AT&T tops 3G speed test

It looks like AT&T’s network upgrades are paying off, as the carrier’s 3G network bested Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon in  PCWorld’s 13-city mobile data test.

The report said AT&T’s download speeds were 67 percent faster on average than its competitors, with an average download speed of 1410 kbps and 773 kbps upload. This is a major turnaround for AT&T because it performed poorly in a similar test conducted last spring. Last spring, testers could only access AT&T’s 3G network 64 percent of the time, but that number increased to 94 percent in the latest go around.

There’s a lot of griping from iPhone users in San Francisco and New York but the test said the iPhone/AT&T combo outperformed any other combination on other carriers. “AT&T connected the iPhone at an average download speed of 1259 kbps, and an average upload speed of 215 kbps over the13 testing cities,” PCWorld said in its report.

On the opposite side, Verizon’s average download speeds decreased by 8 percent. Big Red’s reliability did improve though, but it appears to be struggling to keep up with the demand of data-hungry devices like the Droid. PCWorld said the Droid rarely delivered the promised upload speeds of 500 kbps and the average upload speed was a meager 116 kbps.

Sprint remains solid by providing 795 kbps down and 296 kbps up. T-Mobile seems to be doing a good job of growing its mobile broadband network, as testers even clocked average download speed of 3 mbps in New York. This was only for a one-minute test though, so don’t get your hopes up as T-Mobile averaged 868 kbps down and 311 kbps up. The test also found T-Mobile’s network to be a bit inconsistent, so it will be interesting to watch how the HSPA+ upgrade goes.

The report tested mobile data connection speeds of laptops and smartphones in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.

[Via PC World]

  • wirecup

    If you remember, a T-mobile press release was paraphrased as saying last year that they had finished there 3G upgrades to the next speed level and would now concentrate on further speed increases on the East and West coasts. Why would they be finished unless there were no further 3G capabilities to be installed? It seems clear that if you do not have T-mobile 3G now, you will not get 3G at any future date. This correlated with bloggers reporting that T-mobile was up for sale and I have not seen any new T-mobile 3G expansions reported this year. Is now the time to break with T-mobile since they have the slowest speeds even in the larger cities (per this article) and seemingly no further 3G expansion plans?

  • Marin Perez

    I wouldn’t go quite that far yet because I have been pretty impressed with what T-Mobile has done on 3G. Two years ago, the company had nearly 0 3G coverage in the U.S. and now they’re covering more than 200 million people, and seemed to do okay in this performance test. While the network could be inconsistent, it is still providing a strong download speed and the move to HSPA+ (21 mbps) later this year could methan that little old T-Mobile will have the fastest network serving the most subscribers. Sure, WiMax and Sprint will have something to say about this and Verizon’s LTE network will eventually blow this out of the water, but it’s good steps by T-Mobile.

    You make good points about sheer coverage area though, and I’ll dig around to see what they have to say about that.


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