SwayMarkets, a startup based out of Boston,
recently released CarrierCompare - an app that allows iPhone
users to see their network's speed and response time compared to
other networks in the area.
According to an article by CNNMoney entitled Which iPhone Carrier Is
the Best in Your City? SwayMarkets was able to generate data
from CarrierCompare users in the following cities: Boston, New
York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The data
they generated showed the following results:
AT&T has the fastest, overall, 3G speeds. Verizon comes in
second. And as we've seen before, Sprint is in last place (except in New
York City). But the results aren't cut and dry. Many factors come
For example, according to SwayMarket's research, while AT&T
has the best speed overall, its user experience is very
inconsistent. The speeds its iPhone users receive vary greatly
depending on the time of day and how congested the network is.
During the afternoon hours, download speeds are unpredictable as
some users have excellent speed, while others experience only
Verizon's speeds are second fastest in all cities tested, except
New York, where it falls behind Sprint. With that said, Verizon
offers a more consistent experience for its users than AT&T. It
also has a quicker network response time, whereby pages load faster
than other networks once a link is clicked. Also good to note,
Verizon has the best signal strength (showing more bars on the
iPhone), which implies that the carrier has more towers in those
cities than its competitors. What it lacks in overall data speeds
Verizon makes up for in consistency and overall voice clarity.
Sprint, whose speeds come in last, except in New York City,
surprisingly offers the most consistent experience for
customers. The speeds it offers, though slower, rarely deviate more
than 25% from the median. In other words, we might say that Sprint
is consistently slow. Its signal strength, however, is comparable
to that of Verizon's, in four out of six cities analyzed, which is
What this research shows us is that there is no simple answer
for choosing a carrier for your current or future iPhone. Overall,
AT&T will offer the best speeds, but not consistently, so it's
As for Verizon, it is the overall top performer, based
on SwayMarket's analytics. The carrier is best at connecting its
users to its network, and responding to requests.
Though Sprint comes in last, once its Network Vision Project is in full swing, it
could change drastically.
So, what if you don't own an iPhone? CarrierCompare is creating
a version for Android, which will include results for T-Mobile as
well, which currently doesn't offer the iPhone.
(source of graph: SwayMarkets)