AT&T 3G Speed The Fastest According to PC World

Seeing as how I use AT&T daily in Los Angeles and find the 3G service to be spotty and occasionally non-existant, I have a bit of a hard time believing that AT&T’s 3G network speed is actually the fastest. However, based on a recent study conducted by PC World, that seems to be the case.

The study, a collaboration between PC World and wireless analysis firm Novarum, took place from December 2009 to January 2010, and compares the four major U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile) in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle on both mobile phones and laptop data cards

Highlights of the study include:

• AT&T: average download speed 1410 Kbps, average upload speed 773 Kbps

• Sprint: average download speed 795 Kbps, average upload speed 396 Kbps

• T-Mobile: average download speed 868 Kbps, average upload speed 311 Kbps

• Verizon: average download speed 877 Kbps, average upload speed 434 Kbps

• Using notebook computers with a built-in or external 3G card, AT&T had the fastest download speed in 11 of the 13 cities, and the fastest upload speed in all 13 cities.

• For smartphones, AT&T had the fastest download speeds in nine of the 13 cities, and the fastest upload speed in all 13 cities.

• The AT&T-iPhone pairing had the fastest download and upload speeds, although its reliability slightly trailed the T-Mobile-G1 combination, which posted the highest figures.

I know what you’re thinking. These results can’t be real. As someone who’s lived with AT&T for several years and uses an iPhone daily, I have to admit I’m skeptical. Plus, they didn’t try this study in Los Angeles, one of the biggest areas of iPhone use.

However, the numbers are compelling. Maybe its time to give AT&T a break and realize they are trying to make things better? Maybe.

What do you guys think? Is AT&T 3G service good or bad for you?

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  • Dmcs
    February 16, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I live in metro Atlanta and ran several speed tests from various locations in the city my average download speed is about 0.5 mgs and upload 0.7mgs but has been as low as 0.01 and never over 0.8 mgs. So to me the average speed is not that great. Hulu & Netflix always buffeting or timing out

  • Zarin
    January 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I love AT&T 3G. Very realia le. I tested it today and got 2MB down. Impressive

  • How businesses will benefit from 4G | Smartphones | TechRepublic.com
    December 10, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    […] speeds of the four major U.S. wireless carriers’ 3G implementations earlier this the year, PC World discovered that average downloads speeds ranged from 795 kbps to 1.4 mbps, with upload spee…. FiOS, on the other hand, provides download rates of up to 50 mbps with 20 mbps uploads. Cable […]

  • 85kewgrr
    November 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I live in a very rural area, as in, I have to drive 20 minutes to a gas station, 30 minutes to the nearest interstate highway. I’m about an hour and a half outside of St.Louis. Since 2005 I have had 3G, currently, about 4 megs in the woods. I have the advantage of less interference from buildings and what not, but I took a road trip to Chicago, had my aircard in my laptop, and was able to stream videos from Hulu at 480p all the way home, 7 hours of driving, in addition to surfing and what not. I didn’t do speed tests, but it was fast enough to smoothly browse the entire time. Where I live, I can’t even make a phone call with Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon.

  • Casey Friday
    July 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    I know it's been a while since February, but I just ran a speedtest on my T-Mobile G1, and I got 3.86mbps down. I went into an AT&T store yesterday and ran a mobile speedtest on the iPhone4, which got 4.2mbps down. I tested my G1 in the store to see if it was a fluke, and I got 4.1mbps down.

    The kicker? I'm in San Antonio, TX, and we get network upgrades here before most other cities. If there's a 'newer' or 'faster' network, San Antonio has it. I can't speak for L.A., but the speeds are definitely possible.

    Thanks for the article!

  • Alopez
    May 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    I also tested with http://www.mobilespeedtest.com and I would have to agree with what is stated about AT&T. Did the same as someone else and ran several tests throughout the day and my scores varied between 1200 Kbps and 1800 Kbps

    Your speed: 1403.509 Kbps
    Your latency: 0.381 seconds
    Transferred 1000 KB in 5.7 seconds

    • Alopez
      May 28, 2010 at 11:50 am

      Tested again this morning with the speedtest.net iPhone app and results were:

      Download Speed: 2.94 Mbps
      Upload Speed: 0.20 Mbps

      • Chris Ullrich
        May 31, 2010 at 10:34 am

        It may be true in some areas, but in Los Angeles AT&T was always crap for me. Verizon works much better I’m happy to say.

  • Sprint to launch 4G WiMax phone « RJI Mobile Blog
    May 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    […] can deliver download speeds of 6 to 11Mps.  By comparison, AT&T won PC World’s February test of mobile systems with an average download speed of […]

  • Hsew
    April 29, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Figures Verizon would be last. So much for the “map” ads eh? I mean I can’t even watch COMPRESSED youtube videos on my Blackberry storm 2 for crying out loud.

  • Bman
    April 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I live in nasvhille and my iPhone has never gotten less than 2000kbs. So I’m not complaining about AT&T service at all.

  • Anonymous
    March 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Sprint*

  • Anonymous
    March 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I actually average around 2000-2500 Kbps, with my max being just under 6 Mbps when I was visiting an HSPA test city. Having loads of better customer support than Spring, I’m completely happy with AT&T.

  • Caley
    February 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    “AT&T… We’re the best when it works!”

    • Chris Ullrich
      February 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

      That’s about right. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      March 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      agreed

  • Anonymous
    February 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Your speed: 1131.542 Kbps
    Your latency: 1.468 seconds
    Transfered 1MB in 7.07 seconds

    Source: http://www.mobilespeedtest.com

    I had to test this out myself with my LG Xenon and it appears that the results of AT&T’s 3G speeds are up to par with my results. I repeatedly done this test during different parts of the day and had a lowest speed of 859 Kbps and the highest speed was 1321 Kbps

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