Did you upgrade to a 4G phone? Are you waiting to make sure you have actual 4G coverage in your area? Is 3G good enough for you? Well PCWorld went into the hearts of 13 cities around the U.S. to determine just how fast each areas’ 3G and 4G networks worked on the four major carriers.
Before we get to the results, here’s a bit of the nitty-gritty about the tests:
- A single user traveled to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
- The networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon were tested
- Five indoor locations and five outdoor locations were tested in each city
- Each carrier provided a 3G and 4G phone: AT&T – Motorola Atrix 2 (3G) & HTC Vivid (4G); Sprint – LG Marquee (3G) & Samsung Galaxy S II (4G); T-Mobile – Samsung Sidekick 4G (3G) & HTC Amaze 4G (4G); Verizon- HTC Droid Incredible (3G) & Motorola Droid Razr (4G)
- The Ookla app was used to measure speed
- Results were determined by averaging the speed of servers on each coast
- 4G networks were not available everywhere, the fallback 3G network was used in these cases
- “Overall winners [are] based on a weighted composite score that factored in the services’ download speeds and their upload speeds. Each resulting speed number has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.”
PCWorld put the results into a series of colorful graphs by state but in the meantime, here are a few of the broader results.
The average 3G speed went up across all four major carriers during the past year.
In terms of average wireless speed coast-to-coast, T-Mobile came in on top in terms of both download and upload speeds on 3G (3.84 and 1.44 mbps respectively). For 4G, AT&T won for download speed (9.56 mbps) and Verizon took top honors for upload speed at 5.86 mbps.
T-Mobile claimed the overall winner crown for 3G but AT&T beat it out for 4G. Sprint came in last place overall across both networks.