Verizon Wireless vs. AT&T Mobility: Who has the superior wireless network?

“The wireless wars are heating up, so it’s no wonder the claims of network superiority are flying out fast and furiously,” Roger Cheng reports for CNET. “The latest touch point comes from a study just released from wireless testing firm Root Metrics, which compiled its results after extensive testing in 125 markets during the second half of 2013.”

“Depending on whom you ask, AT&T and Verizon Wireless both had something to brag about,” Cheng reports. “AT&T touted that its overall performance topped more markets than its rivals, while Verizon insists that the results show it is the most reliable network.”

“AT&T has traditionally claimed the speed crown, while Verizon has been the most reliable. But things are shifting as AT&T improves its reliability.
So who’s right? Well, to an extent, all of them, according to Root Metrics CEO Bill Moore,” Cheng reports. “Out of the 125 markets, AT&T had the best combined performance, which includes speed and reliability and factors phone calls, data, and text messages, either tying or topping its competitors in 90 markets. Verizon Wireless only tied or topped 65 markets. But over the last year, Root Metrics introduced a measure called the reliability index, in which Verizon won or tied in an overwhelming 102 markets, vs. 68 from AT&T.”

Read more in the full article here.

23 Comments

  1. AT&T serves me best where I live in CA. The fallback “4G” network is much faster than Verizon 3G. Lastly AT&T allows me data use on my phone while on a call. This rarely is useful, but I have used this feature.

  2. The answer is what is best in “your” area.

    Here… AT&T’s “4g” is as fast as Verizon’s LTE. Now that I have AT&T LTE, It’s as fast as my concast cable. Took AT&T long enough though.

    My niece went to school in NJ, AT&T sucks there.

    There is no blanket answer.

  3. It’s really subjective.

    ATT works for me where I live (New York metro area) and where I frequently travel (LA, SF). I spend a fair amount of time in Europe (London, Rome). Their international service and data plans (through partners) is no longer the nightmarish experience it once was.

      1. While technically correct, it is still a limitation of the Verizon voice and data networks that impose extra work on phone makers, such as including extra sets of antennas/radios.

          1. AT&T does not require extra antennas/radios to handle simultaneous voice/data where Verizon does. You’ll want to read some articles on the technical requirements as this is an oversimplification.

    1. If you use a VoIP app you can do data and voice simultaneously because it is all going over the data network.

      I use TruPhone as a backup and it has paid dividends. On December 2, 2013 I was rear ended at the intersection of 2 US highways in a rural area where AT&T claims a high quality signal and I got almost nothing. Turned on the TruPhone app on my iPad over Verizon and made my emergency calls with no problem.

      The AT&T signal was so poor that if I turned my head the call would drop. This at an intersection of 2 US highways and less than a mile from an Interstate on the outskirts of a small town. Thanks AT&T for nothing.

  4. It doesn’t matter.

    What matters is, which iPhone user is getting the best experience.

    iPhone leveled the playing field, giving customers from competing carriers to compare features & benefits.

    It isn’t about the carriers anymore. It’s about the user experience.

  5. I switched to AT&T for the first iPhone while the rest of the family stayed on Verizon until gradually moving to iPhones. AT&T is well known for no-bars-in-more-places but when you get a good signal the speed is great. Otherwise, Verizon has better overall coverage.

    The biggest things keeping me from switching back to Verizon are the continued lack of simultaneous voice/data and the superior AT&T customer service. The thought of dealing once again with Verizon billing snafus and poor overall treatment makes me cringe.

    1. I’ve been with AT&T since 2007. No dropped calls on any iteration of iPhone, fast connection speeds, and the one and ONLY time I had a problem was at midnight on a Saturday. Got a “person with a pulse” on the 3rd ring. She talked me thru the problem in less than 5 minutes. Match THAT for customer service VERIZON & SPRINT!!!!

  6. I have a 5 on AT&T and a 5S on Verizon (work phone). AT&T blows Verizon out of the water. Lately I have been switching from wifi to LTE becuase it is so much faster.
    In San Diego.

  7. I own 4G LTE Hotspots from both AT&T and Verizon. I also travel in my work and the hotspots are used to feed data to my iPad as well as an occasional backup to my landline internet.

    AT&T’s coverage seems much better and faster in most places, but Verizon’s data reliability seems better despite the smaller footprint.

    In some areas AT&T offers HSPA+ as a non LTE “4G” which can be as fast as Verizon’s LTE. Credit that to Verizon throttling or network congestion, but an LTE network should be able to run away and hide from a HSPA+ Network.

    Test at my house on my iPad using the OOKLA Speedtest.

    AT&T LTE Ping 84ms D/L 22.12 Mbps U/L 11.19 Mbps
    Verizon LTE Ping 59ms D/L 18.7 Mbps U/L 0.99 Mbps

    The numbers change from location to location, but AT&T regularly beats Verizon. Is it technology or cheapskate capping by Verizon?

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