or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Inside iPhone 4S US mobile data: AT&T vs Sprint vs Verizon
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Inside iPhone 4S US mobile data: AT&T vs Sprint vs Verizon

post #1 of 117
Thread Starter 
Apple now sells iPhones that work on three of the top four national US mobile carriers. Here's a look at how well you can expect Apple's latest smartphones to work on each of these mobile data networks, based on real world testing of each carrier's data throughput.

Evaluating how well a mobile device works across different mobile networks is difficult. First, there's the characteristics of the phone itself, added to the technology type of the carrier, whether a GSM/UMTS network like AT&T or the CDMA EV-DO 3G mobile networks of Verizon and Sprint.

On top of that, each carrier's network strength, usability and reliability depends upon tower placements and the backhaul networks that connect them, making some spots or even regions better on one carrier than another, independent of the conditions of another nearby spot or region across the country.

We didn't test the strength of radio connectivity between phones and towers, which is reflected in the "bars" of service reported by a phone. Instead, we measured actual data throughput, providing a better indication of how well the iPhone will actually work on each carrier when you look up maps, browse the web or make Siri requests.

Evaluating carrier claims

Carriers are often very secretive about their networks, hoping to avoid disclosure of any competitive disadvantages. On the other hand, they're very open about any competitive advantages they hold. AT&T advertises the nation's fastest 3G network, while Verizon claims the best coverage and Sprint trumpets its status as the last US iPhone carrier offering an all you can eat data plan.

AppleInsider has been evaluating the three carrier's networks in a series of West Coast tests that seem to have provided fairly conclusive results on what users can expect from each network. The tests of three iPhones on each carrier were performed in parallel across urban areas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Reno, Nevada, with some rural testing performed between those locations.

The tests we performed won't tell you what level of data service you can expect in any specific region across the US on each of the three carriers. Each provider has strong and weak spots related to their national build outs. Each also has technical pros and cons, divergent plans for the future of their networks, and differing policies for supporting data throughput.

However, while our tests were confined to a limited area of the US, the tests do provide pretty clear results that seem to represent the findings of other users and the reports of other mobile data tests, indicating they are representative of the carriers' own policies that have influenced how their nationwide networks are configured and operated.



On page 2 of 3: AT&T is indeed the fastest phone network, Verizon coverage is indeed more widely available.

AT&T is indeed the fastest phone network

Apple's originally exclusive iPhone partner, AT&T, is clearly the fastest US mobile network. That's largely due to the fact that AT&T's GSM/UMTS network takes advantage of the iPhone's ability to support AT&T's newest UMTS network technologies: High-Speed Uplink Packet Access Category 6 (supporting data uploads of up to 5.76 Mbps on iPhone 4 and 4S), and High-Speed Downlink Packet Access Release 5 (enabling data downloads of up to 14.2 Mbps on the iPhone 4S or up to 7.2 on the iPhone 4 and 3GS).

AT&T doesn't come close to saturating the iPhone's data capabilities; the best download we observed in testing was 5.4 Mbps, and the best upload was 1.2 Mbps. But those speeds are comfortably fast, comparable to accessing WiFi from a mobile device. For data downloads, AT&T's top speed was more than twice as fast as the best scores obtained on Sprint or Verizon, although AT&T's fastest uploads were largely comparable with the best uploads found on Sprint or Verizon.

Whether you're using Maps or Siri or watching videos, AT&T provides hands down faster experiences, at least when you have good service. Whenever you don't have AT&T's best service coverage, speeds drop considerably, even falling to zero in some places. However, on average across all the tests performed in parallel in both rural and urban settings across California, AT&T averaged 1.623 Mbps down and 0.764 Mbps up, numbers than were more than twice as fast overall compared to Verizon's downloads (averaging 0.724 Mbps) and 2.9 times as fast as Sprint's download average (0.559 Mbps).

In terms of upload speeds, AT&T's average was about a third faster than Verizon's average upload speed of 0.557 Mbps, and 1.8 times faster than Sprint's, which clocked in at 0.422 Mbps. If you want the fastest mobile service for your iPhone, AT&T is the clear winner, even when you figure in areas of weaker coverage.

AT&T also has the greatest potential for building on its 3G speed lead for iPhone users. Verizon and Sprint are tied to CDMA EV-DO for their 3G service, and those networks can't get much faster (although they could be make more reliable, potentially raising their average speeds closer to the technology's theoretical maximum of 3.1 Mbps down and 1.8 Mbps up).

AT&T is already delivering download speeds quite a bit faster than EV-DO is capable of ever achieving. On top of that, AT&T's network and the iPhone 4S are capable of even faster speeds up towards the theoretical 14.4 Mbps, something that Sprint and Verizon simply can't achieve with their existing 3G networks. That's why both Verizon and Sprint are working to build out LTE networks capable of faster speeds (although those networks won't ever benefit existing iPhone users unless they begin using an external MiFi wireless LTE device to relay WiFi data service).

Bottom line: AT&T is already fastest in general, significantly faster on average, and has far more room to grow in progressively rolling out even faster speeds to existing iPhone users over the next couple years.

Verizon coverage is indeed more widely available

Neither the average speed of AT&T's network nor its fastest peaks will matter to you, however, if you routinely want your iPhone to work in areas where AT&T delivers poor coverage. For example, we found specific locations where an AT&T iPhone simply wouldn't ring or get any service: at home, in most of the mezzanine level of the San Francisco Muni Metro, in parts of the forest headed to Lake Tahoe, and in the shadowed valley of Los Angeles' Runyon Canyon Park.

There are plenty of areas where mobile phones of all types fail to find service, but both AT&T and Sprint seemed more likely to lose coverage in certain dubious fringe areas than our Verizon test phone. Even in areas where one might expect not to have data coverage (such as in an underground metro station) the Verizon iPhone could often find enough service to remain marginally usable. These cases provide reasons why you might opt for slower overall coverage in order to have at least minimally functional service more of the time.

Having switched to Verizon in San Francisco earlier this year (as soon as the Verizon iPhone 4 became available), I have to report far fewer occasions where I discovered having no service at all, compared to AT&T. However, Verizon's data service is noticeably slower (particularly evident when loading maps) and belying its heavily promoted "better 3G coverage" rhetoric it seems to drop from 3G EVDO to "o" service (apparently 2G CDMA2000 1x, which feels significantly slower than AT&T's EDGE) surprisingly often. Driving across the country this summer I noticed Verizon losing service completely in some rural areas. Overall however, Verizon has demonstrated functional service in more areas than AT&T, 3G or not.

The decision to pick Verizon over AT&T therefore depends upon how much of your mobile experience occurs in areas with reliable AT&T's coverage. If you travel through lots of rural areas or know of poor coverage by AT&T in or around your home, office or school, you might likely be better off with Verizon's slower but in many cases more dependable service coverage.

At the same time, AT&T is incrementally improving its coverage map. Additionally, Apple's new iMessage and FaceTime capabilities means that you can now contact people and receive texts from other iOS 5 users even if you don't have good mobile service, if you are located somewhere that WiFi is available. Previously, if you didn't have mobile coverage, you couldn't send or receive any texts at all. That makes WiFi availability a secondary consideration when deciding whether to opt for AT&T's faster coverage or Verizon's often better coverage at slower data rates.



On page3 of 3: Sprint is indeed the only unlimited iPhone data contract still available, US iPhone carrier overview.

Sprint is indeed the only unlimited iPhone data contract still available

And then there's Sprint. As the newest iPhone carrier in the US, Sprint is also the last to still offer an unlimited data contract. The problem, at least right now, is that Sprint's data service is so bad it's unlikely you could ever get your money's worth of data using a Sprint iPhone. While neither Sprint nor Apple have really addressed the issue directly, there seems to be something tragically wrong with how the iPhone works on Sprint's network. If it's not something unique to Sprint, it would be hard to imagine how Sprint has remained in business this long.

We briefly compared Sprint's iPhone service to an Android HTC EVO 4G phone, and found better data throughput on the EVO in the same location, even when confined to working on the 3G network. Sprint has been selling the EVO for much longer, so it appears to have worked out more kinks that have not yet been resolved for the new iPhone. Until Sprint solves its iPhone service issues, it would be frustrating to try to use Sprint as an iPhone service provider.

Sprint served the slowest data by far, and we found "no service" problems more often on Sprint's network than AT&T. Even at times when the Sprint iPhone was able to complete a data test, it often wouldn't work well enough to bring up a map, check email, or respond to Siri requests. Given how frustratingly bad Sprint's 3G network was in practice, it seems very likely that there must be a fix in the works to solve the iPhone's terrible performance on its new carrier. That wouldn't be unprecedented, as Apple has consistently released updates that have aimed at improving how well the device works on specific carriers.

At this time however, it's extremely hard to recommend the Sprint iPhone, unless the problems we saw were unique only to San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Reno, Nevada, and various points in between. Judging from online service complaints, it appears Sprint's network needs additional work to properly support the iPhone.

US iPhone carrier overview

While our tests averaged in poor results obtained in each carrier's "service holes" that we discovered while performing tests at scores of locations throughout California, the tests weren't intended to capitalize on areas of known poor service. For example, we didn't purposely conduct a series of tests in metro stations or in other areas where most carriers seem to lack decent service, such as within the bowels of San Francisco General Hospital or deep in the middle of the forests around Lake Tahoe.

We tried to incorporate a variety of test locations that reflected where users might expect to actually use their phone: in the car on the freeway in both urban and some rural settings, walking downtown, in urban parks and in residential neighborhoods. The results seemed very consistent: AT&T regularly delivered significantly faster speeds, although it was not always the winner and occasionally failed to find service. Verizon seemed to deliver moderately good service at slower overall speeds, but often continued to work after AT&T and Sprint began to fail due to being in a difficult topography or further from civilization. Sprint was just flat out abysmal overall, although it did occasionally deliver top speeds rivaling Verizon.

It's also important to consider that the data speeds you enjoy will be influenced by the demand around you. For example, we observed download data speeds of 2.0 to 3.9 Mbps on AT&Ts network at LA's Hollywood Bowl when we initially arrived for a show, but after the concert venue filled up, data service plummeted to a nearly unusable 0.18 to 0.27 Mbps during the show's intermission, when the entire area was saturated with smartphone users trying to post photos on Facebook.

At the same location, Verizon initially provided downloads that peaked at 1.1 Mbps, but which similarly plunged below 0.150 once the venue filled up. Sprint's service there was at best reaching 0.660 to 0.730 Mbps before many had arrived, but similarly dropped into a virtually unusable state, reporting data throughput of just 0.022 Mbps once the area was full.

The idea that AT&T is a terrible service provider and certainly the worst in the US (and in particular in San Francisco), was flatly refuted in our testing. AT&T not only won overall in speed tests by a wide margin, but also delivered the fastest peak scores by far. The carrier also trounced its competitors within the average scores tallied in San Francisco and in LA, and even beat both Verizon and Sprint in rural tests between San Francisco, Sacramento and Reno Nevada.

Examining the data scores we achieved on each carrier (compiled by the independent third party Speedtest.net app, which rates bandwidth by sending bits back and forth to its servers) further notes that AT&T's throughput only dipped below 0.500 Mbps in 17.5 percent of our tests. Verizon dipped below that same threshold in 47.6 percent of our tests, while Sprint delivered scores below that more than half the time, in 55 percent of the tests.

Conversely, AT&T's download results were better than 1.5 Mbps in more than half of our tests, 50.8 percent of the time. Verizon only beat that threshold in 11.1 percent of our tests, while Sprint only exceeded it 6.4 percent of the time.
These findings make it even harder to recommend Verizon over AT&T, for anyone other than individuals who happen to live or work in a known AT&T dead zone. AT&T's fatal flaw is that it doesn't cover as much area, so its tremendous speed advantage can become irrelevant when you need to place a call or look up information just as you happen to walk into a dead spot.

Sad prospects for improvement in US mobile networks

The results indicate that AT&T has made significant improvements to its network over the past few years as the iPhone's exclusive carrier in the US, and suggests that the complaints about AT&T as a carrier have been somewhat overblown, just as issues with the iPhone's longevity, antenna design, battery life and other factors have been wildly overstated by its most negative, vocal critics. At the same time, the hope that AT&T might rapidly improve its network by incorporating T-Mobile's resources is looking increasingly less likely as the FCC moves to block the merger on the grounds of competition.

Unfortunately, the FCC isn't bothering to make any efforts to actually compel US mobile carriers to build out better coverage, nor is it doing anything to supply carriers with the bandwidth they need to offer globally competitive service. In the case of AT&T and T-Mobile, the agency is blindly following an agenda that prioritizes the number of national mobile competitors over the sustainability of each of those carriers, apparently unaware that T-Mobile's parent company, Deutsche Telecom, doesn't want to be in the market and won't be spending the billions needed to make T-Mobile a real competitor even if the FCC is successful in preventing AT&T from acquiring its assets.

The result is that the US is constrained by weak networks that can either boast coverage or speed, while even their top speeds pale in comparison to what carriers in other affluent nations offer, often for much less. Sanford Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock noted that a primary reason why US networks are so pathetic is because the American government doesn't regulate how carriers build their networks as European nations do, providing the example of rules mandating a minimum number of base stations that, if not achieved, will result in the carriers losing their spectrum allocations.

"Let's take California and Spain as an example, " Bienenstock wrote. "Telefonica has some 33,000 base stations in Spain (yes, miserable, economically imploding Spain). Conveniently, California is a similar size, has a similar topography, and has very similar population density. In California, AT&T has just over 6,000 base stations. The spectrum allocation per pop in these two operators (TEF in Spain and AT&T in California) is remarkably similar. A similar analysis looking at New Jersey and Massachusetts vs the Netherlands shows similar results.

"Why are European networks so much denser than American networks? In large part the answer lies (again) in regulation. In Europe, the spectrum auctions of last decade came with 'use it or lose it clauses' that obliged operators to build a minimum of base stations or face sanctions from fines to loss of spectrum. The result is clear to any American visiting Europe and more frustratingly obvious to any European visiting the States.
post #2 of 117
You could cover up the carrier name in the SpeedTest screenshots and still know which carrier is which.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #3 of 117
"The idea that AT&T is a terrible service provider and certainly the worst in the US (and in particular in San Francisco), was flatly refuted in our testing. AT&T not only won overall in speed tests by a wide margin, but also delivered the fastest peak scores by far. "
Feel sorry for the chaps jumped over to VZ and got locked in contract.
post #4 of 117
I love AT&T so far. Much better than sprint. AT&T lowered my bill from $575 to $274. HUZZAH!

Plus, for some reason they 3G is better/more reliable/faster than Sprint's 4G.
post #5 of 117
I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.
post #6 of 117
Interesting. I know that there have been lots of complaints here in Canada about longer 3 year contracts, and more expensive monthly plans compared to US carriers, but I've had speeds of up to 7.45Mbps here in Toronto on Fido/Rogers, and my average speeds easily exceed that of AT&T. I've heard lots of anecdotal stories of Canadians travelling to places like NYC and getting terrible speeds or even no service at all. It makes me wonder what the US carriers are spending their (your!) money on if it's not better service. Could also be that we've had a triopoly of carriers here up until just recently. My understanding is that there has been a lot more fragmentation in the US cell phone carrier market. Sitting here on my couch I've got the following (3G) speed results in the past few minutes: 4.54, 4.23, 5.14, 3.22, 3.62, 6.07, 3.40, 7.69... FYI.
post #7 of 117
Verizon is the clear winner.

Don't need to see speed tests because if I can't make a call or receive text I lose business. I can wait a half sec more if it means it WILL WORK. When you sacrifice coverage you sacirfice potential business leads (ie money).

Switched from an AT&T carrier after being with them for 6 years after finding out how much business was lost. I can't even express the number of times I never knew about because of calls that never showed up as MISSED CALL... I would get a call a day later of an upset customers who I never knew called. Who knows how many I lost that never called back.

I put it off for almost a year... Sure they "called"... But after a # of consistant complaints. I decided to run some tests myself. I found that the caller actually would hear ringing go to voicemail and with caller ID these days... they say he'll call back no need to leave a message.... Well if your on AT&T don't be shocked if you NEVER see a MISSED call. This senerio played out a number of times that I know of so who knows how many times I never knew....

Called him never called me back oh well I'll just ask someone else to do business. This could happen to you so before you choose a carrier for your new iPhone.

Just pick Verizon
post #8 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by kianabc View Post

I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.

You think the article is unfair to measure the same device across three US carriers, but suggest throwing in the Verizon LTE MiFi with the iPhone 4S comparison? I can't imagine how that would make any sense to anyone. How about measuring LTE networks, or '4G' networks, or MiFi devices? Those comparisons make sense.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #9 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

When you sacrifice coverage you sacirfice potential business leads (ie money).

People are still playing the coverage card? Let's be clear that for many years Verizon and Sprint's '3G' map coverage included CDMA2000 1X with real world speeds of 60–100 Kbps which is slower than GSM '2G' EDGE speeds. While there are plenty of places AT&T and T-Mobile suffer there are places where Verizon and Sprint suffer, too.

There is no single solution for everyone in the US so saying Just pick Verizon when the coverage, dropped called, cost, and, most importantly to me, data speeds don't reflect Verizon as the best choice is myopic.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #10 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by kianabc View Post

I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.

I agree when I read this article it seems like they push AT&T and poo poo Verizon when Verizon is really the clear winner.
post #11 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by kianabc View Post

I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.

7-9mbps? Really? on 4g? Before the whole "what's 4g and what's not" debate, 4g was classified to be 100mbps. 7-9mbps is more closer to HSPA+ (which is more like 3.5g but is also being called 4g now) and not true 4g speeds. Most people wouldn't care about what speeds they're getting, as long as it works and their web pages are loading rather quick enough.

Verizon and Sprint's 3g speeds are a joke. They had to roll out 4g asap and use it as a marketing gimmick. Att on the other hand, has pretty good 3g speeds and are lagging with their 4g deployment. I'll jump on the 4g bandwagon when it's available in my area. Until then, Att's 3g works just fine.

This was the fastest I've seen:

post #12 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

People are still playing the coverage card? Let's be clear that for many years Verizon and Sprint's '3G' map coverage included CDMA2000 1X with real world speeds of 60100 Kbps which is slower than GSM '2G' EDGE speeds. While there are plenty of places AT&T and T-Mobile suffer there are places where Verizon and Sprint suffer, too.

There is no single solution for everyone in the US so saying Just pick Verizon when the coverage, dropped called, cost, and, most importantly to me, data speeds don't reflect Verizon as the best choice is myopic.

Yes I'm playin the "coverage card" when AT&T told me they wanted me to pay 100 extra bucks a month to put some boosting antenna box in my office when I'm already paying 100 a month for the service.

So YES if I'm paying for a service IT BETTER WORK!!!!

Coverage is more important obviously if you can't connect to the network who cares how fast it is????
post #13 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by neosum View Post

7-9mbps? Really? on 4g? Before the whole "what's 4g and what's not" debate, 4g was classified to be 100mbps. 7-9mbps is more closer to HSPA+ and not 4g.

1) The ITU-R did have 100Mbps as the minimum downlink speed but it's a year since they included LTE and WiMAX so why keep saying the ITU-R's old definition is the only one that should be used.

2) Even if 100MBps was still the ITU-R's minimum downlink requirement that is still not their definition for '4G' as it includes many other factors, like uplink and latency.

3) Regardless of anything else the ITU-R (or any governing body) in no way can stop a carrier or vendor from using the cardinal number '4' followed by the letter 'G' to represent the 4th generation of product or service from any carrier or vendor.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

Yes I'm playin the "coverage card" when AT&T told me they wanted me to pay 100 extra bucks a month to put some boosting antenna box in my office when I'm already paying 100 a month for the service.

So YES if I'm paying for a service IT BETTER WORK!!!!

Coverage is more important obviously if you can't connect to the network who cares how fast it is????

Which is perfectly fine for YOUR individual and specific situation, yet you made the conclusion of your post: "Just pick Verizon." How exactly do you justify that YOUR individual and specific situation should apply to everyone? I don't think it does. I think one should get the carrier and device that best suits THEIR individual and specific situation.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #15 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The tests we performed won't tell you what level of data service you can expect in any specific region across the US on each of the three carriers.

Exactly, so why make broad generalizations? I was concerned about data speed when I was planning to switch from AT&T to Verizon. In fact, it was actually more important to me than dropped calls in some respects. So, here in Cleveland, I did my own tests with my AT&T 3G phone before I switched and found that I was getting poor data speeds with AT&T. The iPhone 4 on Verizon got anywhere from double the download speed, to 20x the upload, and less than half the ping. So my fears, derived from nationwide averages and such, were unfounded, and I've been very happy with the service ever since.
post #16 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Which is perfectly fine for YOUR individual and specific situation, yet you made the conclusion of your post: "Just pick Verizon." How exactly do you justify that YOUR individual and specific situation should apply to everyone? I don't think it does. I think one should get the carrier and device that best suits THEIR individual and specific situation.

I think apple said it best when they said, I like when "things just work". If your cool with your muscle car that works great when "it's running" and fixing between quarter mile runs stay with AT&T.

But if your ready for consistant dependable WORKING COVERAGE go with Verizon.

Your right though it is all about the individual and if you want things to work you'll go with Verizon.
post #17 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) The ITU-R did have 100Mbps as the minimum downlink speed but it's a year since they included LTE and WiMAX so why keep saying the ITU-R's old definition is the only one that should be used.

2) Even if 100MBps was still the ITU-R's minimum downlink requirement that is still not their definition for '4G' as it includes many other factors, like uplink and latency.

3) Regardless of anything else the ITU-R (or any governing body) in no way can stop a carrier or vendor from using the cardinal number '4' followed by the letter 'G' to represent the 4th generation of product or service from any carrier or vendor.

Yes, I did say "was" classified. 4g just isn't that big of a deal as it is today. This article was about iphone speeds and someone mentioned the lack of 4g. With the lack of actual 4g coverage and speed, it really isn't much to brag about. By the time 4g reaches coverage levels of 3g, we'll start seeing 5g and it'll all repeat again.

Nothing will stop the carriers from advertising and calling whatever network they have whatever they want to call it. I never implied that it did. All it does is confuse the average consumer.
post #18 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

I think apple said it best I like when "things just work". If your cool with your muscle car that works great when "it's running" stay with AT&T but if your ready for consistant WORKING COVERAGE go with Verizon.

Your right though it is all about the individual and if you want things to work you'll go with Verizon.

We all have different experiences with the carriers. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, switch. As for which carrier to keep or which carrier to switch to, that's completely open for debate and each person's experience will vary. We'll all come to a point where we're satisfied with the level of coverage/speed we're getting and stay. When that happens, it'll take more than a commercial or report to change one's mind.
post #19 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by kianabc View Post

I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.

That requires paying for 2 service plans.
post #20 of 117
I'm happy with Verizon (though will be happier when there's an LTE iPhone) but I definitely average around 1 MB at most if not closer to .5 MB in the metro Detroit area. Interestingly enough, my friends who now have the Sprint iPhone oftentimes have better data speeds than I do, though they drop more calls. All in all though, Verizon's incredibly stable. While it's never lightning fast, it's never bad, it always works and never drops calls. I'm happy paying a premium for that.
post #21 of 117
Can someone smarter than me explain LTE "4G"... I know LTE stands for Long Term Evolution but is that just for Data throughput that will make these 3G speed tests a mute point because all the carriers will roughly have the same speed?

More importantly, does LTE, and this is what I'd really like to know, does LTE improve call reception? The ability to send or receive a call, not drop a call, not have a call not go to voice mail, or to pick up a call in a building, etc? Will LTE improve all carriers in that area? Or if your carrier is weak on the call reception in your area now, it'll be weak even after LTE is implemented.

Thanks!
/
/
/

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply

Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

Reply
post #22 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

More importantly, does LTE, and this is what I'd really like to know, does LTE improve call reception? The ability to send or receive a call, not drop a call, not have a call not go to voice mail, or to pick up a call in a building, etc? Will LTE improve all carriers in that area? Or if your carrier is weak on the call reception in your area now, it'll be weak even after LTE is implemented.

Simple answer: LTE will increase data rates and lower latency. Voice is a moot point.

Simple answer: You're better off just googling for an explanation. It's be more clear and in-depth than you'll get on a forum.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #23 of 117
If you read reviews of the Networks. Verizon has generally had better voice coverage. AT&T has generally had better data speeds. They both advertise to their strengths.

Moreover, depending on who you ask, the iPhone 4S is 4G. It just doesn't support the more popular version of 4G that Version and Sprint use, namely LTE and WiMax. It, however, supports one of the versions of the standard AT&T supports. AT&T actually has asked Apple to display 4G in the title bar of the phone after AT&T's name.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kianabc View Post

I registered just to post this comment because I think the "conclusion" of this article is a bit unfair. Yes, this article tested the iPhone on all three networks, but when you read it, it makes you think that AT&T is the fastest network and Verizon sucks. That's only because the iPhone 4S is a 3G device, not 4G. I am a iPhone 4S user and overal a big Apple fan. I love my AT&T network so far because it works well in my hometown; however, I just recently bought a Verizon MiFi mobile hotspot and, boy, that thing is blazing fast! I get downloads in the range of 7-9 mbps, consistently. I travel all over the US, and so far it's been that fast every where I go, with an exception of Marriott hotels.

For some reason neither my iPhone 4S and my Verizon MiFi work at the hotel. I swear Marriott messed with the 3G/4G networks, so you're forced to buy their Internet. I get full bars and can make/receive phone calls, but no data. Weird.

Anyway... The Verizon 4G network is super fast. I have no experience with Sprint's 4G network, so I cannot comment on that.
post #24 of 117
I suspect the differences are mainly due to the CDMA and GSM the networks use. CDMA is an older cellular technolgy. It was not designed for data. Then they designed LTE to overcome the shortcomings. OTOH, I suspect 4G has some problems with GSM. This may be the reason why Apple is so late to bring a 4G model to market.
post #25 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

the conclusion of your post: "Just pick Verizon." How exactly do you justify that....

96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business.

http://www.evanta.com/events/213/sponsors

If 96 percent of the top businesses choose Verizon... I think that's a good enough reason. Here is your data! Don't take MY "individual" .... response!

If I'm wrong the 96 percent of the top businesses must be wrong about coverage beating out speed too huh??

Bam! Bazinga!
post #26 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzeshan View Post

What I heard is the differences are mainly due to the CDMA and GSM the networks use. CDMA is an older cellular technolgy. It was not designed for data. Then they designed LTE to overcome the shortcomings. OTOH, I suspect 4G has some problems with GSM. This may be the reason why Apple is so late to bring a 4G model to market.

Look up 3GPP. They are responsible for GSM '2G', UMTS(HS*PA) '3G', and LTE. It's 3GPP2, a completely different group that I responsible for CDMA '2G', CDMA2000(EV-DO) '3G', and UMB the failed Qualcomm '4G' technology (though I am sure some of their UMB patents are present in LTE).

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #27 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business.


http://www.evanta.com/events/213/sponsors

If 96 percent of the top businesses choose Verizon... I think that's a good enough reason. Here is your data! Don't take MY "individual" .... response!

Bam! Bazinga!

The only way you could think that single data point makes your case is if you are erroneously concluding that all other US carriers make up the other 4%. For starters, you'd have to establish the other carrier's usage among the Fortune 1000 businesses.

Since that percentage could be a single device you'd have to show proof of the number of devices uses in total per carrier to make your point valid.

On top of that you'd still have to prove why the businesses matter to all individual consumers throughout the US. Why? I have a Mac notebook, not a Dell or HP desktop, but based on your logic what Fortune 1000 companies use is what I should buy.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #28 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

The only way you could think that single data point makes your case is if you are erroneously concluding that all other US carriers make up the other 4%. For starters, you'd have to establish the other carrier's usage among the Fortune 1000 businesses.

Since that percentage could be a single device you'd have to show proof of the number of devices uses in total per carrier to make your point valid.

On top of that you'd still have to prove why the businesses matter to all individual consumers throughout the US. Why? I have a Mac notebook, not a Dell or HP desktop, but based on your logic what Fortune 1000 companies use is what I should buy.

Apples and oranges.

Don't change the fact that they chose Verizon. I own a MacBook Pro too and if my MacBook didn't load or crashed frequently then you would have some ground to stand on.

We are talking about dependability and use. Cost can sometimes trump this, take in this case your pc / Mac example. Companies use PC because they are cheaper and "get the job done". Yes they have problems (PC's) but the cost to productivity ratio is a closer in the interest of large companies to go that direction.

Since Verizon and AT&T have virtually the same service cost they went with the more DEPENDABLE COVERAGE of Verizon.

When Mac cost the same as PC you'll see companies switching to Mac. (I doubt that will ever happen but if mac and pc were to cost the same businesses would choose the more DEPENDABLE PRODUCTIVE option) Mac :P
post #29 of 117
In general, I can see no fault in the testing that was done by AI. Numerous surveys and tests have indicated that Verizon is more reliable while AT&T is much faster when comparing their "3G" networks. But as with all things, your mileage may vary based on where you live. In San Francisco, an area where AT&T has been blasted for poor service, I actually find that AT&T does provide the fastest data speeds. The truth is, I actually care more about data throughput than phone calls. I think many young individuals will agree. As today's teens grow into adulthood, I assure you phone calls will become secondary to data.

That said, yes, the test only used an iPhone and didn't compare it to Verizon's LTE network. But then it also doesn't include Sprint's WiMax either. That doesn't make it a bad test, nor can you blame the author for drawing the conclusion that AT&T has the better 3G data network. The data supports that conclusion. This is useful for that portion of America that is NOT covered by Verizon LTE yet (quite a lot if you look at the coverage map) or WiMax. I know that a VZW MiFi LTE will do me absolutely no use given that I don't get LTE service here. On that basis then, I am indeed forced to use/compare AT&T 3G vs VZW 3G. And given that data throughout is more important to me, and given that in my area, AT&T coverage is pretty decent, then I would also conclude the same as AI, that people who care about data speed go AT&T if service coverage is decent, and people who car about phone calls or connectivity go Verizon, and people who consume massive amounts of data go Sprint.
post #30 of 117
Great now we have carrier fanboys. Guess I gotta say AT&T is the best since I'm with them!
post #31 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

Apples and oranges.

Don't change the fact that they chose Verizon. I own a MacBook Pro too and if my MacBook didn't load or crashed frequently then you would have some ground to stand on.

We are talking about dependability and use. Cost can sometimes trump this, take in this case your pc / Mac example. Companies use PC because they are cheaper and "get the job done". Yes they have problems (PC's) but the cost to productivity ratio is a closer in the interest of large companies to go that direction.

Since Verizon and AT&T have virtually the same service cost they went with the more DEPENDABLE COVERAGE of Verizon.

When Mac cost the same as PC you'll see companies switching to Mac. (I doubt that will ever happen but if mac and pc were to cost the same businesses would choose the more DEPENDABLE PRODUCTIVE option) Mac :P

Besides not addressing my points you also failed to realize that the 96% refers to Verizon Communications not Verizon Wireless.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #32 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Besides not addressing my points you also failed to realize that the 96% refers to Verizon Communications not Verizon Wireless.

Verizon is better.
post #33 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

Verizon is better.

At least you've dropped all pretense of objectivity and fair-mindedness.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #34 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

At least you've dropped all pretense of objectivity and fair-mindedness.

Verizon is better.

You do know Apple went to Verizon when the iPhone was first introduced?

When Verizon turned them down they went exclusively to AT&T. Years later now apple finding it needs to be more competitive in the phone market has branched to various providers.

Anyway the point of all this is back when the iPhone first came out they went to Verizon first. You saying apple had it wrong? Why would Apple choose Verizon first? Could it be because of the service coverage?

Apple picked Verizon first! You saying they got it wrong?

http://articles.businessinsider.com/...denberg-iphone

First bullet point.
post #35 of 117
An AT&T iPhone is useless at San Jose Sharks Hockey games
Coverage inside any arena can be problematic, but as smart phone usage has increased the problems at HP Pavilion have gone from bad to worse. At period breaks, thousands of iPhones (and other smart phones) attempt to use bandwidth -- I would be unable to send or receive any email or text.

I finally switched to Verizon, and there is no doubt Verizon is better than AT&T -- at least for Sharks Fans
post #36 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

People are still playing the coverage card?

It's highly important, not an argument for the sake of argument. This never stopped being an issue. I switched to Verizon from AT&T and the coverage is significantly better all over LA. There's maybe 1-2 dropped calls a month, and it seems to get all my incoming calls. With AT&T I missed and dropped calls daily, and it interfered with my business like the other guy said. This is fundamental, not part of a feature list that you just dismiss. AT&T needs to build a lot more towers. A lot more.
post #37 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post

It's highly important, not an argument for the sake of argument. This never stopped being an issue. I switched to Verizon from AT&T and the coverage is significantly better all over LA. There's maybe 1-2 dropped calls a month, and it seems to get all my incoming calls. With AT&T I missed and dropped calls daily, and it interfered with my business like the other guy said. This is fundamental, not part of a feature list that you just dismiss. AT&T needs to build a lot more towers. A lot more.

Thank you someone who sees "the big picture" :-)

When it works it works.
post #38 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post

It's highly important, not an argument for the sake of argument. This never stopped being an issue. I switched to Verizon from AT&T and the coverage is significantly better all over LA. There's maybe 1-2 dropped calls a month, and it seems to get all my incoming calls. With AT&T I missed and dropped calls daily, and it interfered with my business like the other guy said. This is fundamental, not part of a feature list that you just dismiss. AT&T needs to build a lot more towers. A lot more.

1) Saying that everyone should use Verizon because it's the only one with coverage is not the same as an individual saying one carrier has more or less coverage for the area they use their phone. If there are multiple carriers in an area that are fine (which is what most people experience) then usage types and plan rates need to be considered.

2) Your experiences doesn't sound like a coverage issue. The higher spectrum not penetrating buildings, HW setups for capacity loads, or even a faulty equipment in your hands could account for all your issues. That isn't to say AT&T is the best option for you but what you've stated don't not reflect any lack of coverage unless you are referring to dropping to GSM '2G' or even No Service…both of which is not something I've not experienced in LA or Orange counties.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #39 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

I think apple said it best when they said, I like when "things just work". If your cool with your muscle car that works great when "it's running" and fixing between quarter mile runs stay with AT&T.

But if your ready for consistant dependable WORKING COVERAGE go with Verizon.

Your right though it is all about the individual and if you want things to work you'll go with Verizon.

You haven't really grasped this 'all about the individual' point, have you?

The point is that which carrier is the best has always varied strongly from area to area, and you should use the carrier which gives you the best coverage in the areas where you use your phone. That might be Verizon and it might not.
post #40 of 117
Quote:
Originally Posted by obxwebdesigner View Post

96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business.

http://www.evanta.com/events/213/sponsors

If 96 percent of the top businesses choose Verizon... I think that's a good enough reason. Here is your data! Don't take MY "individual" .... response!

If I'm wrong the 96 percent of the top businesses must be wrong about coverage beating out speed too huh??

Bam! Bazinga!

If you believe 96%...
ROTFLMAO
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Inside iPhone 4S US mobile data: AT&T vs Sprint vs Verizon