AT&T Has the Fastest LTE Network, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ ‘Faster’ than Sprint’s LTE

June 18, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Many groups do tests on the speeds of different networks each year. This time it’s PCMag doing the driving around the country to test out the wireless carrier networks in 30 different states. The tests are always pretty impressive, and quite helpful for those who might be unhappy with their current service and looking to switch to another provider. The big winner this year was AT&T. Which we had heard before that they had the fastest LTE network. But there is a surprise in store.

The basic results are if you’re looking for speed and you live in or around an urban area, then AT&T is the one to use. But if you’re in a rural area, Verizon is the one to use.

The surprising part here is that T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network threw up faster average download speeds than even Sprint’s LTE network. But the equalizer here is that T-Mobile’s “average time to first byte” is about 3x slower than any other network. So what does that mean? Well once your download gets going, T-Mobile offers great speeds, but it will likely take a while to get that download going. T-Mobile’s LTE network gets rid of that delay, but it’s too small to really make much of a difference in the tests.

PCMag shows the results for their tests, which you can check out on their site. But AT&T’s LTE network maxed out at 58.25Mbps and the only other network that came close was Verizon’s at 53.38. Of course they tested Sprint’s and Verizon’s 3G CDMA networks, but those will always be slower than AT&T and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks based on the technology.

How many of you are enjoying AT&T’s 4G LTE speeds? Too bad they aren’t unlimited, right? Let us know how satisfied you are with your carriers data speeds in the comments below.