Data Speed Showdown: Sprint 4G vs T-Mobile HSPA+

Sprint may be the only network using a 4G WiMax network in this country, but T-Mobile is catching up fast with the roll-out their HSPA+ network, which can reach “4G speeds.” But, just how close does T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network come to Sprint’s WiMAX network? Well, our friends at PhoneScoop have conducted some data speed tests in Philadelphia, PA and pitted Sprint’s mighty 4G network against T-Mobile’s 4G data network. The results are interesting indeed!

The data speeds were tested on T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon networks in 6 different locations in Phili, and here’s what they found. Sprint’s WiMAX topped out at around 4,066 kbps download and 978kbps upload speeds, but other tests conducted gave them speeds somewhere near 748 kbps down and 60 kbps up. That’s a pretty drastic range of speeds, but we’ll take em’! Sprint’s WiMAX networked averaged out to 2,785 kbps down, and 589 kbps up. Not bad at all, Sprint, not bad at all.

Next up, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ up to bat. In the best of tests, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ hit speeds up to 5,442 kbps down, and 1,888 kbps up. On the lower end of their tests, T-Mo came out with 976 kbps down and 938 kbps up, averaging the tests out gives HSPA+ speeds around 2,960 kbps down and 1,283 kbps up. This makes T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network the winner, this time around.

Still, keep in mind that you’re probably going to get different results if you decide to test out both Sprint and T-Mobile’s 4G networks for yourself. The differences in average data speeds between Sprint’s WiMAX and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks is small enough that we can attribute the discrepancy to real-world variables that can’t be controlled.

Both carriers are aggressively rolling out their new networks across the country. Sprint is building a new infrastructure¬† for WiMAX, and T-Mobile is just upgrading their existing 3G network. At this point, T-Mobile is hitting higher maximum data speeds with their HSPA+ network. But, don’t count Sprint out just yet. Sprint is still in the midst of building out their WiMAX network, which requires entirely new infrastructure, and they’ll have a nationwide WiMAX network soon enough. And, because WiMAX and LTE infrastructure is fundamentally compatible, we could even see Sprint and their 4G network partner, Clearwire, switching to the faster LTE technology in the near future.

We’ve got our fingers crossed.

[Via: PhoneScoop and PhoneDog]

  • Don

    STOP THE LIES. Putup the video evidence infront of us.

    I have seen so many videos, every one of them showed HTC EVO on Sprint 4G AND 3G was way FASTER than iPhone, Way faster than VZ incredible.

    Put the damn video and STOP THE LIES. Sprint network is by far the FASTEST.

    • Garrett

      Am I missing something here; I didn’t see ATT’s network even mentioned…

    • will24kings

      Jajajaj don’t get so upset! I got a nexus one on t-mobile new York, and my speed is up to 4, 226 kbps… faster than sprint…. admit it. Sprint s****

      • Ontopofthegame

        Im getting 8.2mbs on my Epic 4g in Texas! Admit it tmobile is crap. Send a video you recorded on your nexus on to a friend through mms. haha you can’t because tmobile caps there small 3g network so low you can’t send large files or email hahaha.

      • Ontopofthegame

        Im getting 8.2mbs on my Epic 4g in Texas! Admit it tmobile is crap. Send a video you recorded on your nexus on to a friend through mms. haha you can’t because tmobile caps there small 3g network so low you can’t send large files or email hahaha.

        • thats a lie my behold 2 sent 10 pics to my dads email over 3g and it only took like a min ik thats long but its 10 pic thats a big file over 3g


    It's driving me mad that nobody is questioning the green / recycling credentials of WiMax over HSPA+. Clearly GSM / HSPA+ handsets have a much greater lifespan than CDMA / WiMax handsets. They can be unlocked and re-used, re-sold and re-cycled. CDMA handsets cannot be used on a rival network down the line. This is incredibly wasteful! Less recycling = = More Waste = More Energy = More Oil on your shores!

    • Josh

      Go hug a tree, treehugger.

      • AintTellin

        jeez dude, take a chill pill, if its not to "environmentally unfriendly"

  • JustMeHere

    I have reached 4Mbps on a G1 under 3G and not 3G+ Average speed in Houston Texas for T Mob 2.2Mpbs Average speed for Spring 1Mpbs.

    I m so confident about this that I've actually walked into a few Sprint stores and asked if their network was faster… they all tooted and played down T Mob.. Pulled out the G1, pulled out a Samsung Moment and an Evo, ran Speed test.. left them MUM.. the G1 averaged between 1.8 to 3Mpbs.. Evo topped out at 1.7 Mbps and Samsung at 1Mpbs And thats WITHOUT HSPA+.

    Sprint I'll dare any of your devices my two year old G1 is faster at surfing the net than your EVO.

  • Nona

    Sprint blows TMobile out of the water. Tmobile service sucks worse than AT&T, waste of time and money. I would not touch another TMobile phone if someone offered me a million dollars.

  • aquipower

    T-Mobile could be a little bit faster if there is customers on the
    web in their phones. The more people are on the web, the network
    is more slower to accomodate everyone. Sprint phones are good to
    get in the web, and is always busy. Tmobile…..??? dunno. That is why
    the speed is slower now in Sprint but when 4G comes in NYC, get ready!!

  • jon

    how do you know on a g1 you are connected using hspa?

    • jun a speed test if ur getting 2000mbs down or higher your on hspa if ur getting anthing lower ur on hsdpa and if its faster then 3000mbs ur on hspa+ i could be wrong

  • Realist

    Sprint's 3G coverage is far more expansive than T-Mobile, but T-Mobile seems to have 3G in all of the cities I live/visit. The good thing is that T-Mobile's 3G is faster than Sprint's in nearly every city I've tested. Looks like T-Mobile's network "upgrade" is faster than Sprint's "4G".

    • UJustGotPonedSucka

      actually look on the coverage map sprint charges roaming for everywhere u are where as tmobile uses satelite bounce where as say sprint uses tower bounce thus tmobile has more coverage and they also have world coverage without going into roaming infact they have 1 of the biggest service providers in europe O2 and they are actually a german company not to mention even if u are in roaming they dont charge u for it

      Signed Lovingly: T-Mobile

      • rsj85

        First off, Sprint doesn’t charge for roaming. It’s free. Second, unless you’re using a satellite phone, the signal is being transmitted through towers. If T-mobile used what you call “satellite bounce” they wouldn’t need towers and would work almost anywhere. That’s obviously not the case as t-mobile uses roaming partners to fill huge coverage gaps. Third, T-Mobile does charge for roaming overseas, including in Europe. But who cares. Unless one lives or travels frequently to Europe, why should they give a crap about ‘worldwide’ coverage? And about ATnT. The reason they’re hardly mentioned is because their network sucks. What good is having all that coverage if the network doesn’t have enough capacity to keep my call connected. The only thing that made ATnT even relevant was the iphone hype. Do you think that Apple wouldn’t have preffered Verizon or Sprint as an iphone partner? They only chose Atnt cause it was more logical since they didn’t need to use any other technology but GSM since that’s what most of the world is on. About Verizon, they have the best service overall. But I don’t plan on going to the Everglades anytime soon so in the Northeast U.S. Sprint does it for me and saves me a ton in the process. $69.99 any mobile anytime plus unlimited everything else can’t be beat.

  • TechBoy

    I”m reading these comments and obviously people not reading the article. It says Sprint’s 4g vs T-Mobile HSPA. All T-Mobile phones so far are only on their 3g network not the HSPA+ network so if you’re comparing your current T-Mobile phone to the Evo, Evo’s gonna win cuz ur comparing a 3g phone to a 4g phone

    • Atl Movers

      I am using Nexus one Tmobile (3g) and am gettin 4,000 kbs down and 1,600 kbs+ up….I also have Clear for my home and business (which is the network sprint uses for 4G) and it is giving 2,000 to 3,000 down with about 500 up. I am blown away with how fast t mobile is with 3g. Now that the nexus one has froyo (with fee wifi hot spot feature) I am considering getting rid of clear and using my phone as my router/internet connection for our computers.

      • Nexus One is actually a 4g phone, it uses HSPA+ radio. People seem to forget that. Nexus one has more hardware in it then people know about…..Like the fact you can listen to FM radio on your phone because it has a RF transmitter……and due to its large community support roms and hacks have released that still make the N1 the phone to beat in benchmarks ;).

  • webdev

    I'm a road warrior who fly's. There is no 4G at any airport so far other than Regan in Washington. So Sprint can Lobby there. Most connections from 3G to 4G are all over the place. I'd say its the same as dial-up, based on average speed fluctuation and connection drops. This is with 2.0.6 firmware. Upload speed is embarrassing, homing pigeons would be faster. 7-8 hours to upload 200 megs to youtube. 4G towers are not connected to the Internet, or whomever Sprint has a deal with it's not working. Device runs hot and will shut down from overheating. Not like a switch it's worse with 2 connections, wife using netflix it buffers a lot. Sprint has a long way to go. San Antonio had the best speed, since AT&T is headquartered there.

  • iPwn

    Don’t believe the hype… I’m not sure what the problem is in PA, but in St. Louis – MO, I can tell you the Sprint 4G is consistently hittting between 8-10 Mb down, and about .5-1.5Mb up. The latency is averaging 200ms or so, which isn’t that great for gaming, but the speed is phenomenal for being mobile broadband.

    In fairness, even ATT’s 3G is hitting around 3Mb down and a surprising 1.5 up. Average latency was around 22ms!

    I haven’t tried T-Mobile, or Verizon (recently) so I can’t comment on them, but I currently have both Sprint (EVO 4g – Froyo) and ATT (iPhone 3g), so I can vouch for the speed claims.

  • WillieD

    I think tests are subjective and relative to where you are on the network. Some areas will have faster speeds as they have better base stations and backhaul, and others may be a little slower still.

    I know that on my Samsung Instinct (lets be clear it is EVDO rev. A) I was averaging the max of 2mbps. Thats pretty good, and a lot faster then EVDO rev. 0 where I averaged 600-900kbps. So I think maybe the tests are skewed as there are 2 speeds in Sprints 3G. Much like T-Mobile and AT&T have 3 different UMTS/HSPA phone speeds 1.3, 3.6, and 7mbps – each phone will give different results.

    As for T-Mobile HSPA+, I think its too limited to actually go up against Sprint WiMAX – When its on a bigger scale and more people are on it (like are already on WiMAX) then we can talk speed comparisons. I also feel that people forget Sprint has throttled down WiMAX speeds right now while its being deployed – it IS and WILL be faster then the speeds we already experience. Just wait.

    So quit the bitching, and realize that the networks vary depending on market and region. I know in SF I get GREAT speeds and coverage on a daily with Sprint 3G – more so then say people with T-Mobile or AT&T. No one I know has Verizon anymore so that doesnt even matter.

    • well T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is bigger and more widely available than Sprint’s WiMax now! not to mention faster on a more consistent basis.

      BTW Sprint only caps the upload speed, not the download, so don’t be expecting any faster than what you might be getting now. plus all of Sprint’s WiMax phones top out at around 10mbps(max the hardware can do) while T-Mobiles HSPA+ hardware maxes out at 14.4mbps

      • CRIII

        John Pisano wrote: “BTW Sprint only caps the upload speed, not the download”

        Actually, as a Sprint 4G WiMax customer, that’s what I thought too. But I was looking at a thread on from a formerly satisfied, now dissatisfied, Clear customer, who had been getting good speeds but who is now being throttled down to 500kbps on the download side. According to him, he started out with only 10mbps, which is all that Sprint guarantees either. Now Sprint’s tech support originally had told me that the reason they DON’T throttle is because they PRE-throttle at 10mbps download, in order to ensure that by taking some speed away from everyone up front they then do not have to selectively throttle even further, like Clear does, since when everyone’s pre-throttled at 10mbps the network never experiences congestion or overusage.

        Except that this thread seemed to indicate that Clear is now pre-throttling at 10mbps as well. So the obvious question then was why is Clear still throttling folks down to 500k on occasion if they’ve supposedly stabilized their network by the 10mbps pre-throttle, same as Sprint?

        And if Clear has found that a 10mpbs prethrottle hasn’t done the trick and they still find the need to throttle further down to 500k at times, how soon before Sprint makes the same melancholy discovery?

        At which point, it occurred to me “Well, maybe Sprint already HAS made that melancholy discovery, and I’m just one of the luckier customers who hasn’t experienced it yet.”

        So I called Sprint Advanced Tech Support just now to try to nail this down.

        And the news couldn’t be worse.

        They told me that Sprint WILL be throttling, the same way as Clear does. They told me they have no choice. I asked him when this came down. He said that it’s ALWAYS been there as an option. He also said that in the more-than-a-year he’s been with the Sprint Advanced WiMax team there has been no throttling yet, but that they are now telling all their customers WHO ASK that they probably can expect throttling eventually.

        I’m very sorry for the bad news.

        Under the circumstances I may want to eventually switch to Verizon Wireless 4G LTE, despite the 10 gig monthly data download cap. If I’m going to be throttled down to sub 3G speeds, that’s unacceptable and ridiculous.

        In the meantime, I’ll stick with Sprint’s unlimited data download plan for as long as I’m not throttled. When, and if, the hammer comes down, Verizon Wireless, here I come. Yes, Verizon Wireless is a worser deal at the moment for me than Sprint because of its 10 gig monthly data cap and its greater expense, $80 as opposed to $60. But nothing is worse than being throttled to below 3 megs per second. That would destroy my online experience and would be unacceptable.

  • Tylerhall71

    are you people considering the fact that as of 11/10/10 tmobile has two hspa+ compatible phones? the g2 and the mytouch 4g. he probably used a standard hspda phone which is 3.5g in a way. i have the mytouch 4g and i average about 10mbs. video chatting is a snap. i can download files over 2gb in under 30 minutes. plus think of this. sprint makes you pay for 3g and 4g. tmobile makes you pay for just 3g which includes the hspa+ data connection you get.

    • Nojustinsd

      yeah but sprint has the overall better plan, if you get everything for tmobile then you will be way over sprint’s everything plan plus the 10 dollars for 4g

      • N10CITY

        Actually, not sure if the promo is still going on, but I opened a new account with tmobile 2 days ago. The individual plan they offered was $79.99 for 1500 minutes + unlimited text and web. That’s basically the same if not better than Sprint’s everything plan because they charge you an extra $10 for “premium data”. I also think Sprint’s “everything” plan only gives you about 500 minutes? Anyway, T-mobile was even better for me because my employer gives us a tmobile discount so it came out to only ~$72 a month.

        • Veronica

          Sprint’s plan is $69.99 and you get unlimited talk to cell phones, text and web. For 10 bucks more I pay the same as you do, but I don’t have that minute thing going on, unless I call my doctors office or my parents house, because they use landlines. Over all Sprint’s plan is much better.

          • Veronica

            Oh and I meant, if I pay the extra 10 bucks to get 4g, which I wont. I honestly don’t care, I have 3g phone, and I don’t pay the extra, nor am willing to upgrade for one…if I want to download a big file, or watch a movie I’ll use my computer like a normal person.

          • Mew

            So basically your plan blows. Hah. Failed logic.

          • Mew

            So basically your plan blows. Hah. Failed logic.

  • TBLS

    Wimax 2 tests speeds hit 330 mbs downlaod and 100 mbs up

  • I didnt even realize HSPA+ was considered 4G…pretty cool that they are able to call it that! Now I figured out how they can say “Largest 4G network” Its kinda a ripoff for the customers though! I use the Sprint 4G and generally get 8Mbps down to 15Mbps down but upload is terrible! Here is the most recent speed test a few hours ago….

  • I didnt even realize HSPA+ was considered 4G…pretty cool that they are able to call it that! Now I figured out how they can say “Largest 4G network” Its kinda a ripoff for the customers though! I use the Sprint 4G and generally get 8Mbps down to 15Mbps down but upload is terrible! Here is the most recent speed test a few hours ago….

  • Raney150

    These are supposed 4G Speeds? My 3G averages over 4Mpbs, faster than T-Mobile and Sprint. The true winner is AT&T. Since AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM it gives them an advantage, and AT&T is the winner of the two. P.S. HSPA+ is 3G and so is Wimax. Wimax is just a different 3G than EVDO

    • Kevin

      AT&T also runs off of an UTMS HSPA+ network.

  • bigrog6395

    in terms of plans sprint and t-mobile’s 4g plans are similar t-mobile has WAY more minutes but remember only sprint has any mobile, any time so in reality those 1500 minutes can go a lot faster than sprint’s 450 especially is nobody else you know has t-mobile plus sprint has a better network and better phones

  • Gordo1012

    i have gotten 5.7mbps down and 3 up on my iphone 4 for at&t. on 3g. this is a joke

  • John

    i got a mytouch 4g with tmobile, and i only get around 3k download and 1.5 upload, my hd7 3g was similar, wtf

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