Which Mobile Data Network is Really the Fastest?

| June 28, 2011 | Reply

Choose a carrier and ask them “who has the fastest mobile data network” and they’ll more than likely say “we do”. Ask another carrier and they’ll claim it’s them. Some will claim that their competitors’ fastest mobile data option isn’t REALLY 4G while those same competitors assure you that it is. The whole mobile data “war” can be quite confusing for the average consumer – heck, even for the hardcore mobile enthusiast!

PC Magazine recently published a story, comparing the data offerings of major carriers, that might help clear up who really does offer the best in mobile data. They compared 5 different carriers in testing that spanned 21 different cities across the U.S. and give a very in-depth analysis of their findings. In addition to speed they also tested mobile data reliability.

For those who don’t feel like browsing PC Magazine’s 20+ page story I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that Verizon took the overall crown in the speed department, which won’t surprise most. One thing that might surprise a lot of people is that AT&T seems to take the cake in the reliability department of their test, providing the “best balance of speed and coverage”.

Take a look at the regional results below, and hit up the link to the full PC Magazine story after that if you want to find out more.

Notheast: Verizon 4G

Verizon’s new 4G network covers many of the Northeast’s top metro areas, including Boston, the Hartford-New York-Philadelphia corridor, Pittsburgh, and the Baltimore-Washington corridor. We tested in Pittsburgh, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. In those areas, while T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 21 network is also speedy, Verizon’s 4G is by far the fastest. Outside the metro areas, AT&T offered the best balance of speed and coverage.


Southeast: Verizon 4G

In the Southeast, we tested in Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale. Verizon’s 4G network came out the fastest in every city, while outside the cities, AT&T and T-Mobile virtually tied for best results. Pick Verizon for speed and AT&T for coverage.


Central: Verizon 4G

Our Central region included our only city without Verizon 4G, Kansas City. We also tested in Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Dallas. Even with a zero score for Kansas City, Verizon 4G was the fastest network for the region. (It also covers a large area around Chicago and in central Oklahoma.) The Central cities were some of the nation’s fastest, overall. We saw leading speeds in Chicago, Dallas, and Detroit.


West: Verizon 4G

Verizon’s 4G system was the fastest in the West as well. We tested in the states of Arizona, California, and New Mexico, as we couldn’t get our drivers as far as the Northwest. Verizon 4G won every city it was in thanks to its stellar download speeds. Outside the cities, AT&T delivered the fastest connections, but Verizon’s much slower 3G network was the most reliable.


Rural: AT&T

For us, “rural America” included everywhere we drove that wasn’t in one of our 21 metro areas—not only wide-open spaces in Arizona, but mid-sized cities like Macon, Georgia and Midland, Texas.


Nationwide: Verizon 4G

Overall, Verizon’s LTE system is remarkably faster than the technologies AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint and T-Mobile are currently using for “4G.” Even with one hand tied behind its back—a 20-percent penalty to its speed score for its lack of rural coverage—Verizon’s new 4G network trounced the other carriers. In many areas, it was even faster than some DSL or cable connections.

The PC Magazine story gives a full breakdown including what phones were used, their testing methods, etc.. Hit up the source link to check it out.


Source: PC Magazine



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Category: Mobile News

About the Author ()

Co-owner and PR guy for GizmoNinja.com. I’m happily married and a father to a wonderful (most of the time) son. I work in the E9-1-1 software/data industry by day and am a tech loving geek in my spare time. I’m interested in all things tech, but am big into Android especially. I dabble in a little of everything – Android development, PC development, web development, etc – but am a master of none (not even close)… But I have fun doing it anyway! =P