PCMag: AT&T Wins Mobile Network Speed Crown

HOTSPOT, USA—PCMag has conducted a nationwide test to discover the fastest mobile networks, and the results are a big win for AT&T, which took four out of the five top hot spots.

The assessment is a snapshot in time, of course, the results of which will not hold for long, but PCMag figured it would be a good idea to get a lay of the land, so to speak, before the widespread implementation of the new 4G networks, which has already begun. In fact, Sprint’s fledgling 4G network was included in the test, but AT&T still won handily.

“In testing 3G and 4G across the continental USA, we wanted to do things differently from the competition, with more cities and more control—blanketing as many places as we could with tests of our own design,” wrote Sascha Segan. “We didn't test voice quality, dropped calls, or coverage areas; while those are very important measurements, these tests were all about mobile Internet.”

They ran about 1,000 rounds of tests that totaled more than 10,000 individual tests in 20 cities. Las Vegas and Philadelphia were tossed due to technical problems, but Segan said, “Overall our testing produced consistent, repeatable results.”

While the test focused on speed, other carriers trounced AT&T with respect to consistency. The competition was broken out by sectors of the country. AT&T was the fastest in every one but the Northeast, where T-Mobile had just T-Mobile rolled out their new HSPA+ technology.

But in the Southeast, Central and Western parts of the country, AT&T beat out the competition, despite its higher dropout rates.

The results, configured as charts, are available here.