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AT&T 3G network speed improves 84% in performance test

post #1 of 69
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A new test of the four major U.S. 3G networks found that AT&T has undergone a "drastic makeover" in the last eight months, with download speeds that blow away competitors Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

The results revealed this week by PCWorld found that AT&T's speed and reliability both saw significant improvements over last spring, when the first test was conducted. AT&T had an average download speed of 1,410 kbps and upload of 773 kbps, well ahead of all other competitors. Typical metropolitan problem areas also saw significant improvements, with download speeds in New York City three times faster than last spring. San Francisco, too, saw a 40 percent improvement on the AT&T network.

In all, AT&T download speeds were on average 67 percent faster than competitors Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Reliability was also strong, measured at 94 percent -- placing it in front of the 92 percent reliability found with Verizon. AT&T's total was a dramatic increase from last spring, when the network was found to be reliable 68 percent of the time.

AT&T also has a strong pairing with the iPhone, with which it is the exclusive provider. Together, the two had an average 1,259 kbps download speed and 215 kbps upload speed with 91 percent average reliability. Using the Droid on the Verizon network had only 76 percent reliability, with 1,075 kbps download and 116 kbps upload.

The test was conducted in 13 cities across the country: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. It was carried out in December 2009 and January 2010 with more than 51,000 separate tests covering 850 square miles of wireless cell coverage. AT&T had the fastest download speed in 9 of the 13 test cities, and the fastest upload speed in 12 of 13.

"Our most recent tests showed that the connection speeds delivered by AT&T's network -- both downloads and uploads -- increased considerably in every one of our test cities, compared with the speeds it registered in identical tests we conducted last spring," the report said.

"In Baltimore, New York City, New Orleans, Portland, and Seattle, AT&Ts average download speeds in our tests more than doubled. The networks 13-city average download speed was 1.4 mbps; thats as fast as many home broadband connections. In our tests, none of AT&Ts three biggest competitors registered average download speeds of better than 1 mbps."



Last summer following the launch of the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone has placed a significant strain on AT&T's network, particularly in large cities such as New York and San Francisco. The issue was so serious that the company admitted its shortcomings and vowed to make improvements and do better. The company made significant investments to improve its reception in major metropolitan areas, and the PCWorld study seems to imply those investments paid off.

Meanwhile Verizon's average download speed in the 13 test cities was 877 kbps, down 8 percent from the 951 kbps the study found last spring.

"Verizon had the best-performing network in our tests last spring, with the fastest overall speeds and strong network reliability," the report said. "But our recent test results suggest that Verizon may not be keeping up with demand in some markets."

But it noted that Verizon's CDMA technology still gives it the most broad 3G coverage in the U.S., as has been highlighted in the company's "There's a map for that" advertising campaign.
post #2 of 69
``Can you hear me now?'' said one friend from the AT&T network to a friend on the Verizon network.
post #3 of 69
This article would seem to suggest that AT&T is doing something right...

My mind has been blown.
post #4 of 69
ATT is emerging much stronger and the iphone onslaught on its network. Which means that their network is much more future proof now then verizon's. While Verizon does cover more area, most of the people who would use a lot of data are in the cities anyway, so there is really no advantage there. As long the the voice calls work in the countryside and data in the cities you've got a good network in my book.
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post #5 of 69
Wasn't AT&T supposed to suck?

Looks like Apple made the right choice again.
post #6 of 69
In the San Jose are I am routinely getting 1.8 down and .256 up and at just over 2.0 down and .256 up.
post #7 of 69
So, this article is about 3G coverage?
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American centrism dominates 50% of the population here. That half don't think outside the box ... or perhaps just don't think. © digitalclips
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post #8 of 69
I just ran this test on my iPhone 3GS 32GB, using the Xtreme Speedtest App, connecting via AT&T 3G network.

Very pleased with these consistent results in South Central Jersey by the shore.

Doh !

I mean
2255 Kbits/s DOWN and 271 Kbits/s UP
post #9 of 69
Although I'm not in a metropolitan area, I've noticed an improvement in AT&T over the last 6 months. I used to get flaky service inside my house, and now I get a solid 4 bars. I'm almost never outside 3G coverage and even when I am the downloads feel as fast as my work BB in my other pocket when it IS on the 3G network.

AT&T still has a perception problem, but seems to be having much less of an infrastructure problem lately.

It will be interesting to see how Verizon vs. AT&T plays out during the move to 4G. Verizon claims they're going to start rolling out LTE later this year while AT&T says next year. But arguably Verizon needs 4G a lot more since their 3G is pretty weak.
post #10 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by bspears View Post

In the San Jose are I am routinely getting 1.8 down and .256 up and at just over 2.0 down and .256 up.

In San Jose in my pervious location I couldn't even speak inside the building (AT&T)
American centrism dominates 50% of the population here. That half don't think outside the box ... or perhaps just don't think. © digitalclips
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post #11 of 69
I live in the SF Bay Area, and I have noticed a bit of improvement. However, my calls are still routinely dropped in my own home (suburbs of Oakland/Hayward, no hills). My grandmother lives in a semi-dense neighborhood (Richmond District, SF) and I get 0-1 bar of EDGE when I visit her.

Speed is not the issue, reception is. When I DO have reception, the download speeds are great. It's just that I don't have reliable reception, and my calls are still being dropped more than I'd like.
post #12 of 69
What is the Verizon network bad or something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

``Can you hear me now?'' said one friend from the AT&T network to a friend on the Verizon network.
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post #13 of 69
i live in Dallas and i still get 2-3 dropped calls every single day. how do phone companies get to cook yup all these numbers.
Yeah sometimes i get 2000+ Kb on my download test but its still slow as hell
And i have never seen 700 upload speeds. Oh and Dallas was part of the upgrade. They said all upgrades would be complete bu Jan 1st
BULLCRAP!!!!!!!!
post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Wasn't AT&T supposed to suck?

Looks like Apple made the right choice again.

It still can't hold a telephone call - and your point is?

Oh right- downloads are not telephone calls- how stupid of me!
post #15 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by super8sean View Post

i live in Dallas and i still get 2-3 dropped calls every single day. how do phone companies get to cook yup all these numbers.
Yeah sometimes i get 2000+ Kb on my download test but its still slow as hell
And i have never seen 700 upload speeds. Oh and Dallas was part of the upgrade. They said all upgrades would be complete bu Jan 1st
BULLCRAP!!!!!!!!

I too live in Dallas. I too get dropped calls and it usually occurs when my phone switches from the 3G to Edge network. My suspicion is that it's a problem with the phone and not the network.

Other than that I haven't been getting dropped calls, so try to see if you're getting dropped calls in the same areas and check down and see if that's the problem.

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post #16 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

What is the Verizon network bad or something?

The Verizon network is already suffering degredation from the relatively modest number of smart phones on its network. As I've said several times before, if Verizon had become the sole US carrier for the iPhone (ignoring the other obvious definciencies like lack of simultaneous voice and data) people would have been ranting all this time how "sucky" the Verizon network was. Eventually more people will be able to wrap their heads around the reality that the explosive growth of data hungry phones far exceeded anyone's expectations.
post #17 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post

It still can't hold a telephone call - and your point is?

Oh right- downloads are not telephone calls- how stupid of me!

The most recent data surveys (GWS) have shown that the difference in dropped calls between AT&T and Verizon is something like fewer than 2 calls per 1000.
post #18 of 69
What good are fast downloads if the signal doesn't penetrate large buildings like hospitals or university lab buildings?
post #19 of 69
Was this 'study' done by AT&T?!

I live in Chicago (in the city proper) and have been an AT&T customer since the iPhone was first released and have a iPhone 3G and have seen no speed increase, and have dropped calls constantly, can't make calls from my building (first floor in a 3-flat) and too often have to deal with Edge for data instead of 3G! And I'm in the third largest city in the country!

Shame on AT&T for not standing behind their claims of decent coverage even though they continue to collect large sums of money form their customers every month.
post #20 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by super8sean View Post

i live in Dallas and i still get 2-3 dropped calls every single day. how do phone companies get to cook yup all these numbers.
Yeah sometimes i get 2000+ Kb on my download test but its still slow as hell
And i have never seen 700 upload speeds. Oh and Dallas was part of the upgrade. They said all upgrades would be complete bu Jan 1st
BULLCRAP!!!!!!!!

Here in Omaha NE I very rarely have any dropped calls and I get pretty consistent 2,200+ Kb and 175-220 up stream. However, the LATENCY is something else.... sometimes 1-2 SECONDS of latency.

Also I have noted that AT&T's network is fully NAT'd on the inside, which means they probably run a ridiculous series of internal routes, which might be the bulk of their issues, particularly in congested areas where the routers would be doing overtime.

Still, nothing you couldn't alleviate with newer hardware mostly, and some more efficient routing would provide solid gains too.

Dropped call areas in Omaha... there are some dead spots out there... they're small but they are there. Most AT&T users know exactly where they are though... Mark the Spot should be feeding some good info AT&T's way I know I use it...
post #21 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffyzDead View Post

I just ran this test on my iPhone 3GS 32GB, using the Xtreme Speedtest App, connecting via AT&T 3G network.

Very pleased with these consistent results in South Central Jersey by the shore.

Doh !

I mean
2255 Kbits/s DOWN and 271 Kbits/s UP

3223 kbps down , 275 up. I guess we've been spoiled by these speeds in Canada compared to the US for quite some time. My highest speed tested occurred when I had a layover in Toronto, 4525 kbps down. I may not like Rogers, but their 3G speeds are decent. Any other Canadians on Bell or Telus? I'm interested to see what the real world speed of the iPhone on those networks are. Hopefully the next iPhone can actually use the full speed of their new 20+ mbps network.
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post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddych View Post

I too live in Dallas. I too get dropped calls and it usually occurs when my phone switches from the 3G to Edge network. My suspicion is that it's a problem with the phone and not the network.

Other than that I haven't been getting dropped calls, so try to see if you're getting dropped calls in the same areas and check down and see if that's the problem.

You may be right.

Quote:
The iPhone 3G automatically switches between 3G and 2G networks for voice and data connections. In theory, the phone should hop off 3G when signal strength is too low or non-existent, and hop back on when the signal gets better.

In our experience, however, the iPhone 3G isn't aggressive enough regarding the switch from 3G to 2G. In other words, you may find that your phone stays connected to a 3G network when the signal strength is too low to allow incoming or outgoing calls.

The simple solution is to manually turn 3G connectivity, forcing a switch to 2G -- which may take several seconds -- and likely a boost in signal strength.*


*I live in a small town with great cell phone services. However, just west of me is a very hilly country side where the bars can get down to virtually zero. I have switched to Edge and voila, bars galore.

And there is even more…

Boosting iPhone 3G signal strength
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10115619-233.html
post #23 of 69
Does the study say what time of day it was conducted? Wouldn't that play a role in performance from one network to another?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

You may be right.

More

Boosting iPhone 3G signal strength
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10115619-233.html
post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Wasn't AT&T supposed to suck?

Looks like Apple made the right choice again.

I've felt AT&T coverage has been much better since at least the summer. Personally I would pick AT&T over Verizon, but I live in a city. Verizon is still much better then AT&T in rural areas. It would be nice if the iPhone worked on both carriers.
post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by b real View Post

Does the study say what time of day it was conducted? Wouldn't that play a role in performance from one network to another?

The fact that the iPhone isn't very aggressive about switching between 2G and 3G may be deliberate. Switching between 2G and 3G is the most common reason for dropped calls on AT&T. I'm sure adding the additional radio spectrum to many cities last summer has also helped to avoid the 2G to 3G switching.

I'm sure they were tested at the same time during business hours. To be fair to Verizon though, they should have included some rural areas in the sample. I'm surprised New York didn't score lower. Coverage isn't that great there. Although I doubt Verizon or any other carrier has great coverage either because of the large buildings and population density. Chicago is doing great. They just need to add subway coverage. I'm not sure how much San Francisco has improved though.
post #26 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by jukes View Post

What good are fast downloads if the signal doesn't penetrate large buildings like hospitals or university lab buildings?

Who in their right mind wants the signal to penetrate through dense material like concrete, brick, reinforced steel and more?

Perhaps you'd like to try lead?

Even when I had a friend at T-Mobile they had localized zones in their buildings to make sure the signal was solid.

Corporations will have to invest or keep those Old Copper lines running. If you think PBX corporate phone systems are going to die you're nuts.
post #27 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraithofwonder View Post

This article would seem to suggest that AT&T is doing something right...

My mind has been blown.

Lol, I agree. I've been trying to decide whether it's worth $30 to go from a 64gb WiFi iPad to a 32gb WiFi+3G iPad and this is making me lean toward the latter. I appreciate the significance of the improvements and was mainly considering whether the 3G was worth it if I couldn't get it. Good stuff. More to ponder. Glad to see some excellent progress here.
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post #28 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by b real View Post

Does the study say what time of day it was conducted? Wouldn't that play a role in performance from one network to another?

Not sure what you are referring to.

My experience has taught me that if there is a decrease in 3G service and voice becomes a problem, I switch 3G off. Invariably, my problems are solved.

I have reset my iPhone and network settings on rare occasions. Rarely have I had any major issues, but I don't mind even restoring my iPhone completely.

I must say, that since I got my TomTom/Car kit, everything, just worked better. If the attached article is any indication, my new setup actually satisfies the suggestion to attach a USB cable and give the phone a full charge. http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10115619-233.html
post #29 of 69
[CENTER]Speed's nice and all, but what about connection reliability?[/CENTER]
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post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Who in their right mind wants the signal to penetrate through dense material like concrete, brick, reinforced steel and more?

Perhaps you'd like to try lead?

Even when I had a friend at T-Mobile they had localized zones in their buildings to make sure the signal was solid.

Corporations will have to invest or keep those Old Copper lines running. If you think PBX corporate phone systems are going to die you're nuts.

I'd be afraid to use any cell phone that had a strong enough transmitter to eliminate dead zones in buildings. If you have a problem in a building, you buy a repeater. Most businesses that need their customers or staff to use cell phones have these. Verizon uses a lower frequency that can go through dense materials more easily, but you still need a repeater. You are always going to have dead zones in buildings despite what Verizon's commercials say.
post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Fast speeds mean nothing if you don't have coverage in your area. So its not the right choice for many. Look at no coverage as 0 and anything times 0 is still 0

They are measuring coverage, just not rural coverage.

Apple opened up bluetooth on the iPod touch for third party devices. I'd like to see a multi-carrier, minimalistic phone that you control by bluetooth (or wifi) from an iPod touch. Kinda like a headset, but includes the whole phone...
post #32 of 69
Here in OC, I rarely get dropped calls, but I'm not a big voice user. I have noticed on the few occasions when I did experience a drop it was always when connecting to another cell phone never when connecting to a land line. Which makes sense since there is twice as much chance for the signal to fail when there is a cell connection on each end. Also you don't always know which carrier the other person is on so you can't always blame your own carrier for the drop.

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post #33 of 69
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't see any indication as to what time of day they performed the test.

If they performed it at 4am the results would be different than 5pm. They probably ran it during peak hours, but I just don't see it mentioned - I may be missing it.

And if you have to switch out of 3G to use your phone during peak hours, then what's the point of paying for 3G service?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Not sure what you are referring to.

My experience has taught me that if there is a decrease in 3G service and voice becomes a problem, I switch 3G off. Invariably, my problems are solved.

I have reset my iPhone and network settings on rare occasions. Rarely have I had any major issues, but I don't mind even restoring my iPhone completely.

I must say, that since I got my TomTom/Car kit, everything, just worked better. If the attached article is any indication, my new setup actually satisfies the suggestion to attach a USB cable and give the phone a full charge. http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-10115619-233.html
post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremeskater View Post

Fast speeds mean nothing if you don't have coverage in your area. So its not the right choice for many. Look at no coverage as 0 and anything times 0 is still 0

This is a major misinterpretation of Verizon's ads - and why AT&T sued.

Verizon claims that their 3G coverage is broader than AT&T's 3G covers - which is probably true. But when you look at how many people can't get a signal at all, Verizon has twice as many as AT&T.

Not to mention that AT&T's 3G is faster than Verizon's 3G and AT&T's EDGE isn't all that much slower than Verizon's 3G, so the 'Verizon is better than AT&T" statement is nowhere near universally true. In fact, when you consider that the majority of people in the US live in metro areas, it's not true at all for the majority of the population.
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post #35 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by gin_tonic View Post

In San Jose in my pervious location I couldn't even speak inside the building (AT&T)

Funny. That was my experience too. I could walk 10 feet outside the door and get full strength though. That cleared up about 9 months ago. I get full strength throughout the building now.
post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Here in OC...


"Don't call it that."

post #37 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by b real View Post

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't see any indication as to what time of day they performed the test.

If they performed it at 4am the results would be different than 5pm. They probably ran it during peak hours, but I just don't see it mentioned - I may be missing it.

And if you have to switch out of 3G to use your phone during peak hours, then what's the point of paying for 3G service?

Perhaps you are referring to another posting. There is no formal testing in the article I was referring to. My own experience was typical no matter what time of day I was in the affected area.
post #38 of 69
I think it's too little, too late for AT&T. They seem to think their bad image is only caused by the speed of the service when they have horrible customer service issues to deal with as well.

I'm getting really sick and f*cking tired of paying a $30 iPhone service charge every month.
post #39 of 69
I live in Albuquerque and AT&T is great here. I do experience problems when I travel to bigger cities. I want AT&T to be successful. I applaud the improvement. I hope it continues.
post #40 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

"Don't call it that."

Not 'THE O.C.' that is stupid, just plain old OC.

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