Well boys and girls, welcome to the final installment of Carrier Wars — the series of features in which we call upon our readers who represent each of the four major US wireless carriers to report the 3G speeds they’re experiencing across the country. It’s been quite a trip but the fourth and final carrier, T-Mobile USA, is now accounted for, which means its time to line everyone up side by side and see where the chips fell. So sit back, relax and hit the jump to see how your carrier stacks up against the competition.
To quickly recap where we’re at right now: AT&T was first up and recorded a pretty respectable average download speed of 933kbps, besting next in line, Verizon Wireless, by a solid 232kbps. The nation’s number three carrier, Sprint Nextel, was next to bat and it knocked one out of the park. Sprint set the bar quite high with an average download speed of 1361kbps, leaving T-Mobile with quite a hill to climb should it manage to register an upset. Tmo has the newest 3G network with the least amount of congestion however, so number four could definitely swoop in and surprise us all, Right? Right? Yeah, not so much.
- Average download speed: 786kbps
- Median download speed: 748kbps
- Average upload speed: 177kbps
- Median upload speed: 136kbps
According to the speeds experienced and recorded by our readers, T-Mobile slides into the number three slot having bested Big Red by 85kbps. On the upload side of things, T-Mobile comes in dead last with an average speed of 177kbps, just short of the equally pathetic 180kbps put up by AT&T. Of note, T-Mobile was definitely the most consistent carrier our readers tested — the speed test results were very level compared to the sharp peaks and deep valleys found in other carrier’s test results. In fact, trimming the download data to omit oddities as we did with the three other carriers barely affected T-Mobile’s numbers at all: Dropping the top and bottom five results left us with a download average of 767kbps and cutting the top and bottom 10 yielded 773kbps.
All things considered, Tmo has poured a lot into its 3G network — despite being insanely late to the party — so these results are somewhat disheartening. Subscribers shouldn’t despair, however. T-Mobile has no intention of getting caught with its pants down twice and it is already hard at work developing its 4G network, which will reportedly be deployed not long after the big boys’ LTE setups get the green light.
Let’s take a quick look at everything lined up nice and pretty:
Average Download Speed
- Sprint: 1361kbs
- AT&T: 933kbps
- T-Mobile: 786kbps
- Verizon: 701kbps
Average Upload Speed
- Verizon: 322kbps
- Sprint: 267kbps
- AT&T: 180kbps
- T-Mobile: 177kbps
There you have it folks — the final act of Carrier Wars is officially a wrap. While these numbers shouldn’t be considered absolute or scientific, they certainly give an accurate representation of each carrier’s 3G network speeds as experienced by our readers. So what does everyone think? Did the carriers’ performances land where you thought they would or were you surprised by our findings? Hit the comment section and be heard.
Again; for those interested, here is the data collected for T-Mobile.
Disclaimer: The results of these tests are not collected in a controlled environment and therefore should not be considered to represent a concrete indication of the above carriers’ 3G network speeds and/or performance in general. These results merely provide the average 3G network speeds of the above carriers as experienced by those readers who performed speed tests and shared their results. Stop whining.