Sprint is Biggest Loser in Nationwide 3G/4G Speed Test
April 18, 2012 2:17 PM
comment(s) - last by
T-Mobile USA had the best 3G, Verizon/AT&T split the 4G crown
Sprint Nextel Corp. (
) wound up the top dud in
's second annual nationwide phone network speed test. The carrier finished the 2012 test in the same place that it finished in 2011 -- last. The nation's
only unlimited network
is also the nation's most abysmal network in terms of speed. In 3G and 4G tests across 13 cities, Sprint proved to be as much as 6 times as slow as it next nearest competitors.
Sprint's 3G data speeds actually got
in 2012 -- the only carrier to do so.
Sprint's WiMAX 4G
was so slow it was beat by T-Mobile's 3G network. Sprint
charges customers $10 extra
for that "4G" service.
The test employed a variety of each carrier's top phones. For instant, on Sprint the Galaxy S II from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) and the Marquee by LG Electronics Inc. (
AT&T Inc. (
) shown in the 3G tests on merits of its HSPA+ network, which nearly doubled in speed since last year. While AT&T markets this 3G network as 4G, that's
just an advertising gimmick
. From a standards perspective,
is correct in labelling it 3G. AT&T itself once said that branding HSPA+ "4G" was
intended to deceive customers
, only to
later jump on the bandwagon
But deception or not, AT&T's HSPA+ is good news for customers, and T-Mobile USA's (a subsidiary of German phone giant Deutsche Telekom AG (
)) super-charged HSPA+ network is even better news.
T-Mobile's terrific HSPA+ network secured it a decisive first place win in 3G testing. T-Mobile devices averaged 3.84 Mbps down and 1.44 Mbps up. Verizon Wireless -- a join venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (
) and Vodafone Group Plc. (
) -- was not very far ahead of Sprint, showcasing very poor 3G data speeds.
AT&T and T-Mobile were the biggest winners, Sprint the biggest loser in
's big speed test. [Image Source: PC World]
In (true) 4G, though, Verizon Wireless has the
nation's largest LTE network
(covers ~200M+ Americans). The company narrowly beat AT&T in uplink speed average 5.86 Mbps versus AT&T's 4.91 Mbps. However, despite its strong speeds and strong performance Verizon Wireless's 4G devices are reportedly suffering from a problem of 3G fallback -- given that Verizon's 3G (CDMA) network is so much slower than its 4G network.
By contrast, AT&T won the downlink LTE test (9.12 Mbps vs. 7.35 Mbps from Verizon), and also won
honors for best LTE carrier. While the testers took issue with AT&T's coverage, which is still relatively small (
~70 million Americans
), they praise AT&T's pairing of HSPA+ and LTE, which allows for smoother handoffs when the faster 4G signal cuts out. They suggested that videos or other streaming content may stutter on Verizon when they lose 4G, but will continue to play smoothly on AT&T.
Overall the tests indicate AT&T and T-Mobile to be the best choices from a data perspective, with Verizon getting small honors for its wide LTE coverage and fast data speeds for LTE. Sprint was the only wholesale loser -- its 3G was the slowest out there and its 4G WiMAX was slower than AT&T and T-Mobile's HSPA+ advanced 3G.
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Not worth the cost
4/20/2012 1:14:24 AM
I don't care what speed you get. The faster it is, the quicker you go through your data plan.
So you aren't really getting anything more, just quicker.
What these places want is to make you believe that you need this speed. Good Lord, what is so important, that you need the data so fast. Do you really need that kind of speed while your not at home or any other millions of free hot spots?
When I was growing up, we actually had to call using a phone, and if we couldn't get a hold of someone, we had to wait. Maybe this generation should look at patience instead of constant consumption of junk.
RE: Not worth the cost
4/20/2012 7:53:11 AM
Ahh yes, the "Back in my day" argument. While I agree that there are diminishing returns on bandwidth, it's really about getting done with what you're trying to do and moving on with your life. It just makes it a more enjoyable experience overall. And who's to say it's just kids downloading dumb YouTube videos? Mobile internet is very useful for business as well.
I can attest that Sprint speeds are terrible in Honolulu. I get 100-200kbps down on 3G and around 1.5Mbps on 4G, but the 4G coverage is often spotty.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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