Who Has the Fastest, Most Reliable Network?

February 23, 2011

According to a recent poll on theAndroidPhone.com, people were quick to indicate that they believe Verizon will have the best 4G network in the USA in 2011. A very recent and fairly comprehensive benchmark held across 13 different cities says otherwise. While AT&T doesn’t necessarily  have a reputation for being the most reliable network in many markets, AT&T was tested to be the most highly rated network in a recent comparison by PC World.

At each testing location, PC World and its testing partner Novarum, connected to the 3G network via both laptops and smartphones.

According to PC World:

“The laptop tests accurately measured the capacity and performance potential of a given network, while the smartphone tests approximated the real-world connection speeds users of these popular devices might experience, given the less-powerful processors and 3G radios that the devices contain.”

Pretty comprehensive and accurate for sure.

This being said, it’s important to remember that a person using AT&T in New York won’t receive the same wonderful coverage as their Atlanta counterpart.  AT&T’s rapid improvement over the past 8 months has demonstrated that the company is putting their money where their mouth is – and is finally getting serious about competing with the ever-flush Verizon.

AT&T spent tens of million improving their 3G coverage in the markets PC World tested in. New York City and San Francisco – places that are known for their bad coverage – saw download speeds increase significantly: over 300% and 40% respectively. AT&T also improved its average reliability from 68 percent to 94 percent.

  • PC World’s tests also suggested that while Verizon has performed well, it has also had a drop in network reliability. This is allegedly because of new smartphones like the Droid – which we find hard to believe.
  • T-Mobile’s 3G download speeds were competitive with Sprint and Verizon in most cities, and even reached 4G speed levels in New York.
  • All networks have plans to upgrade to HSPA+/ LTE to achieve 4G speeds in 2011.
  • The current technology employed by Sprint and Verizon (CDMA) makes it impossible for them to match AT&T’s HSPA speeds in certain locales like Baltimore, Boston, and New York.
  • Sprint is now apparently America’s most reliable 3G network based on PC World’s tests, but not without compromise: it isn’t fast. This being said, Sprint hasn’t upgraded its network to be as quick in most markets as it is in others.
  • T-Mobile got clobbered in the upload speeds department. They ranked last in 11 of 13 cities tested.
  • T-Mobile increased its 3G reach twofold, from 100 million people to 200 million

Via: PC World

Also, what network are you on? What has your experience been like so far?

Check out the comprehensive comparison for yourself:

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