Choosing an iPhone: AT&T beats Verizon in 3G network speed test

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 By

3g network speed

AT&T iPhones finished far ahead of Verizon in 3G network speed, but Verizon's 3G network was much more reliable. Image: CC Erik Van Leeuwen/Wikemedia Commons

AT&T has taken a lot of flack for its iPhone service, but AT&T’s 3G network was faster than Verizon’s 3G network in a head-to-head test. The average download speed on AT&T’s 3G network was about twice as fast as Verizon’s 3G network. While AT&T beat Verizon in 3G network speed, Verizon’s network provided a more reliable connection.

AT&T iPhone outruns Verizon

Dropped calls have become AT&T’s iPhone hallmark, but iPhone users who place a premium on network speed should think twice before switching to Verizon. Ookla, creators of the speedtest.net broadband test, crunched the numbers from AT&T and Verizon iPhone connecting to the Speedtest.net app. AT&T iPhone transfer rates came in at about two times faster than those calibrated for Verizon iPhones. Ookla compiled the speed test results from 42,000 AT&T iPhones  and 14,000 Verizon iPhones around the U.S. Most iPhone users ran the Speedtest.net app several times to total 106,000 AT&T iPhone tests and 40,000 Verizon iPhone tests.

Verizon iPhone wins reliability test

Speed test results for AT&T iPhone downloads averaged 1,769 kbps and uploads averaged 730 kbps. The Verizon iPhone averaged 846 kbps for downloads and 606 kbps for uploads. AT&T iPhones may have the speed advantage, but Verizon iPhones were much more reliable. Other independent reviewers reported that at times AT&T iPhones could not complete the test because they dropped the connection. The Verizon iPhone was noticeably slower but was able to maintain the connection through every test. The test results reflect the claims made by the separate networks in their advertising wars. AT&T touts “the nation’s fastest 3G network.” Verizon touts “America’s Largest and Most Reliable Wireless Network.”

Choosing an iPhone

Before choosing between AT&T and Verizon, iPhone users should think about how they will use their device. If media consumption is a priority, AT&T would be more satisfying. If reliability is at the top of the list, Verizon is the easy choice. The Speedtest.net app is the easiest and best way to test an iPhone’s 3G network speed. The Speedtest.net app is available free for the iPhone at the Apple App Store.

Sources

Wired

NPR

MSNBC

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