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Carrier Wars: Sprint speed test results

Zach Epstein
August 8th, 2009 at 3:15 PM

It’s here, mobile fans. The moment you’ve been waiting for. The results you’ve been itching for. The numbers you’ve been clamoring for. The… Ok, you get the idea. Last week we asked Sprint subscribers to test their 3G handset speeds and show us what their carrier of choice is made of. Well the results are in and they might just surprise you. So how does the nation’s number three carrier stack up against the big boys? Hit the jump to find out.

As we’re sure you’ll recall, so far AT&T is sitting pretty with an average download speed of 933kbps and Verizon came in a bit lower at 701kbps according to our readers. Now, people, it’s Sprint’s turn. With subscribers still fleeing at a shockingly alarming rate, one might be lead to believe the carrier’s network just isn’t up to par. Well, if our Sprint-subscribed readers are any indication, that couldn’t be any further from the truth:

  • Average download speed, EV-DO Rev. A: 1361kbps
  • Median download speed, EV-DO Rev. A: 1310kbps
  • Average upload speed, EV-DO Rev. A: 267kbps
  • Median upload speed, EV-DO Rev. A: 245kbps

Wow. Sprint’s average EV-DO Rev. A download speed bested AT&T by a huge margin — 428kbps — and it nearly doubled Verizon’s showing amongst our readers. Upload speeds fell right between the two aforementioned carriers, besting AT&T’s pathetic 180kbps but falling well short of Verizon’s 322kbps. There was far less data where upload speeds are concerned however, as less than half of readers who provided valid data included upload speeds in their reports. Why? We have no idea.

As with each of the last two carriers whose 3G speeds we polled, we shaved the top and bottom five results, then 10, and took a look at the numbers once again:

  • Average download speed, top and bottom five results discarded: 1345kbps
  • Average download speed, top and bottom 10 results discarded: 1333kbps

Quite clearly, Sprint’s numbers were impressively consistent — shaving the top and bottom 10 still left us with a downlink average only 28kbps lower than the raw average.

Last but not least, our old school EV-DO Rev. 0-loving Sprinters:

  • Average download speed, EV-DO Rev. 0: 466kbps
  • Median download speed, EV-DO Rev. 0: 326kbps
  • Average upload speed, EV-DO Rev. 0: 97kbps
  • Median upload speed, EV-DO Rev. 0: 76kbps

So, Rev. 0 was quite a bit slower than Verizon’s Rev. 0 numbers so if you’re on Sprint with an older 3G handset, it might be time to think about upgrading and taking advantage of that blistering Rev. A speed showcased by our readers.

That wraps up this installment of the carrier comparison you love to hate and hate to love. How did Sprint do? Were you expecting big numbers from Old Yeller or did the results blow your mind? Let us know in the comments section and get ready for the next and final segment of Carrier Wars.

For those interested, here is the supporting data for Rev. A and here is Rev. 0.

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 carrier’s 3G network speeds and/or performance in general. These results merely provide the average 3G network speeds of the above carrier as experienced by those readers who perform speed tests and share their results. Stop whining.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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