AT&T Mobility 20-60% faster than competitors in independent U.S. mobile broadband speed testing

Cyber Monday 25% Off The nation’s fastest mobile broadband network is getting even faster and delivering strong voice performance, according to comprehensive third-party national drive testing.

AT&T has invested nearly $6 billion in wireless-related initiatives over the first three quarters of 2010, a 55 percent increase over the first three quarters of 2009. These efforts are resulting in national average mobile broadband speeds that are substantially faster than the competition, with the nearest competitor running 20 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally, and our largest competitor by subscriber count running 60 percent slower than AT&T on average nationally.

These are the findings from the latest comprehensive, scientifically valid national drive testing conducted by industry expert testing firm Global Wireless Solutions Inc. (GWS). GWS compiles wireless network performance results covering more than 950,000 road miles in more than 400 U.S. markets representing about 88 percent of the U.S. population, making it one of the most comprehensive and thorough studies of U.S. mobile network performance.

Data has quickly emerged as a primary mode of mobile communication, as more and more Americans view video, upload pictures, send e-mail and surf the Internet from their wireless devices. And as people use more mobile broadband, a 20 percent difference in speed can make a real difference in getting things done. For example: based on national average speeds, AT&T customers could download an MP3 album (40 megabytes) more than a minute faster with AT&T than the next-fastest wireless network. An 80-megabyte video file would download about 2 minutes faster on average with AT&T as opposed to the next-fastest network. The same video file would take more than 5 minutes longer to download on average with AT&T’s largest competitor’s network.

“Data is now the preferred form of mobile communication, and faster mobile broadband speeds make virtually every app more enjoyable and efficient for the user,” said Iain Gillott, president of wireless industry analyst firm iGR, in the press release. “As the market continues to develop, wide availability of fast mobile broadband will be increasingly important to mobile subscribers, both consumer and business users alike.”

The GWS drive tests also revealed that 98.59 percent of voice calls connected over the AT&T network nationwide are completed without interruption. That’s a difference of about one-tenth of one percentage point, or one call in 1,000, from the only higher score in the industry.

Assuming a positive regulatory environment, AT&T plans to invest between $18 billion and $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in 2010, including a $2 billion increase in wireless-related network investment over 2009 levels. AT&T is investing to enhance the speed and coverage of its mobile broadband network through the addition of hundreds of new cell sites; additional layers of wireless capacity in markets across the country; and deployment of HSPA 7.2 and HSPA+ software and fiber-optic backhaul connections to support even faster mobile broadband speeds.

“We’re very pleased with the nationwide results of GWS drive testing, which demonstrate that we’re delivering a superior mobile broadband experience on a nationwide basis,” said John Donovan, AT&T’s chief technology officer, in the press release. “Our top priority for the weeks and months to come is to continue our focus on network enhancements and improvements to ensure continued access to fast mobile broadband speeds and reliable voice service.”

AT&T has focused on delivering the best overall mobile broadband experience for our customers, building a powerful network and leading the industry in multiple technologies that enhance the mobile experience, including:

• The nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, with more than 23,000 Hot Spots in all 50 states. Qualifying AT&T smartphone customers can access virtually all of these hotspots automatically. AT&T Wi-Fi connections continue to skyrocket, with 106.9 million connections on AT&T’s U.S. Wi-Fi network in the third quarter, exceeding the total of 85.5 million connections made during the entire year in 2009.
• Pilots of Wi-Fi hot zones to cover high-traffic areas in major cities to provide another powerful option for broadband on the go.
• Thousands of distributed antenna networks that enhance coverage and capacity in large buildings, campuses and public areas where people tend to congregate, like stadiums and convention centers. Such systems can increase capacity in their coverage areas by more than 1,000 percent.
• AT&T Microcell, which can enhance in-home coverage for customers.

Source: AT&T Inc.

26 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed that ATT is faster than Verizon from a data perspective, but their phone service is much worse than Verizon. Of course there are pockets of geography that may differ, but in all, I think most people can attest to this.

    With that being said, do I wait for a Verizon iPhone (which may never come out) or just go with the iPhone 4 via ATT now?

    MDN Take: Weeks. As in, you’ll be buying an iPhone within weeks depending on the responses from the MDN crowd

  2. I recently got Root Metrics app on my iphone. They also have a web site. I live in Los Angeles and have found the ATT coverage to be accurately shown. When you compare it to Verizon and Sprint there is no contest. ATT has a long way to go to give customers equivalent or better voice service.

    If thing don’t improve, I will have to switch when I have other iphone carrier choices. ATT isn’t a charity.

  3. I’m fine with ATT’s service on my iPhone4.

    My phone coverage in the NYC area is ok. Phone in San Francisco is ok, too. Data service in both locations has improved dramatically. My coverage in Europe (data) is very good.

    My experience with Verizon in New Jersey (town of Princeton) was dismal. Spent the better part of six months there a few years back. That experience pushed me into the ATT/iPhone camp when the 3G came out.

    Things change. We’ll see how service and, more importantly, pricing structures, evolve.

  4. This is NO news!

    There have been 2 INDEPENDENT studies, that have been in the news over the past 1-2 years that confirms just this. People are just as surprised every time but seem to forget about it after a week and goes back to their normal distorted picture of reality and continues to complain about ATT.

    One of these studies was done buy a company consisting of experts that had worked at bug telecom firms in the US. I don’t remember the name of the company but I’m sure some obe can dig it up. Although this news was NOT widely publicised fir some reason. Another study was don’t by engadget, or maybe it was gizmodo or PC Worls where they did a real BIG study driving around in allot of different towns measuring speeds etc. This wasn’t some half ass study either. ALLOT of work was put in it. But the first study I was referring to was done by experts with PRO equipment.

    As I said abow. Everyone always get so surprised by these studies. But it never sticks. Verizon may or may not have less dropped calls but ATT really HAS the faster data network. Faster than Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and more.

    If I find a link to the article I will post it and referring to this post.

  5. What folks have to bear in mind is that problems there may have been (like in Princeton NJ a few years ago) in the past, may very well have been addressed, upgraded, and improved. I know in my mother’s town, the service with any cell provider was crap even two years ago, but over the past 18 months, my iPhone 3 and 4 have worked better and better there.

    That being said, I have had more and more dropped calls recently at home… not much when the iPhone 4 first arrived, but more now.

    I do believe that AT&T has been working to improve things, and I think with LTE/4G things will get even better.

  6. I use both, travel in my job and Verizon kicks AT&T’s ass for coverage area (3G), reliability & speed.
    I distinctly remember having to boot up my MacBook in the driver’s seat on Verizon on I40 that had turned into a parking lot by a massive accident in order to contact my soon to be missed appointment. My iPhone had no voice or data service and was simply overwhelmed by traffic.
    People were getting out of their cars in the full stop & park traffic and Verizon phone owners were lending them to AT& T phone owners in order to make calls.
    This wasn’t out in the sticks-it was right on a major interstate in a built up area. It’s not the only time I have heard of a total collapse of AT&T’s network under stress.

  7. I use both, travel in my job and Verizon kicks AT&T’s ass for coverage area (3G), reliability & speed.
    I distinctly remember having to boot up my MacBook in the driver’s seat on Verizon on I40 that had turned into a parking lot by a massive accident in order to contact my soon to be missed appointment. My iPhone had no voice or data service and was simply overwhelmed by traffic.
    People were getting out of their cars in the full stop & park traffic and Verizon phone owners were lending them to AT& T phone owners in order to make calls.
    This wasn’t out in the sticks-it was right on a major interstate in a built up area. It’s not the only time I have heard of a total collapse of AT&T’s network under stress.

  8. I use both, travel in my job and Verizon kicks AT&T’s ass for coverage area (3G), reliability & speed.
    I distinctly remember having to boot up my MacBook in the driver’s seat on Verizon on I40 that had turned into a parking lot by a massive accident in order to contact my soon to be missed appointment. My iPhone had no voice or data service and was simply overwhelmed by traffic.
    People were getting out of their cars in the full stop & park traffic and Verizon phone owners were lending them to AT& T phone owners in order to make calls.
    This wasn’t out in the sticks-it was right on a major interstate in a built up area. It’s not the only time I have heard of a total collapse of AT&T’s network under stress.

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