iPad 4G LTE speed comparison: Verizon vs AT&T

iPad 4G LTE speed comparison: Verizon vs AT&T
Now that we have already discussed the AT&T and Verizon 4G data plans that you can choose from for your new iPad, it is time to examine what kind of service you will actually be getting in exchange for your money. And in order to do that, we have put together several iPad 4G LTE speed tests performed in various locations across the U.S.

First, let us present you with our own benchmark results from a Verizon iPad running on 4G LTE. The testing took place in the Ft Lauderdale area over a period of 24 hours, and the software that we used was the SpeedTest app from Ookla. During peak times, the Verizon iPad averaged speeds of about 5 to 6 megabits per second on the downlink, and about 2 megabits per second on the uplink. However, during the late hours of the day we saw download speeds ranging from 11-13 Mbps and uploads of 4-5 Mbps. Further testing with a Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX for Verizon returned similar results. 

CNET did its iPad 4G LTE speed tests across three well-populated areas of San Francisco: Union Square, the Pier 39 area, and the media's very own headquarters, which is located near the Financial District. Both an AT&T and Verizon model of the iPad have been used along with the SpeedTest app. An iPhone 4S hooked up to the Verizon iPad via its mobile hotspot feature has also been thrown in the testing for good measure. Unsurprisingly, the 4G LTE data speeds varied greatly from one location to another. At the end of the day, AT&T was the carrier, which delivered the faster LTE speeds, although Verizon was not lagging far behind. 

Gizmodo uses its own 4G LTE benchmark system that collects user data from all over the U.S. Apple iPad tablets with 4G from both AT&T and Verizon can be used in the testing, including the "old" iPad 2 and first-gen iPad. The results show that with the new iPad, Verizon manages to provide faster 4G LTE speeds on average: nearly 7.2Mbps versus 6.8Mbps for 4G LTE by AT&T. However, both carriers perform equally well when it comes to peak internet speeds. Interestingly, the iPad 2 on Verizon is nearly twice as fast on 3G when compared to the AT&T iPad 2 model, according to the collected data.

Padgadget also tested a couple of iPads across the Dallas area - one for Verizon and one for AT&T, but a clear winner was hard to pick. That was because internet access speeds varied depending on the location, in which the tablet was being used. For example, the Verizon iPad had the upper hand when tested at a large shopping center, while the AT&T model performed noticeably better at a bar. That goes to show how vastly the performance of 4G LTE service may differ from one location to another. 

In conclusion, it is really hard to tell whether AT&T or Verizon will provide you with better 4G LTE service for your new iPad as that greatly depends on your location and on the network load. But whichever carrier you choose, one thing is certain - there will be a humongous difference between the 3G speeds you have experienced in the past, and the 4G speeds that you will be getting with the new iPad.

Related phones

iPad 3 AT&T
  • Display 9.7" 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A5X, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 11560 mAh
iPad 3 Verizon
  • Display 9.7" 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A5X, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 11560 mAh



1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Should have done the test on the S.F. peninsula. The only time I get slower than 20 Mbps down (San Mateo/Burlingame area) is when school is out and the kids are whacking the network. Unless the Droid RAZR is somehow faster than the iPad3?

2. biophone

Posts: 1994; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Two things 1: i am surprised people found an area where at&t has lte. 2: at&t has alot newer lte with alot less people on it remember the speeds verizon was getting before so many people had vzw lte.

3. Jamus

Posts: 30; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

I'm glad someone else is thinking as I am. Currently, VZW kills AT&T in availability of LTE which makes the #1. The results here that favor AT&T will appeal to the 2-3 dozen people in NY who live next to the 1 tower they have up nationwide (a little dramatic, but w.e). For the rest of the country/consumers, you should compare HSPA+ to VZW 4G. Atleast the coverage maps are closer.

5. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

AT&T is moving at a really fast pace to get their LTE out since the HSPA+ "failure" AT&T is new, let's do this same test in a few months, and then see.

24. NOLATechy

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 08, 2013

I agree. Here in the New Orleans area, my friends on AT&T are seeing 25-30 mbps download speeds, while my VZW LTE is only seeing about 16-20 mbps. I'm also disgusted at VZW support of my device, so I'm really thinking of going to AT&T. VZW customer service is HORRIBLE! They may care about their network, but they sure don't care about their customes!

4. smf907

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

When verizon lte was new i was getting 20-35mbps download speed im suprized att is getting those speeds since its open with no congestion yet

6. nnaatthhaannx2

Posts: 820; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

Lovely PA, just gathers up other sites' articles. Thanks.

7. ankrul2004

Posts: 16; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

I agree with what's been said. I'm a big red employee and when we launched LTE December 2010 we regularly saw 12-25 MBPS download speeds. Now that we have penetrated more than half the US population,we see the advertised 5-12 MBPS download speed.

8. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

I am so sick and tired of reviewers comparing speed tests for LTE with Verizon and AT&T. Do we all not realize that Verizon's network has tons of people on it which actually affect speeds? Stop doing these tests now...do them 6 months to a year from now!!! Another thing...Verizon has more spectrum and uses a lower frequency..700mhz on it's entire network. AT&T uses some high frequency spectrum which means it will not penetrate barriers as well as Verizon. AT&T is an evil anti consumer friendly company which punishes it's customers by unfair throttling data based on a single day usage, they have the worst data plan prices, plus they have a network which can't handle its subscibers because they don't invest enough in their own infrastructure. There is NO COMPARISON...SCREW AT&T WIRELESS!!

9. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Actually, they are called AT&T MOBILITY - also, when LTE is not working or is not available you have to switch to Wi-Fi because the Verizon 3G data network is very slow and you cannot even talk and surf the web at the same time. However, I agree - do these tests when AT&T has more LTE users in 2 years. Meanwhile using HSPA+ is not so bad, when you consider the alternatives.

10. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

Actually..I don't care what you call AT&T. A company who was recently sued and lost for throttling data in an unfair manor. Furthermore you are dead wrong about Verizon 3G being so slow. It is the most reliable connection out there and is plenty fast to surf the web at decent speeds. If you were more informed on the network infrastructure of AT&T you would know that you only achieve good speeds on HSPA+ if you have enough towers and low traffic to make it possible. Data on HSPA+network cannot penetrate barriers nearly as well as a CDMA network. Guess what happens when you can't penetrate walls...speeds DECREASE. Also, AT&T's network is congested in major metropolitan cities also causing speeds to go down. I have tested speeds all over with AT&T and Verizon..I have BOTH carries as my business uses AT&T. Lastly...Verizon 4G is almost everywhere you would want to be..and you CAN surf the web and talk while on a 4G tower. And if you need further evidence that AT&T is crap feel free to look at JD Power and Associates...

11. jussme55

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Why don't you shut up and do a free commercial for verizon already. Who cares what your experience has been? If your service works great for you, that's great for you but you can only speak for you. Many of us are completely happy with AT&T so you can't speak for us. My experience with Verizon has been crappy so I don't use them but I'll never tell anyone not to use it just because I don't like it. You remind me of the people who make terrible decisions and want to justify them by getting everybody else to do the same. Be happy with your own choices already.

13. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

Why don't you read what I'm saying then shut up yourself and stop being so ignorant as you defend a horrible company. Sorry you aren't smart enough to do your own research but guess what, I have. That's great that it works for you..does not mean that it is true for most people. Does not change that they overcharge for data and throttle unlimited plans unfairly. Does not change that they can't handle the demands of their customers. How about you read up on customer satisfaction surveys and realize that AT&T is dead last while Verizon is number ONE. Facts suck don't they. What's wrong JUSME55..was a customer service agent mean to you so now you hate Verizon ha. I'll judge a carrier on reception, call quality and data quality. Here are a few links to enjoy: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/att-loses-iphone-data-throttling-case/story?id=15927963 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/05/att-ranks-last-in-customer-satisfaction-sprint-on-the-rise-survery-says.html

15. jussme55

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

Talk about testy... Apparently I must have stepped on someone's feelings. I didn't realize you were the ceo of Verizon. While you're quoting and pointing out what other people say, I judge companies & products by what works for me. You are the definition of ignorance...you choose what's best for you by what someone tells you is best for you. Smart people use research as a starting point but then choose by personal experience. You say I defend a horrible company when I simply state that service has been best for me after using multiple services. One thing I've learned about fanboys (or girls) like you is that you defend til the end. You're just as bad as apple fanboys, your company does not wrong. I've seen people like you struggle with service but still swear your service is always great. I understand every product has negatives and I'm not afraid to call them on it. Yes, AT&T works best for me but they piss me off at times too. Yes, Apple products work well but there are several things I am still not happy about there products. Yes, I prefer Microsoft products but there are many things that could be much better. If AT&T is so horrible, they shouldn't have so many millions of subscribers...just under the amount that Verizon has. Since you like to quote things, how about quoting that Verizon only passed the number of AT&T subscribers after the Alltell merger. Now go happily enjoy your love affair with your company that only cares about your money.

16. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

Hey jussme55...it's really amazing to me that you call me testy when YOU are the little complaining whiner that told me to shut up. Your answer to facts are to tell me to shut up. Guess what...I will never give you that satisfaction. I just gave you and all the readers here 2 facts which you just seem to keep ignoring so I will repeat them since you seem a bit grumpy that ATT is dead last in several key categories. So I guess you need some more facts and here you are..this is just for you jussme55 so pay attention: http://www.intomobile.com/2010/05/05/att-customers-log-the-most-dropped-call-complaints-verizon-claims-least/ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-57337424-17/at-t-rated-worst-cell-phone-carrier-for-second-year-in-a-row/ http://www.dailytech.com/Report+ATT+Worst+in+Customer+Satisfaction+for+2nd+Year+in+a+Row/article23462.htm I could go on and on and on. It's hysterical to me that you think just because I am proving ATT is a disliked company with anti-consumer friendly business practices that you think I am some pro-Verizon CEO hahaha. Keep up that argument buddy!!!!!!! Go back to my original argument and keep it at that...if I were shopping for an LTE iPad I would never choose ATT over VERIZON based of amount of spectrum, the frequency of the spectrum 700 vs some 1900 and lastly the fact that ATT unfarily throttles it's customers and got sued and LOST for doing so. They need spectrum so bad they decided to purchase T-Mobile and screw the economy in creating a monopoly which drives up prices. Here is another awesome quote by you.... " Smart people use research as a starting point but then choose by personal experience." So you are saying I'm not smart because I am pointing out to you all these wonderful facts about ATT and I should just use my own experience? WRONG! I choose not to support companies that treat customers this way. A company that values getting as many subscibers as possible over capital investments. So you go enjoy your ATT cell phone and keep sending them a check every month. I'd say give me a call and we can talk more about it but dropped calls can be so annoying =)

17. jussme55

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 22, 2012

I typically won't go back and forth with people like you because there is clearly no hope for you and your love affair with your mega company. You represent the people who are dangerous for consumers. You see no wrong that your company does and you defend to the death. I'm not defending AT&T but I am calling you out on your bias because you can't choose what's best for everyone. In your world, I should just choose Verizon because you and others love it so I must love it too...despite the fact that it hasn't been so great for me. You spew crap about being dead last yet it took a merger for Verizon to gain more customers. Why aren't flocks of people dropping the service and going with Verizon? You talk about spectrum yet Verizon has been in the news lately saying they are nearing their caps and are trying to buy more. You talk about how AT&T does it's customers when every company is guilty of the same things. When I had Verizon, I had to go over my bill with a fine toothed comb every month because I was constantly being overcharged and then it was like fight club trying to get them to correct it. "My" experience with AT&T has been much different...I have had no issues getting them to credit me for things I am guilty of doing. I guess you believe Verizon has never been sued for any of their practices. The key is that AT&T lost...which means that the little guy has a chance against the mega corp but I guess Verizon doesn't throttle or have tiered data, right? You say you would never buy an AT&T Ipad with LTE but I guess many people don't care much for your way of thinking because apparently enough people purchased them to cause them to sell out. If I'm not mistaken, many more iPads and iPhones are sold on AT&T. So to counter your last comment....now you answer your Verizon iPhone while your surfing the net...oh, you can't. I have yet to drop a call after years of service.

18. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/03/22/govt-sued-by-justice-department_n_1373308.html I'm laughing my head off...this was just in the news TODAY. Pay attention Jussme55

19. molsky

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 10, 2011

I love your crap argument about the Verizon merger. If you weren't so uninformed you would realize ATT bought Cingular which is the same thing..haha. Also your iphone comment about more on ATT lol also a good one. EVERYONE knows ATT was the first to get it but overall subscribers is much higher at Verizon and they also have a lower churn rate!

12. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

Wow... Union Square is a hotspot for AT&T!!!

14. kevv2288 unregistered

verizon lte is cleary better then att i.always get between 12-20 mbps down and 8-12 up also verizon does have the technology to.talk and surf at the same time on3g its called svdo works on htc rezound and i.believe the thunderbolt has it too

20. Robinate

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 21, 2012

I have Verizon 4g that I often got 7-8 mbps (Thunderbolt, & Droid Charger), and the max is 12-13 mbps. I don't have At&t, but there was one time I tested it in one of my local BestBuy. I got only 4+ mbps running speedtest.net on a demo Samsung Galaxy Note, for serveral times. Verizon is clearly the leader in term of speed. Sprint is suck since they only have 3g in my area.

21. MaryMary222

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 31, 2012

I've been on 4G LTE with AT&T now for about four months in Austin; can't imagine being without it to run my salon (take client appointments, reschedules, log hair colors and TAKE PICTURES!). Smartphones were made for the hair salon.

22. hellojustinr

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 02, 2012

Wait wtf? How is 9Mbps possible on the Verizon iPad 2 when the 3G CDMA2000 standard only supports a maximum of 3Mbps?

23. hellojustinr

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 02, 2012

In my area (Orlando, FL), AT&T has the lead on speed, with 4G LTE speeds clocking in at 25-30Mbps on my new iPad and Verizon's 4G LTE clocking in at 15-20Mbps. Both are still good and they have coverage everywhere in my area. For 3G, both have good coverage as well, but AT&T also has a lead as its 3G/4G network allows for downloads speeds (unbelievably) up to 10Mbps, although I usually get around 5-7Mbps, still crazy speeds for 3G HSDPA. Meanwhile Verizon's 3G network in my area gets a somwhat slower, but very consistent 2-3Mbps speed. Both are great. I honestly don't see Verizon and AT&T as enemies in my area lol, with AT&T just being a bit faster I lean with them.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless