People seem to have a love-hate relationship with AT&T. On one hand, people love to bitch and moan about the crappy reception they have with Ma Bell, yet there was curiously no exodus of subscribers when the iPhone came to Verizon and subsequently Sprint.
I suppose part of the reason folks are, in part, reluctant to leave AT&T is because their network download speed is by and large significantly faster than the competition.
In a recent study of the iPhone 4S undertaken by Metrico, they measured network performance across the 3 major US carriers mentioned above. The study gauged network download and upload speeds along with other variables such as voice quality and web browsing speed. And unlike many of those analyst reports that only poll as little as 200 respondents, Metrico’s tests were the result of conducting over 8,000 data download and upload tests and 21,000 web page downloads. The tests were performed in a controlled laboratory setting as well as in 5 US cities deemed to be representative of “network conditions nationwide.”
But enough talk, what did the results find?
Well first and foremost, when it comes to data speeds, AT&T has a huge leg up on both Sprint and Verizon as the chart below suggests.
In terms of specific data download speeds, AT&T had an average speed of 3,210 Kbps, compared to 1,071 Kbps for Verizon and 581kbps for Sprint, one-fifth the speed of AT&T. The maximum data download speed on AT&T was 6,047 Kbps over its 3G GSM network. Metrico didn’t supply actual data upload times to reporters.
With respect to voice quality, the study found that the voice quality for Sprint iPhone owners was tops when the iPhone user was speaking and that voice quality when an iPhone owner is listening was highest on AT&T.
Overall, though, Verizon came out with respect to call quality.
Regarding web browsing, AT&T’s average web loading time checked in at 1.29 seconds, more than twice as fast as Verizon which came in at 2.6 seconds and leaps and bounds faster than Sprint where webpages loaded on average after 6.44 seconds.