Nov 23 AT 10:12 AM Taylor Wimberly 34 Comments

AT&T says other carrier networks are 60% slower than their 3G

Every national U.S. carrier but AT&T now boast a “4G” network, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to advertise America’s Fastest 3G network. AT&T just issued a press release which claims they have the fastest network and T-Mobile is 20% slower, Sprint is 55% slower, and their largest competitor Verizon is 60% slower.

The “comprehensive, scientifically valid national drive testing” was conducted by testing firm Global Wireless Solutions Inc., but we assume it was sponsored by AT&T so that might be why their network came out on top.

AT&T recently said they have upgraded 80% of their network to HSPA+, but we are unsure how fast it is (14 Mbps or 21 Mbps?) and they have yet to release a handset that can support the faster speeds. T-Mobile decided to brand their 21 Mbps HSPA+ network as “4G”, but AT&T will likely wait and not advertise 4G until they start rolling out their LTE network in 2011.

I’ve traveled the country quite a bit this year and played with all the different phones and my results are a little different than AT&T’s study.  I’ve found that T-Mobile 4G on the G2 and myTouch 4G is the fastest, followed Sprint 4G on the EVO and Epic, with AT&T’s HSPA 7.2 coming in 3rd, and Verizon’s 3G in the rear. It’s likely that Verizon will have the fastest 4G in 2010 when LTE goes live in December, but the company will not offer a 4G handset till February 2011.

Call these networks whatever you want, but the reality is that customers on all carriers should have access to much faster mobile data in 2011. Which “4G” network will get your money?

Via: BGR

Source: AT&T

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website watbetch

    If they both have 21Mbps HSPA+ networks AT&T is not any faster than T-Mobile. This happened in Canada with Rogers vs Telus/Bell.

    • http://Website mike

      Tmobile-21mbs going to 42MBs
      AT&T-7.2MBs going14.4MBs?

  • http://Website semajhan

    Wish I could mix them up.
    Use sprints network and either tmobiles HSPA+ or verizons LTE.

  • http://Website josegb2011

    At&t is full of it how is Verizon the slowest? They hate them so much the lie about it…Verizon is at least the second fastest 3g network. ..but hey can’t blame them…we have the best coverage. ..

    • http://Website jdog25

      Verizon is the slowest because this is a chart talking about 3G and 4G data speeds together. Verizon is the fastest from the old standards with coverage and speed. AT&T did lie because T-mobile has the fastest “4G” and their 4G covers the more people at the moment. In terms of the fastest data speeds its:

      1. T-mobile – HSPA+ or “4G”
      2. Sprint – “4G”
      3. AT&T – HSPA+
      4. Verizon – 3G

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      They really aren’t bluffing about Verizon being slow lol

      currently Verizon is the slowest among all of the big 4 becaause they still haven’t kicked in their 4G just about yet. I think their 3G was maxed out at like 1mbps and with everyone else on 4G that’s not truly hard to believe that they are the slowest currently.

  • http://Website jdog25

    When are these guys going to learn that talk is cheap. AT&T and Verizon provide no real speedtest from them or their customers. Sprint only has two 4G phones but on T-mobile I think they had the right idea because they have about 16 devices including the Galaxy Tab that can get up to 7mbps thanks to HSPA+ (“4G”). I think that in 2012 someone will pass T-mobile in terms of data speed, well maybe since they are going to be at 42mbps at the end of 2011.

  • http://Website Gra7on

    An AT&T rep confirmed 21 mbps hspa+ recently. Google for it, it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Also, AT&T is the fastest 3g (7.2 mbps HSDPA vs verizon 3 mbps EVDO Rev A). I know AT&T gets a lot of hate because of their lack of android support, but this is true. However, I think the HSPA+ phones out only support 14.4 mbps. A 21 mbps phone on AT&T (~10 mbps real) should be faster than wimax and initial LTE offerings (5-8 mbps real world).

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      Whatever AT&T rep told you that were bluffing. AT&T doesn’t have a 21mbps HSPA+ network they have a Maximum 7.2 HSPA network and have plans of upgrading to 14.4 HSPA. And there are currently no handsets on AT&T that take advantage of no more than 7.2 mbps HSPA. 14.4 is not an HSPA+ maximum, technically thats not even HSPA+ 21mbps is HSPA+, T-mobile’s HSPA+ devices go 21mbps I have personally seen the scores.

  • http://Website Miguel

    I was happy with T—Mobile data speeds on my Nexus One for a few months. I was pulling speeds of 4mbps down and 1 mbps up. Now ive dropped back down to regular 3G speeds of 600kbps. Upload speed is still over 1 mbps. I dont get it. One day the fast speeds were just gone. No more YouTube HQ video unless i want to deal with severe chopiness. That brings up anothet point. Fot those of us on regular non_- HSPA handsets, do we have the right to complain when our speeds drop to old 3G speeds?

  • http://Website MeatRocket

    From a usability standpoint, I can say that I ran SpeedTest from the Android Market on my Samsung Captivate (AT&T) in Huntsville , AL connecting to a test server in Clarksville, TN. I tested it against Galaxy Tabs on Sprint, Verizon & T-Mobile, and my phone was CONSIDERABLY faster than any of them. I mean 3 times faster than T-Mobile and twice as fast as Verizon and Sprint. That was with the JJ4 (standard) modem firmware. My speeds averaged about 1600 Up / 400 Down.

    I did install the JP8 firmware and enabled HSUPA+ on my Captivate and greatly increased my download speed to roughly 2400Kbps & the upload to 1800Kbps at a SIGNIFICANT cost to battery life. I switched back to stock.

    Point is, “fastest” network is highly subjective to your geographic area. I bet in Atlanta, AT&T would’ve lost miserably.

    • http://Website jdog25

      Yeah AT&T does have good 3G speeds. I been getting 5mbps down and 1.5mbps up in Houston since July with my Nexus on T-mobile. This phone isn’t fully capable of using HSPA+. I have seen some people say that they have gone up to 11mbps on T-mobile and Sprint but more on T-mobile.

    • http://Website Ramon

      U a ediat

    • http://Website 2FR35H

      From a usability stand point 2.4 mbps isn’t even close to the fastest network speeds. in areas covered in HSPA+ from t-mobile users get on average 3mbps at the worst. I am definitely sure sprint passes that and verizon hasn’t even made a move yet.

  • http://Website Max

    Ugh…enough already. This shit is starting to get old. Everyday, it’s a post of one carrier name calling or making claims that are sometimes not true. I know, how about ANDROID NEWS. >_>

  • http://Website Ryan Kim

    That data is a bunch of made up crap. For complicated reasons, I am locked onto AT&T, and I can honestly tell you that it is incredibly slow. I don’t think I will be able to wait until my contact expires.

  • http://Website MathWiz

    Either AT&T or the article author need to go back to their books :)

    If AT&T is 100% and Verizon 40% (eg 60% slower), then AT&T actually claims to be 150% faster than Verizon and NOT 60% faster. Same goes for all the other comparisons, of course.

    Concrete example:
    AT&T 5Mbps, Verizon 2Mbps (eg 60% slower), so 2.5 x 2Mbps is 5Mbps, in other words 150% faster. 60% faster would be only 3.2Mbps

  • McLovin

    I recently got my G-2. My HPSA experience is not what I had hoped it would be. I see the “H” symbol on my phone a lot but that doesn’t mean I’ll get great speeds. If I’m lucky when I check the speed I get fairly good results (5 Mb down/up at most) but most of the time I get very very bad results. (50 kbps), It seems that the range is very short. The 2 places I needed it the most, my work and home, will display the H symbol but quickly switch to E when I try to do anything. I hardly ever see the G symbol anymore.

    • http://Website MathWiz

      Just fyi, E is better than G. You do not want to see G :)

      However the marketing peeps at TMO committed a crime, as well. They replaced the 3G icon with an H icon which lumps everything together (UMTS, HSDPA, HSPA+) thus making it impossible for you to determine whether you’re on 3G or “4G” at a glance.

      Ideally they would have kept the 3G icon and added H for HSDPA, HSPA+, which is how some non-carrier-branded HTC phones I’ve seen work.

      • http://Website MeatRocket

        Are you sure you read that post correctly? McLovin said the phone quickly switches from H to E. E (Edge, 2G) is in no way better than 3G. You’d rather see “G” (3G) over “E” (Edge) ANY DAY!

        • http://Website manus

          g= gprs which is bad

          • http://Website MeatRocket

            That was stupid of me! I apparently didn’t read the part about them replacing the 3G with the “H” symbol! That’s very misleading on T-Mobile’s part! I guess they can be just as loose with their description of “H” as they can about “4G”. I always liked the cooked ROMs that had all the different symbols for GSM, GPRS, EDGE, 3G and UMTS so you could actually tell what speeds you should be expecting. Sorry for my mistake there.

      • http://Website watbetch

        I don’t know if any of you know this but the standard 3G network IS HSPA. They dumbed it down for us with a regular 3G (UMTS).. H is what is on the phones overseas. H is for HSPA.

        The I see a G when switching to 3G on some occasions.. not sure why.

        • toothpaste

          Actually, you are wrong. HSPA+ is not the standard for for 3g. It is 3g transitional or 3gpp to be more precise. The functionality and capabilities of this are better than a 3g standard such as UMTS for example.

    • McLovin

      When I say the “G” symbol, I meant to say “3G” symbol.

  • http://Website MathWiz

    Now if it’s AT&T who’s playing games, then I suppose what they’re saying is that Verizon is really only 37.5% slower (thus making AT&T 60% faster).

    Don’t know which is actually the case, I suspect that AT&T is the one using false math, though.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    Nice At&t! Too bad your phones suck camel scrotum.

    • http://Website manus


  • http://Website Need A Phone

    Attention…Attention…AT&T and Blackberry has teamed up to evolve the smartphone…HAHAHA…I kill me:)

  • http://Website Alex

    If AT&T have the fastest network, which I highly doubt, AT&T definitely has the least reliable.

  • http://Website Dee

    its kind of comical to me how AT&T let the iphone pump them up. recently i went into an AT&T store in my city (we have HSPA+ here in NJ/NY area) and conducted a “speed test.” i kid you not, i went to the website android central, android and me, and engadget and i had loaded all three webpages in about 30 seconds on my G2. in the meantime the iphone 4 was still working on the first page. it took the iphone ( not kidding) about 1.5 minutes to fully render. also i would like to point out that when i scrolled the page while it was still loading i got checkerboard. the employees were dumbfounded and there potential customers wanted to know what phone i had.
    AT&T is spreading so much false info i dont blame everyone for picking on them.

  • DistortedLoop

    The comments here, and my own personal experience just serve to prove that just like real estate, cellular data speeds are all about location, location, location, more than anything else.

    I live and work in the suburbs of Los Angeles. In the last 6 months I have owned all the following phones, with three of them using active SIMs/accoutns at any given moment:

    iPhone 3Gs (AT&T)
    iPhone 4 (AT&T)
    Nexus One (T-Mobile)
    EVO 4G (Sprint)
    Galaxy S (the international version, not a US model) (AT&T).

    Amongst those three networks, with extensive side-by-side speed testing of the devices, in all the areas I frequent (from Santa Clarita to San Fernando Valley, to East Los Angeles area) T-Mobile consistently gets much faster speeds than the others. AT&T performs admirably, and Sprint was just pathetic on 3G.

    Typical average speeds for me last I tested:

    T-Mobile 3.0 to 4.0 Mbs
    AT&T 1.8 to 3.2 Mbs
    Sprint 0.4 to 1.2 Mbs, but usually never more than 0.5

    I’m sure others in different areas would post much different results.

  • http://Website GABRIEL

    CHICAGO – 4G World – Everyone knows that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is planning to move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) next year, but is the operator also planning a further upgrade of its 3G network in 2011?

    In his keynote here on Tuesday, David Haight, VP of business development at AT&T’s Emerging Devices Organization, said that if users roam off LTE, they would go to faster 3G in 2011. “The good news is that you’re going to fall back to HSPA+, so you’re falling back to 21 megabits, not 7.2 or 3.6,” Haight told the crowd. (See 4G World: AT&T Learns Lessons From iPad.)

    So far, AT&T has only said that it will deploy the earlier 14.4Mbit/s upgrade by the end of this year — 2010, revealing nothing about a 21Mbit/s upgrade in 2011. So we asked AT&T what the official word on this was.

    “HSPA+ technology has a theoretical maximum speed of 21Mbps,” a spokeswoman said, in an email reply to questions. “WE HAVE NOT BEGUN DEPLOYING THE TECHNOLOGY AT THIS TIME”,she said that ONLY this October — then now magically they have 21 hspa+??? (See AT&T Plots Widescale HSPA+ Rollout .)

    Nonetheless, if AT&T is interested in keeping up with GSM rival T-Mobile then HSPA+ is a logical progression. T-Mobile is currently rolling out a 21Mbit/s upgrade for 100 cities by year’s end; it currently has the speed boost running in 75 cities in the US.

    The average download speeds offered on 21Mbit/s HSPA+ are in the 5 to 8 Mbit/s range. (See T-Mobile’s HSPA+ Rivals Clearwire, US LTE Speeds.)

    When we are in Austin,Texas for ANDROID FESTIVAL, TMobile executives said that 42Mbps hspa+ will be available by last week of January or 1st week of February-2011 then AT&T will start to deploy 21Mbps hspa+…

    I called a friend who is engineer in AT&T MOBILITY unit & he said to me that THEY STILL USE THE 7.2Mbps & SOME city with 14.4Mbps HSPA, NOT YET THE 21 HSPA+ (maybe next year around February-2011, he said)


  • http://Website Brandon

    What about people like me that only see AT&T’s 3G network when driving through big cities? I’ve had AT&T for years and my phones been held back by EDGE about 99% of the time. I live in a city of over 50k too, not out in some rural area. I get average speeds between 20k and 180k both ways. This is barely faster than dialup. Fix your 3G coverage AT&T, its a joke.