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?