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AT&T lands surprise win in 3G test

updated 06:05 pm EST, Mon December 21, 2009

ATT faster in 3G, as reliable as Verizon

AT&T tonight landed an unusual victory in a cross-country network test. Checking across 12 major cities, including well-known trouble spots like New York City and San Francisco, Gizmodo finds that AT&T led in average speeds for half of the cities and that the network was roughly as stable as Verizon's in the areas tested.

Verizon had the edge in three cities, while Sprint and T-Mobile had the best performance in one city each. The latter is partly hindered by its relatively new 3G network.

The edge for AT&T is due partly to its use of the HSPA standard for 3G. Its network is potentially faster compared to most EVDO networks and particularly has a technical advantage in upload speeds, where AT&T had the advantage in all 12 cities. It's not clear whether testing was able to make use of those few areas where AT&T's network is using its faster 7.2Mbps peak service.

While a potential validation for AT&T, which has made a point of upgrading its network to improve capacity, the test was performed using notebook adapters and doesn't necessarily test performance for smartphone owners. These, especially iPhone owners, have been the most vocal about problems with dropped calls and slowdowns to 2G. AT&T has gone so far as to encourage reduced 3G use to reduce the risk of impacting the service for other customers.

By Electronista Staff


  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    Than they're both just as unreliable

    which is disappointing.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Steven

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Dec 2009


    Speed isn't the problem, it's coverage!

    Let's see how fast AT&T is in York, SC, or even where I live between York and Rock Hill. The answer is: It's not fast. At all. Because there is no 3G coverage unless you are right near the interstate, which is only 6 miles from my house.

    Verizon, on the other hand, has full 3G broadband coverage all over the area, including Mobile TV!

    There really is a map for that!

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004


    ATT good in Southern CT

    I live in Southern CT and have never had a dropped call. The only time I've lost 3G is when in the middle of a metal building where it drops to Edge. I'm not sure why. Perhaps Edge operates at a frequency that can handle buildings better?

    In any case, I've had no complaints with ATT. I use to be on Verizon too and one difference I have noticed is customer support. I found the Verizon people to be a bit nasty when I had to call and ATT much better. I've had very little need to call ATT though so my experience has been limited here.

  1. mushumax

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2009


    A win, really?

    It's sad that merely being compentent in doing your job is regarded as a "win".

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