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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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&T?s average download speeds in our tests more than doubled. The network?s 13-city average download speed was 1.4 mbps; that?s as fast as many home broadband connections. In our tests, none of AT&T?s 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    ``Can you hear me now?'' said one friend from the AT&T network to a friend on the Verizon network.
  • Reply 2 of 71
    This article would seem to suggest that AT&T is doing something right...



    My mind has been blown.
  • Reply 3 of 71
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 71
    Wasn't AT&T supposed to suck?



    Looks like Apple made the right choice again.
  • Reply 5 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 71
    So, this article is about 3G coverage?
  • Reply 7 of 71
    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
  • Reply 8 of 71
    boogabooga Posts: 1,077member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 71
    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)
  • Reply 10 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 71
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,991member
    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.



  • Reply 12 of 71
    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!!!!!!!!
  • Reply 13 of 71
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 71
    jukesjukes Posts: 213member
    What good are fast downloads if the signal doesn't penetrate large buildings like hospitals or university lab buildings?
  • Reply 18 of 71
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 71
    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...
  • Reply 20 of 71
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    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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