PCMag.com’s annual “Fastest Mobile Networks” test found Verizon Wireless 4G LTE to be the fastest smartphone data network nationwide. AT&T 4G LTE and T-Mobile HSPA+ also won awards in the 30-city test, conducted in May 2011.
PCMag.com’s drivers covered 30 cities and six rural/suburban regions of the U.S. to test the top five wireless carriers, AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. Using software designed by network testing firm Sensorly, PCMag collected 240,000 lines of data on smartphone downloads, uploads, Internet streaming, and network reliability.
“Verizon’s 4G LTE network offers the best overall experience across the country,” says Sascha Segan, lead analyst for mobile at PCMag.com. “Where it’s available, AT&T’s network has terrific download speeds, but it’s in fewer cities. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ is also truly 4G, and offers great value for money.”
The web site got exclusive access to Sprint’s new 4G LTE network, launching later this summer.
“Sprint’s 4G LTE looks to be competitive with AT&T and Verizon; we just need to know where it’s rolling out,” Segan says.
The site also tested the performance of the 3G networks Apple’s iPhone runs on.
“AT&T has the fastest network for iPhones, but Verizon’s 3G network is more reliable in many key cities,” Segan adds.
PCMag.com tested in the following cities: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte NC, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville FL, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami FL, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland OR, Raleigh NC, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tucson, and Washington DC.
Local and regional data and winners are available for each city. Of the 44 awards available, Verizon Wireless 4G LTE won 28, AT&T 4G LTE won 10, T-Mobile won five and one, San Antonio, was a tie between Verizon and AT&T.
AT&T won 10 cities including New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Verizon won 19 cities including Chicago, LA and Miami. T-Mobile won awards for being the fastest in four suburban/rural regions, as well as fastest outside our 30 test cities in general.
On average, AT&T 4G LTE delivered the fastest downloads at 13.71Mbps where available, while Verizon 4G LTE showed the fastest uploads at 6.46Mbps and the best overall reliability. Full results are available at http://www.pcmag.com/Fastest-Mobile-Networks .