AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint by the Numbers

Every other commercial on TV is about whose service is faster, better, clearer, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  AT&T says you can surf and talk on their phone at the same time.  Verizon says they have the most coverage. Sprint brags about how it is the only nation wide network with unlimited data. 

The TUAW reported on a performance study done by Metrico Wireless that compared the carriers to determine who has the fastest and most reliable network. According to the study, AT&T has the fastest network for downloading data. Verizon is better with calls because it has the fewest call failures.  Sprint was the worst in both download speeds and dropped calls.

However this study only looked at the download times and dropped calls for the iPhone 4S.  Even though that is a very popular phone, there are a lot of other phones out there in the market.  Isn’t the network speed and call dropping issue also dependent on the phone as well as the carrier?  I am not sure about network speed but I know certain phones drop calls more than others.  Could another phone like a specific Android device get better download speeds on Sprint than AT&T?  I don’t know, but I am curious.  Maybe somebody with more knowledge can answer that for me.

Computerworld’s Matt Hamblen, wrote an interesting response to Metrico’s study on his blog post “Smartphone speed tests and weighing network performance.”  Matt praises the testing firm and notes that the information is interesting, he also says it will have more relevance to the providers than the customers.  Why?  First, customers are creatures of habit, they tend not to switch carriers.  Second, consumers pick carriers for many reasons besides just network performance.  They look at cost, phone selection, coverage in their area, etc.  However for those that value data speeds over voice, or voice over data, having that information might tip their decision.


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