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Tests show AT&T's Momentum 4G LTE modem consistently beating Verizon's LTE offerings in data speeds, in Texas at least.

Of course, AT&T has "home court" advantage in the "Lone Star State".  (Source: Federal Highway Administration)

Verizon's LTE coverage (bottom, yellow dots) is much broader geographically than AT&T's 4G coverage (orange dots, top), which is only available in five cities.  (Source: AT&T, Verizon)
However, there's a major catch when it comes to AT&T's win

PCWorld took AT&T Inc.'s (T) new LTE network out for a spin.  They decided to take the company's LTE network for a spin in Houston, Texas to test it speeds.  Comparing the AT&T 4G to Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ) own 4G offerings, they found that AT&T handily won.

AT&T's 3G network already has showed itself to be the nation's fastest data network, being nearly three times faster than Verizon in some tests.

The AT&T 4G network is similarly impressive.  It hit peak download speed of 42.85 Mbps (on the Momentum 4G modem) and an average download speed of 24.65 Mbps, while the Verizon network only mustered a peak of 23.81 Mbps (with the UML290 modem) and an average of 16.70 Mbps.  Uploads showed an even broader gap, with 11.44 Mbps for the AT&T modem versus 4.01 Mbps for the Verizon modem.

In short, AT&T was about 50 percent faster in downloads, and almost three times as fast in uploads.

But there's a catch and it's a rather big one -- AT&T's LTE coverage is reportedly the strongest in Texas, as it is home to Southwestern Bell (headquartered in Dallas), the core company that grew into AT&T via two decades of acquisitions and mergers.   So consider these results the best case scenario of sorts.

Following the trend from Texas, coverage in Atlanta, Georgia, home of BellSouth -- another Baby Bell -- is reportedly quite strong.  Other headquarters of former Baby Bells turned AT&T acquisitions aren't faring quite so well.  Chicago's coverage is reportedly significantly slower than Texas's.  AT&T blames this on lack of available spectrum.  It says that in Chicago it's using paired 5 MHz blocks of spectrum, versus Verizon, which is using paired 10 MHz blocks of spectrum.

Another general issue with AT&T's network is general lack of coverage.  AT&T's 4G covers 70 million people, while Verizon's covers 160 million -- approximately half of the nation.  Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) currently covers 120 million Americans with 4G, but its WiMax network is reportedly much slower than Verizon's LTE.  T-Mobile covers 200 million Americans with its HSPA+ 4.2 network which is reportedly slightly speedier than Sprint, but still slower than LTE.

AT&T cites these problems as justifications for its proposed merger with Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA, which is currently being blocked by a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit.

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Wait, what?
By bug77 on 9/20/2011 10:28:32 AM , Rating: 2
It averaged a peak download speed

How come?

RE: Wait, what?
By icemansims on 9/20/2011 10:31:54 AM , Rating: 2
No, that makes sense.

Average of multiple tests using the peak as the data point from each run.

It's not really good statistics, but it'll work for phone company math.

RE: Wait, what?
By kleinma on 9/20/2011 10:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
So the moral of the story is AT&T is faster in places where AT&T is faster, and Verizon is faster in places where Verizon is faster.... Good stuff to know...

RE: Wait, what?
By Shadowself on 9/20/2011 11:38:09 AM , Rating: 3
Of course, except when it's not.

RE: Wait, what?
By ertomas on 9/20/2011 12:30:21 PM , Rating: 2
Otherwise it would not be like that...

RE: Wait, what?
By room200 on 9/20/2011 1:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Except when it is.

RE: Wait, what?
By lolmuly on 9/20/2011 2:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure?

RE: Wait, what?
By nafhan on 9/20/2011 5:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say the moral of the story is that Verizon is faster in places where about 90 million people can't get ATT's 4G service. Whether or not you can get LTE is probably more important than minor speed differences...

RE: Wait, what?
By Targon on 9/21/2011 7:01:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's not a minor speed difference really. In places where Verizon offers 3G service, AT&T beats Verizon for the most part, in some cases significantly. The only places where Verizon is faster is in 4G areas, or in the number of places where AT&T has not added more fiber, which IS a good percentage of the network.

Now, we all know the maps are garbage when it comes to areas that they CLAIM have service but you get 0-1 bar, meaning you really get no service there, but the AT&T map DOES show that there are many areas without Verizon service that AT&T does provide service.

RE: Wait, what?
By retrospooty on 9/20/2011 6:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
"but it'll work for phone company math. "

LOL - that quote would fot alot of places in this bisuness. =)

RE: Wait, what?
By aurareturn on 9/20/2011 3:09:07 PM , Rating: 3
Just a thought: maybe Verizon is slower because the network has been out for much longer and has more users per area?

AT&T's LTE just started and probably has no users around.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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