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PCMag Hails AT&T’s 4G LTE Network As Fastest In U.S.

by Adriana Lee | June 18, 2013June 18, 2013 8:00 am PDT

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When it comes to 4G/LTE, Verizon’s network is largely acknowledged as the best. But now, PCMag‘s latest test results have come along to challenge that notion. According to the website, AT&T actually had the fastest LTE network of all four of the major carriers.

In its latest study, the website used the exact same model of Samsung smartphone and equipped drivers to hit the road and test the networks across 30 different cities. The site used a new tool from Sensorly to measure speed, “like the all-important ‘time to first byte’ which tells you how long it takes for a Web page to start to appear.”

AT&T’s LTE network boasted average speeds of 16.65 Mbps (down) and 7.43 Mbps (up). That simply outclassed Verizon’s 11.93 Mpbs (down) and 6.25 Mbps (up). T-Mobile did quite well, even edging out Verizon, at 12.07 Mbps (down) and 7.09 Mbps (up). But it was only usable in six of the available markets in the study sample. In other areas, PCMag went with Tmo’s other hi-speed network, HSPA+, which pulled in 7.91 Mbps (down) and 1.42 Mbps (up).

Compared to these results, Sprint’s 4G LTE network was practically wheezing. It clocked in at a measly 5.55 Mbps (down) and 2.41 Mbps (up).

As far as max download speeds are concerned, AT&T again topped the charts, with 66.11 Mbps. T-Mobile came in second, at 62.03 Mbps, and Verizon and Sprint pulled in 59.83 Mbps and 32.32 Mbps, respectively.

Ultimately, the findings are that Verizon is still the choice for reliability (although none of the contenders really had the chops to deliver solid or stable enough connections to vie with home broadband). T-Mobile was quite the surprise, but the downside there is coverage. And even though Sprint could use a boost in the speed department, the carrier is broadening its reach. The Now Network is pushing hard to expand LTE coverage, with 22 new cities and 13 more on the way.

When it comes to 4G/LTE, it looks like things are moving along, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Do these results surprise you, or does it line up with your own experience? Be sure to let us know in the comments.  


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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