T-Mobile, AT&T Win Top Honors In PC World Speed Test Report

T-Mobile and AT&T have taken top honors in PC World’s most recent 13-city study breaking down the speeds of the nation’s top four wireless carriers. The study involved “snapshot measurements of wireless service in 13 cities — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.”

T-Mobile’s HPSA+ 21 network took the crown on the 3G side, reaching average download speeds of 3.84Mbps across all test markets. AT&T’s HSPA+ network, categorized as 3G by PC World for this report came in a close second with average download speeds of 2.62Mbps, followed by Verizon’s 1.05Mbps and Sprint’s score of 0.59Mbps.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network delivered the fastest download speeds of 9.56Mbps when compared with Verizon’s LTE network score of 7.53Mbps, T-Mobile’s score of 5.54Mbps and Sprint’s WiMAX score of 2.81Mbps.

The PCWorld test used a HTC Amaze 4G and bested the competition for 3G scores in every city except Dallas and Chicago. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42 service was “extremely consistent” averaging between 3-5Mbps for downloads in all 13 cities PCWorld tested.

“Nearly 50 percent of our 4G data traffic is video streaming, and growing, which shows our customers have really embraced the T-Mobile 4G experience,” says Mark McDiarmid, T-Mobile’s vice president of engineering.

Overall, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42 network delivered a 13 city average download speed of 5.53Mbps versus 9.12Mbps for AT&T’s 4G LTE and 7.35Mbps on Verizon. T-Mobile blew away Sprint’s 4G WiMAX scores of 2.8Mbps average in all 13 cities.

T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 performed a little worse on the upload side of things, with a 13 city upload speed of 1.32Mbps, well below Verizon’s 5.86Mbps and AT&T’s 4.91Mbps.

The results of our tests suggest that T-Mobile isn’t just the “low-cost leader,” either; its data service rivals those of AT&T and Verizon. The fact is that many (though not all) consumers can save money with a T-Mobile plan–and get good data service, too.

“The big winner here is T-Mobile,” says Sanford Bernstein’s Moffett. “If you can get past the ‘4G versus faux-G’ hurdle, T-Mobile’s network offers very good value for the money.”

While T-Mobile might be overlooked, its “challenger strategy” with lower-prices, more flexible plans and a fast 3G and 4G HSPA+ 42 networks, show’s it’s consistently strong across the board. The PC World full report is below and it’s a great read, I’d suggest hitting up both links.

PC World Results, City-by-City

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  • Moneyman

    Its good that they have consistent speeds across the united states instead of just specific cities, this is definitely a positive outlook on t-mobile’s part. Sprint gives unlimited data, but their internet seems to be slower than every other national carrier. 

  • Rudy Belova

    Upload seems to be an issue. Out here in NC, i get around 1.5 Mb but in chicago, i can get 3Mb/s.

    • ItsAllboutME

      It’s not an issue at all, I never go to NC and rarely to Chicago.

      • Rudy Belova

         Good to know. I’ll be moving to NYC in a few months. I’m usually in the midwest or now NC.

  • terryjohnson16

    In NYC, their upload speeds are capped at near or less than 1.5Mbps.

    • Rudy Belova

       When they first launched 3g in chicago, it was around 1Mb/s, then when they launched HSPA+ (first phase) it increased to around 1.5 to 2Mb/s and towards the middle to end of last year i was getting 3.0Mb up. They seem to do it in phases. 2Mb/s is the most common in my travels.

      • terryjohnson16

        Everywhere I do a test at in NYC, I don’t see upload speeds higher than 1.5. I hit 2Mbps once.


    • Really? That’s terrible, I get 3 mbps up here in the LA County area.

  • Goukisan

    there arent enough people on ATT’s 4G LTE to really compare to Verizon yet. Lets see what happens over time as more users jump on it. Same thing happened to Verizon when 4G first started

  • terryjohnson16

    AT&T might have won for 4G LTE in some places because they don’t have that many LTE users, compared to Verizon. Also, AT&T LTE can’t compare to Verizon’s LTE coverage and network.

    • Rudy Belova

       At&t LTE speeds in chicago where laughable. I know its only 36Mb LTE but if they’re going to go around bragging about LTE and then give slower download speeds than t-mobiles “fake 4g”, it will come bite them in the ass. It has nice upload though. Not worth it at all.

      • Tward291

        fake 4g if you wanna be real no us carrier has the capability to do true 4g which is 100mbs down

        • Rudy Belova

           Oh i know. i posted that cause thats what everybody calls it, ignoring the fact you posted. It’s a bunch of crap either way. If i had my way, i would pick my carrier based on speed. not all 3g is equal. Try comparing t-mobile 3g (as they apparently included amaze 4g’s 42Mb in the 3g category) to sprint and its just not even fair or funny.

  • TimR

    I got 13.8 mbps down / 2 mbps up on T-Mobile HSPA+ in Naperville, IL – wowza fast!

    • Rudy Belova

       I lived in westmont and got around 18/2.5 out near 63rd and cass. Naperville seems to be a little slower than the neighboring suburbs. Still, coming from edge, I’ll take it!

  • in2android

    This is the msg I try to convey to ppl I know. So many just go to Verizon out Att and they really aren’t aware that Tmo is an amazing service for a fantastic price. I’ve been w/ Tmo almost 10 yrs now, and in the last couple of yrs as smart phones have increased in popularity, I’ve switched over roughly 5 or 6 ppl based on the service I get from Tmo, and the more than competitive pricing. I do very little out of state traveling, maybe twice a year, and in Canton, OH I get roughly 6-9mbps w/ my sensation, & 11-15 w/ my gs2. That’s as good as Verizon or attin my area.

    • Gouv

      tmo is nice but lets face it, its a bit spottier because the other guys have far reaching coverage in comparison to tmo.  Hopefully the refarm will help their cause in the regard…

      • Bklynman

        I know what you mean. I can standing on the street with my GS2,have no signal for data,then walk across the street then have strong connection,then walk to 2-5 feet away from there again no connection! It’s drive me nuts!

  • fixxmyhead

    no surprise there sprints crappy dial up 3g speeds and non existing 4g jokemaxx

  • MargaretNKinnley

    Upload seems to be an issue. Out here in NC, i get around 1.5 Mb but in chicago, i can get 3Mb/s.


  • Bleacherbums1

    This gives Tmobile customers / subscribers a lil to brag about. Very nice tmo !!!!

    Tmobile for 10 years and still going!!! Now when they upgrade there networks they can and should get high end smartphones.

    That means more high speeds coverage and more jobs for the US ….

  • Damien328

    I got 17down and 2up in Chicago, Illinois. Hell yeah T-mobile is DA BOMB!!!!

  • Love this article, yes finally someone see’s that T-Mobile is a true competitor to in the big 4.  T-Mobile is the only carrier to offer 4G device prepaid.  I have the Galaxy S II with 5GB at 4G speed and It’s really fast 48GB of memory….. talk about entertainment on the go ! plus the battery last all day so it’s a win win for me and T-Mobile :) I get from 5 to 10 MBps download and 3 to 5mbps in Cola, SC upload.

    • Phozfate

       4g prepaid? even this test classifies tmobiles 4g as really just a very good 3g

      • Yes but, these speeds are double of 3G and many times 4xs faster. A true 4G Network is 1gbps which no one has achieved. Google that!

  • Anthonynyc1a

    Yes t-mobile is pretty good in many ways!

  • Gouv

    Good to see this carrier finally coming across as legitimacy relevant instead of catering to welfare wireless…  from new marketing that seems good so far and now this!!  This is what these fools should have been doing all ALONG!!  too bad their coverage reach isn’t as vast, but i’ll consider these surprisingly positive changes as baby steps.

  • TMoFan

    T-Mobile is often maligned, but to deliver results like this at their rates is nothing to look down on. Personally I receive great service and I’m glad I don’t have to dish out a ton of cash for it.

  • haters on the rocks

    T-mobile needs a slip in the butt good jobs that include Carly lol

  • Jgarofola

    I just purchesed a lg double play today. I got a great deal from a co-worker who didn’t like the phone. At first I was a liltle skeptical it seemed a liltle sketchy. But the more I used it more I like about it. The multitasking is great. I can’t multitask like this on my brand new samsung blazers4Gs. Now I have 2 brand new phones that are payed for.

  • Jaygqitalia

    There are certain places where people with ATT and Verizon get service and I dont. One of those places is MSG in NYC. I was there twice this past weekend and I never get service in there. My friends do though. Stupid things like that dont really bother me though. I get service 95 percent of the time where I need it. My friend has sprint and is it AWFUL when it comes to speed.

    • Rudy Belova

       The places i get that, there usually is some type of wifi. Hop on the wifi and i can make calls fine.

  • Philyew

    Hmmm…nice and all, but didn’t TM use HSPA+ 21 as their first sortie into 4G? In which case, using it in the 3G group is a bit like including a middleweight in the lightweight class. 

    We know that none of them is a true 4G, but TM did market HSPA+ 21 as fake 4G. Here’s a quote from one of their press releases in November 2010: “Our 4G network is capable of theoretical speeds up to 21Mbps and we have seen average download speeds approaching five Mbps on our myTouch 4G phone in some cities with peak speeds of nearly 12 Mbps.” 

    • Rudy Belova

       Yeah, they tested my amaze 4g alongside sprint 3g. You would think pc world would know better.

  • Tmo Customer

    Tmobile service in Atwater CA is a joke.  Maybe instead of investing their money on big cities what about the little towns?  I posted earlier but I guess hit a little to close to home with Tmobile.

  • Edgy_Timeless

    Sprint’s WiMax was never a 4G network to begin with. It’s a secondary 3G connection for their network because their CDMA 3G fails and can not perform for shit. Now they are coming out with real 4G LTE, which I wonder how they were able to pull that off. Anyways in more important news, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 21&42mbps “4G” network really is fast, pulls great speeds & can really compete with LTE, especially if they roll out their 84mbps “4G” on their network. AT&T has always provided good 3G, HSPA+ and LTE speeds, so kooldos to T-Mo & ATT.

  • HSPA+ vs 3G

    LTE vs WiMax

    How’s that on a level playing field.

  • Now if they throw in some smart antennas along with the LTE re-farm efforts…

  • Youngwazts

    What happen to Verzion

    • Youngwazts

      I think verzion win at both 3G and 4G

      • Chris

         Verizon 3G is similar to Sprints…CDMA is slow. 

      • Jarrod

        I would have to say your crazy, the speeds in my area on 3G are .5mbps sometimes slower, and the LTE has slowed down from peaks of 40mbps to only peaks of ~25 most of the time only 20 and the average is is 10/15 also being slower on a more common bases. While T-Mobiles EDGE is half the speed or sometimes nearly on par with Verizon 3G and their 4G network delivering comparable speeds while having better coverage across my city at a lower price.

    • cellularcrazy09

      Verizon won in 4g category when At&t lte wasn’t present in the city they tested.

  • vedelorme

    great article! i really never get into the speed of my amazing sgs2….. BUT!!! after reading this article and seeing the summary of the at&t and verizon results for their LTE – i ran the speedtest.net app. my results averaged…………. drumroll……….. 11.05 on t-mo sgs2 …. not to shabby i would say… :-)

  • J Hodges

    Sorry but this is truly lame.  I’m a T-Mobile fan/customer but comparing our 3.5G (HSPA+) to Sprint’s 3G is not a fair comparison.  HSPA+ to WiMax would be more apt, especially since each company bills that as their respective 4G.  But what’s being compared here is apples to oranges and doesn’t help to substantiate Magenta’s strengths, namely value and customer service. 

    I know they’re trying to liven up their approach since value-themed marketing has grown stale.  But comparisons like this and evaluating T-Mobile’s HSPA+ phones to a 3G iPhone aren’t going to do anything for us when Verizon comes in for their annual beat down.  We can do better, Magenta. 

  • Mloudt

    this mite not have anything to do with this post but it kind of does lol! this is the reason why sprint will never throttle their unlimited data speeds even when they get lte soon! i have read multiple articles where the only advantage that keeps customers from choosing sprint over t-mobile is not just the i-phone but the unlimited data also. my point is sprint knows damn well that if they throttle data people will take off to t-mobile like that! sprint knows this and i’m sure they would rather raise the price on lte handsets like the do now on 4g devices as oppose to throttling data.

  • UglyPete

    On HSPA+21 i normall get 15mb/s…. how do they manage to get such slow speeds on HSPA+42???????????

  • Jgarofola

    Today I got 9.34 mhp on my NEW LG DOUBLE PLAYS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jgarofola

      With my new double. Play. Getting. 9.34 today. And its only a midrange device sprint’s. Premeium devices are getting about 3.5 to mybe 5 this is why I am stying with T-MOBILE I been. With t mobile sense 2009 I was a sprint customer. For 7 yrs never going back

  • DetroitTechnoFan

    On T-mo’s HSPA+ 14.4, I’ve gotten up to 10.4 mbps… There’s a reason I stay!

  • DetroitTechnoFan

    On T-mo’s HSPA+ 14.4, I’ve gotten up to 10.4 mbps… There’s a reason I stay!

  • Chip Chipperson

    You tmo fans are cute. Getting excited about getting 10Mbps 4G. With Verizon 4G I always get speeds over 25Mbps and I’ve peaked at 60Mbps.

    • James

      T-mobile is fast and affordable, like a decent car, But it’s no Ferrarri. You get faster speeds in peak areas with At&t and VZ, but you pay for that too. If t-mobile raised their prices, they’d be ruined. Price and value for a decent service is what I believe keeps the majority of their customers.
      However, if we look at the mass amounts of people leaving t-mobile for other carriers we see that value isn’t always enough.

    • v

      what can you do with the 25 Mbps speed on a verizon n/w that you cannot on a tmobile n/w at 10 mbps ( assuming the speeds are real, in YOUR area and the costs are the same- all of which are unlikely) ?

    • Ace

      While your sucking on your thumb and cradling your phone with proud for its 4g speeds, TMO is installing Next Gen LTE with as we speak, graduating to the next top USA speeds using AT&T merger penalty expense and spectrum. TMO isn’t far from hitting the switch for HSPA Triple Plus, 84+ Mbps. Is that like 4G? What happens when TMO has both LTE and HSPA on its network? 

      TMO is digging in deep, dissing the Apple product, and ramping up for JDP for Customer Care and 4G network #1 awards. Deutsche Telekom, the parent company invested the highest amount of cash in TMO history for ads campaign and make over face the tmo face, Carly. ads statement, TMO is no longer playing around, its serious competition. Just wait on the next batch of android devices to stomp the iphone in the ground. average consumers and tech gen will see the value then.

    • While your baragging about peak speeds, Verizon cant provide there 4G Network to there customers for free like T-Mobile can. Nor can the upgrade there lte like T-Mobile gone be able too. My last statement no network yet has achieved true 4G speeds 1gbps.

  • JR69

    On t-mobile HSPA 42 I got 7.87 Down and 1.05 up. This isn’t an average, only one test I tried. Not bad for a much cheaper price than ATT or Verizon LTE. No talking about coverage map.

  • JR69

    On t-mobile HSPA 42 I got 7.87 Down and 1.05 up. This isn’t an average, only one test I tried. Not bad for a much cheaper price than ATT or Verizon LTE. No talking about coverage map.

  • JR69

    On t-mobile HSPA 42 I got 7.87 Down and 1.05 up. This isn’t an average, only one test I tried. Not bad for a much cheaper price than ATT or Verizon LTE. No talking about coverage map.

  • JR69

    On t-mobile HSPA 42 I got 7.87 Down and 1.05 up. This isn’t an average, only one test I tried. Not bad for a much cheaper price than ATT or Verizon LTE. No talking about coverage map.

  • JR69

    On t-mobile HSPA 42 I got 7.87 Down and 1.05 up. This isn’t an average, only one test I tried. Not bad for a much cheaper price than ATT or Verizon LTE. No talking about coverage map.

  • MatthewMurawski

    In New York City on monthly4G on HSPA+ 42 Mbps for T-Mobile I’m averaging 15 down and 1.5 – 2 up