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AT&T claims lead in cellular speed, lack of dropped calls

updated 04:50 pm EST, Mon November 22, 2010

ATT-backed study gives it edge in speed and calls

AT&T today claimed to have an edge in cellular performance through a study that gave it the lead in wireless speed. The US-wide test, reportedly conducted independently by Global Wireless Solutions, put an unnamed "nearest competitor" 20 percent slower on a national average. Its larger rival, Verizon, was 60 percent slower on average.

The company further disputed its reputation for frequent dropped calls and claimed that 98.59 percent of AT&T voice calls completed properly. Only one in 1,000 calls dropped, it said.

Most of the speed advantage came from the inherent nature of the network versus its rivals. AT&T currently has 7.2Mbps HSPA for 3G on its network, which while rarely reaching its theoretical maximum is faster than the EVDO Revision A on Sprint, Verizon and most other CDMA carriers. WiMAX gives Sprint a performance edge through its 3-6Mbps average speeds, but its limited coverage of less than 60 markets would lower Sprint's average.

The presence of HSPA+ in a small number of cities helped AT&T offset both Sprint as well as its main GSM rival T-Mobile, which launched HSPA+ before AT&T. Both networks use the standard 21Mbps version of the improved 3G spec. Most improvements at rivals will wait until LTE, a 4G-level standard that is in use at MetroPCS today, should reach Verizon in December, and is due to arrive at AT&T and T-Mobile alike in 2011.

Questions nonetheless persist about the study. AT&T has declined to provide a breakdown by city or region that might highlight weaknesses. Customers in key cities, especially New York City and the cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, have complained of much higher dropped call rates and slow data rates than in the rest of the US. AT&T has been actively upgrading its network, but the issues haven't been seen in significant form at competitors despite Android users consuming more on Verizon than iPhone users at AT&T.

The provider has also acknowledged that GWS, while not attached to AT&T, is paid to test its network for evaluation and to help determine which areas need capacity upgrades.

By Electronista Staff


  1. sapridyne

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003




  1. calciphus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    I smell....

    Let me get this straight - they have a 98.59% "call success" rate, but only 1 in 1000 drops? Sounds to me like someone's got a very specific and secret definition of "dropped call". Not to mention all the times they never learn about it because you can't actually dial out, despite having full signal. Sounds to me like they have a 24 in 1000 drop rate.

    And when one of AT&T's contractors conveniently publishes a study, we're supposed to believe them? What service do they sell again? Oh right, telling cell carriers where they need to update their network. This "study" is surely trustworthy, since they'd be very motivated to tell all their potential customers (read: AT&T's competitors) that their network needs updates.

    No public data, no detail, just summary bullets in marketing speak?

    Sounds like AT&T has more to hide than to be proud of.

  1. facebook_Gvs

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Nov 2010


    ROFL ATT the fastest, are they living in dreamland

    ATT, please prove you can deliver anything close to the following (this was done with a Vibrant on T Mobile's network).

    Now that's fast.... anything under 1mbps is what you consider fast and that's a joke!.

    Also, why do most ATT customers I call drop calls, and no one else, has it have to do with your network.


    To the rest of you, lets vote.. follow the link:

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003


    Verizon 3G...

    Verizon 3G sucks so bad it's not even funny.

    - A

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    I win!

    I was one of the lucky few this morning to have my called dropped! I'm special! One in a thousand! In fact, so special, this happens to me at least once a week! Man, I need to start playing the lottery and hitting the casinos. I'm sure to hit it big with my luck!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: I can believe it

    In places where customers had been experiencing mediocre service I would bet it's vastly approved.

    Unless you're driving down i-95 through the carolinas, where there isn't even 3G service.

    Building out new 3G network coupled with a barrage of iPhone users at the same time can be overwhelming.

    It can be, especially if you're incompetent and can't figure out how to deal with customers or products.

    In addition, AT&T has been also migrating UMTS (3G) from 1900 frequency to 800. Undergoing dramatic network modifications will always create short-term headaches because it takes time to receive real-world user feedback needed for fine tuning.

    Excuse me, but no one gives a damn. Customers do not care one iota that ATT is migrating to a new frequency. If they can't figure out how to do the migration without s******* over their customer's service (this, by the way, for a company whose main purpose is to provide said service, and one in which people do not like to have said service not work when it should), then they should be fired and someone else brought in to work up a migration plan that will work.

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