Who has the fastest 4G network in America? It all depends on if you’re using a USB modem or smartphone!

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With all four of America’s largest operators cranking the 4G marketing machine to 11, you’ve got to wonder who can actually deliver the goods and who is just throwing money away on ads that could be better spent on actually, you know, delivering 4G? The folks at PC World, in conjunction with Novarum, have performed extensive testing across 13 major American cities using various smartphones and USB modems and the results speak for themselves. When it comes to who has the fastest modems, Verizon cleans the floor. LTE really is that fast and we can’t wait for the first LTE packed smartphones start hitting the market. Speaking about smartphones, the winner is T-Mobile, which is nice to see since they’re the underdog, the firm that most people laughed at for launching 3G so late and for opting to go with HSPA+ instead of something more advanced for their high speed network.

Now for some real numbers. The average download speed on a Verizon 4G LTE modem was 6.44 Mbps. Uploads came in at 5 Mbps, which is faster than what some people have with their cable/DSL modem at home. In next place was T-Mobile, 2.83/0.85 down/up, then AT&T with 2.48/1.05 down/up, and in last place there’s Sprint with 2.15/0.61 down/up. Now when talking about smartphones the tables turn. T-Mobile hits 2.28 Mbps down on average and 0.95 Mbps up. Next is Sprint with 1.50/0.56 down/up, AT&T with 1.45/0.97 down/up, and in last place is Verizon with barely 1 Mbps download speeds and 0.67 Mbps uploads.

The same series of tests was done in January 2010 and compared to that time Verizon’s USB modems are 634% faster, T-Mobile is 226% faster, Sprint is 170% faster, and AT&T is just 76% faster. When it comes to smartphones the gains are 217% for T-Mobile, 77% for Sprint, barely 15% for AT&T, and Verizon’s network actually slowed down 7% instead of speeding up. We’ll be waiting to see how 2011 shapes up, but it looks like T-Mobile and Verizon are set to win in terms of who has the best network for mobile data.

  • Anonymous

    I dont really see it as a big deal dude.

    http://www.anon-tools.es.tc

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Sprint EVO 4G Shift owner…. Here are several of my last results down / up (in Mbps)

    5.38 / .75
    2.04 / .95
    2.07 / .25
    3.24 / .75
    4.92 / 1.03

    So.. you can’t just do “one” test…. location matters. The better values above reflect a better “4G” signal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen less than 2Mbps down on 4G.

    Obviously, Sprint has work to do…. but the numbers from the article are misleading.

  • grow

    OK.
    I don’t know where u guys are taking those results from, but I just did a speed test on my “SPRINT” Evo, and these are the results:
    4.77 download
    1.02 upload
    So u might wanna test it in some other place then the bathroom in the master bedroom and you might wanna clear the cache too! (I forgot to clear mine too, but never mind, I clean them every few days or so.)

  • MIke Walker

    I did a test on Verizon Thunderbolt
    32.55 Mbs download
    44.37 Mbs upload

    I never got below 30 Mbs it blows away my TWC roadrunner. Which average around 18 Mbs down and .5 up

    You pay more for verizon but you get what you pay for. Only if they could come up with a world phone, with LTE. The Atrix from ATT is hot and it is a quad band, meaning it works all over the world on GSM. LTE is a GSM tech but the Verizon phone will working In Japan and China, which uses CDMA tech. I was in Japan, in October 2010 most people with GSM phones had a hard time getting signal. I had no problem getting signal but could not get 3g.

  • Pimponpatrol247

    I just recently bought the T-Mobile G2X and have been getting steady download speeds between 5-7 mbps. I think it all depends on location. I live in Boca Raton, Florida which is close to the 4g hub of Miami.

  • Dave

    This article couldn’t be more wrong. I get a steady 10mbps download on my verizon smartphone. Usually it is higher but it never get’s much lower than 10 when I have 4g signal. Also, when I use mobile hotspot or teather it to my computer I get anywhere between 15-20. I don’t know where you got your numbers from, but I am glad this article is totally wrong in my case. The speeds you posted for verizon smartphones, I get higher on 3g…

  • Dave

    This article couldn’t be more wrong. I get a steady 10mbps download on my verizon smartphone. Usually it is higher but it never get’s much lower than 10 when I have 4g signal. Also, when I use mobile hotspot or teather it to my computer I get anywhere between 15-20. I don’t know where you got your numbers from, but I am glad this article is totally wrong in my case. The speeds you posted for verizon smartphones, I get higher on 3g…

  • Subarulegacyman

    it depends where you are, these 3’s wont be accurate for everyone….that is why they did it in multiple cities :

  • Subarulegacyman

    #’s not 3’s

  • Danger_explorer

    Can’t be true. I get consistent 6Mbps downloads with my Sprint 4G connection on my new Motorola Photon and also when I used to have an Evo. Connections can only be as good as the reception you have in your area.

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