Well, at least one company is bucking the let’s-bash-AT&T Inc.’s-3G-performance trend, sharing the results of comparison testing in seven major markets. And guess what? Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO loses out to AT&T’s HSPA network, most significantly in download speeds and signal strength, according to Root Wireless.
In fact, this company’s results show AT&T has the fastest and strongest 3G network in those markets. Throughput was 246kbps on the more congested low end (in New York, where even the dogs have iPhones), and 428kbps on the high end (in Dallas, deep in the heart of AT&T’s home state).
And that’s enough to win the 3G wars in this test. Well, in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., anyway. “AT&T has a much more stable higher-speed average than Verizon,” Root Wireless CTO Ron Dicklin said, in an interview with Telephony. “In general you’re going to get a much more balanced experience with AT&T than you would with Verizon in areas where they both have 3G.”
The data rates also point out the fact that customers just might have overblown expectations as to how fast 3G really is: Clearly this is not what you would call blazing speeds compared to most home broadband connections or Wi-Fi, though it’s much better than dial-up. The FCC considers broadband to have the definition of 768kbps throughput or higher, as a point of context.
While the good news for AT&T is interesting, the poor news for its rivals is perhaps even more so. Root Wireless found that Verizon’s speeds ranged from 195kbps in Seattle to 259kbps in Chicago – barely reaching the FCC’s olddefinition of broadband as 256kbps. This is not such great news for Droid and BlackBerry Storm fans.
It might be speedy-ish, but AT&T’s not out of the woods when it comes to its perceived 3G problems. It still has to deal with Verizon’s pounding in the fact that AT&T’s 3G coverage is confined to major metropolitan/suburban areas, for the most part. And it continues to suffer from plummeting customer satisfaction rankings for voice quality and customer service (according to a Consumer Reports study).