iPhone 4S 3G Speed Test: AT&T Vs. Sprint Vs. Verizon

BY Jason

Published 15 Oct 2011

iPhone 4S

For the first time, users have the option to choose from three wireless carriers – AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

We had taken you through the pros and cons of each wireless carrier based on a number of parameters such as pricing, network reliability, speed, ability to surf while you talk etc to help you decide, which one is a better network.

So now that Apple’s new iPhone 4S has been available for more than 24 hours since its official launch day, it is a good time to have a look at how these carriers perform when it comes to speed.

iLounge has just completed its initial 3G cellular data speed comparisons of the iPhone 4S across all of the available U.S. carriers. They report:

As seen in the graphic below, the data speeds seen on AT&T’s HSPA network—between 2.41Mbps and 2.99Mbps down, 0.68-0.81Mbps up at our Buffalo, NY test location—far outpace those seen on either Verizon’s or Sprint’s EV-DO networks in the same area. Between the two CDMA carriers, Verizon fared better save for one outlier, with download speeds ranging from 0.55-0.69Mbps down and 0.04-0.26Mbps up, compared to 0.33-0.58Mbps down and 0.11-0.22Mbps up for Sprint.

iLounge goes on to conclude:

As was the case when the CDMA iPhone 4 was released, it appears that AT&T has a significant edge in 3G cellular data speeds relative to its rivals. LTE networks and LTE-supporting iPhones will most likely be necessary to let Verizon and Sprint bridge the current performance gap.

Unfortunately, it is nowhere close to the data speeds of 14.4Mbps that iPhone 4S can support.

Folks at iDownload blog have also posted a video of the head-to-head 3G cellular data speed comparisons of the iPhone 4S across all of three networks:

They concluded:

The results speak for themselves. Sprint is by far the slowest of the three networks, with AT&T and Verizon having similar speed results with web browsing.

As you can see, the reports posted by iLounge and iDownloadblog didn’t come to the same conclusion, except for the part where they both found that Sprint was the slowest amongst the three networks. As we had mentioned earlier, the choice of carrier for your iPhone 4S depends on your priorities:

  • If you care about speed the most, AT&T is your best choice.
  • If you care about simultaneous talking and web surfing, AT&T is your best choice as well
  • If you’re very price-conscious, Sprint is the way to go.
  • If you care about unlimited data, Sprint is the only one that offers a new plan.
  • If your concern is network reliability, you need to test the different networks in the areas you visit most.
  • If you travel a lot and want constant 3G access, Verizon is your best bet.

Let us know what 3G speeds you are getting on your iPhone 4S. You can find out using apps like SpeedTest.net’s iPhone app [App Store link].

[via iLounge, iDownload Blog]