprint only goes to 12mb/s and they get to call that "4g" too. whats your point?

31. The Joker unregistered

Let me just go ahead and tell you that Verizon is the ONLY carrier with LTE rights in entire US. AT&T doesn't even have half the rights that Verizon has so it'll be the same old battle. AT&T will have fast coverage in some areas but Verizon will be the more reliable and widespread coverage

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

ahh, they tested my city. Average is lower than I expected concidering what I, but it also depends on time of day and area like anything else. While the average for my city is less than what i post on my 3g vibrant which is around 5mb/s, it does hold up with what i was saying about being able to keep up n beat vzw's LTE in my area. They beat tmo by a measily 0.24 on an average test which means they were fighting back n forth.

20. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Furher proof how little you know. In the other article you send Verizon could only get theoretical speeds of 30 Mbps and here we see they are getting real world. Also T Mobiles average speeds are under 4.

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

proving again, your an idiot. They did the tests in the beginning of june. The network was upgraded mid/late june. I posted results in this thread with PICTURES of current speed results, which are again, FASTER than what LTE got in my area, just like i said before. their theoretical cap is in the low 30s. They didnt hit 30 they hit a SPIKE in the high 20s. By the same token Tmobile hit spikes around 16s, JUST LIKE I SAID BEFORE.

30. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

BTW, im talking about jacksonville, my town. im aware that it hit a spike in the 30's somewhere in the national test, but hey, I dont live there... lol

34. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

If you can read it says high for Verizon was 37. How can theoretical be in the 30's if VZW is getting that real world?

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

6. stealthd unregistered

I can't wait until LTE is everywhere. With roaming agreements coverage could stop being an issue entirely.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

just realized, they did the test in jacksonville on june 2. They upgraded it to the "42mb/s" max on like the 18th. Thats why its not reflecting the speeds that ive been seeing lately. Oh well, still good though.

9. Shemus Shaughnessey unregistered

How can AT&T get the gold in the rural areas, especially with a success percentage being that low?

11. Sw1tchUp unregistered

Haters gonna hate on T-Mobile but they know were fast and that thats why At&t wants some of that

18. Galen20K

Posts: 555; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

I heard THAT! people like to follow misconceptions and be popular by hating the under dogs even tho they consistently match or Outperform the "slightly" bigger fella's. well I don't really expect much from people anyways so whatever, let them be as ignorant as they like.

12. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

here is what I ran this morning on my 3G vibrant on tmobile. Its a higher average than their 4G test from the beginning of the month, proving to any doubters that the speed limit cap raise actually affected average speeds. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9HFkMgGjzgWEvh-ukl00Qg?feat=directlink and just because its awesome, heres my vibrant's quad score on a 2.3.4 kernel overclocked to 1.54ghz. :) :) https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/piWnEtsgrWlasZqRblZjNw?feat=directlink

23. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Here is some pics of my LG-Slate 4g from like.. 10 minutes ago running speed tests. PC Mag did the speed test in jax on june2, the network was upgraded mid/late June.. this is the current results. Gslate wide shot for proofhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dqvnwO36LBnj-tjmiw3Y9FIMF1TT7R3Vit-09bdPuKg?feat=directlink Gslate up close so u can read the speed historyhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/khpespdJUJPgKGNRcX0G6lIMF1TT7R3Vit-09bdPuKg?feat=directlink

24. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

"whooos the speeed king noooooow" :)

13. VerizonFan

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 27, 2011

They should have tested in Seattle cause the market here must be way different I have a thunderbolt for Verizon an EVO 3d for sprint and a g2 for tmobile and I have never gotten above 1.7 mbps on my g2 but in speedtest Verizon rules I get 26 to 31 constant never gotten any lower and on my EVO 3d I always get between 11 to 15 never got any lower but I notice my web pages and YouTube videos open and load faster on my EVO 3d than my thunderbolt there has been a couple times where its loaded the desktop YouTube page 20 sec faster than my thunderbolt so they shoulda came here maybe woulda had diff results

21. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

thats funny, since sprint's wimax is only capable of 12mb/s, not 15. nice try.

25. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

On the right day, although its rare, ive seen 12-14 Mbs here in Albany NY on an Evo Shift. Oddly enough, ive never seen better than 10 on an Epic or Evo, or even a 3D. Dont have an answer for that one... Im pretty sure i cant crack half a megabit on 3G, however. Sprint 3G is terrible

28. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

CDMA 3g is great for coverage but yea, it doesnt have any speed to it at all.

14. xmguy11 unregistered

"AT&T provided better performance in more rural areas," I don't know what PC Mag has been smoking. But here in rural Tennessee (between Chattanooga and Nashville. AT&T sucks! Even their coverage map shows this. T-Mobile shows better.

15. xmguy11 unregistered

Verizon (3g for now) is king here!

17. jogutier

Posts: 324; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

Hercules, hercules, hercules. YEA VERIZON !!!!

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