iPhone 4S 3G Speed Test: AT&T Vs. Sprint Vs. Verizon

iPhone 4S

For the first time, users have the option to choose from three wireless carriers – AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

We had taken you through the pros and cons of each wireless carrier based on a number of parameters such as pricing, network reliability, speed, ability to surf while you talk etc to help you decide, which one is a better network.

So now that Apple’s new iPhone 4S has been available for more than 24 hours since its official launch day, it is a good time to have a look at how these carriers perform when it comes to speed.

iLounge has just completed its initial 3G cellular data speed comparisons of the iPhone 4S across all of the available U.S. carriers. They report:

As seen in the graphic below, the data speeds seen on AT&T’s HSPA network—between 2.41Mbps and 2.99Mbps down, 0.68-0.81Mbps up at our Buffalo, NY test location—far outpace those seen on either Verizon’s or Sprint’s EV-DO networks in the same area. Between the two CDMA carriers, Verizon fared better save for one outlier, with download speeds ranging from 0.55-0.69Mbps down and 0.04-0.26Mbps up, compared to 0.33-0.58Mbps down and 0.11-0.22Mbps up for Sprint.

iLounge goes on to conclude:

As was the case when the CDMA iPhone 4 was released, it appears that AT&T has a significant edge in 3G cellular data speeds relative to its rivals. LTE networks and LTE-supporting iPhones will most likely be necessary to let Verizon and Sprint bridge the current performance gap.

Unfortunately, it is nowhere close to the data speeds of 14.4Mbps that iPhone 4S can support.

Folks at iDownload blog have also posted a video of the head-to-head 3G cellular data speed comparisons of the iPhone 4S across all of three networks:

They concluded:

The results speak for themselves. Sprint is by far the slowest of the three networks, with AT&T and Verizon having similar speed results with web browsing.

As you can see, the reports posted by iLounge and iDownloadblog didn’t come to the same conclusion, except for the part where they both found that Sprint was the slowest amongst the three networks. As we had mentioned earlier, the choice of carrier for your iPhone 4S depends on your priorities:

  • If you care about speed the most, AT&T is your best choice.
  • If you care about simultaneous talking and web surfing, AT&T is your best choice as well
  • If you’re very price-conscious, Sprint is the way to go.
  • If you care about unlimited data, Sprint is the only one that offers a new plan.
  • If your concern is network reliability, you need to test the different networks in the areas you visit most.
  • If you travel a lot and want constant 3G access, Verizon is your best bet.

Let us know what 3G speeds you are getting on your iPhone 4S. You can find out using apps like SpeedTest.net’s iPhone app [App Store link].

[via iLounge, iDownload Blog]

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  • haha


  • Nick

    FIRST ……att ROCKS Nuff said

    • Mac

      WTF r AT&T sprint and version r they carriers in the US or what?

  • RelicS13

    Definately AT&T, verizon and sprint blow dog balls

  • fas

    ATT is GSM others are CDMA, what is the comparo?

    • Matt

      I think the “comparo” is how fast the phone can view web pages, pull up videos, and download. I, personally, never travel outside of the US so I really don’t care about what kind of network it is. I just want it to work fast.

  • Hendog

    Had the iPhone 4 from AT&T, then switched to Verizon(iPhone 4 again). At&t was faster with web browsing and download speeds as long as you could get 3G access, which was rare as soon as you walked in a door. I couldn’t even make calls from my apartment because of lost signal. Switched to Verizon, out in the middle of town it’s a tad slower, but in my apartment, full 3G bars. Verizon is really the way to go around Hampton/Norfolk, VA. AT&T can suck me off, sideways…..

    • RelicS13

      well if your in pigtown i dont think AT&T much cares for you

  • Juan

    6.66 down on my AT&T 4s.

  • Gobo

    Phew. Thank goodness I got Verizon. I almost decided to change last second to Sprint as the unlimited data was just too darn good sounding when I went into the store and bought mine today. Thanks for the report. I feel better now that I dodged a bullet.

  • good thing I stuck with att..

  • Carlos

    I think speed depends where you are located i have verizon and i downloaded speedtest and the download speen in 3g was 1.50 mps and upload speed was .50 and im from South Texas

  • John

    Potomac MD
    5.13 Down
    1.72 Up

  • Nigel Tufnel

    Verizon 4S in Tucson, AZ (4 Speedtest runs in 2 locations averaged):

    179ms ping
    1.48 Mbps down
    0.68 Mbps up

    I was coming from AT&T and my experience with them is very similar to what is shown in the video. They technically have the fastest speeds, hands down, however their 3G coverage is spotty and when browsing at least, pages frequently just halt loading for a while (just as shown in the video). I think for big, constant downloads where you’re just streaming a lot of data (like videos) AT&T is better, but for many small requests (like web surfing), Verizon is better. Pretty happy with 4S on Verizon so far, coverage, signal strength, and voice quality + reliability are excellent, data speeds are not amazing, but seem fine with web surfing. I’ll have to try Netflix later to see if it chokes.

  • mkimid

    Actually, this kind of test is useless mostly, Because of when I test at my room, Verizon is much better, but, if I go to backyard, ATT is much better. At my office, Verizon is better, but, when I drive, ATT is better ~ what is the point of this kind test ?

  • Harry

    Location, location, location. I get 3G everywhere I go within a 50 mile radius of my house. AT&T.

  • Duke

    On the outskirts of Atlanta, GA
    3.8 Down
    1.2 Up

  • Doxi

    Hi, has anyone with an iPhone 4 (not 4S) noticed it being any slower since downloading iOS 5? Mine seems to be taking forever to load web pages… I’m with AT&T… I don’t remember it being this show before.

    • Doxi

      Oops… *slow

    • Bob Lawrence

      If anything I have noticed faster speeds on my iPhone 4 since updating to ios 5. Not only data speeds but speed in general. App load times are much shorter and general app performance is enhanced.

  • MC

    Crazy as this sounds, my iPhone 3g running ios 4.2.1 is getting 1.3 down and .1 up. That’s not too bad for a 3 year old iPhone. Still waiting for my 4s to show up:(, I’m on an unlimited plan and didn’t trust that I wouldn’t lose it if I purchased online. I heard some peeps had trouble ordering from apple and keeping their unlimited plan.

    • G Funk Money

      I preordered mine from AT&T and got to keep the unlimited data.

  • RantBot

    C’mon now, this is a juvenile test.
    1) In the radius of X miles of the test AT THE TIME OF THE TEST there are: 100 Sprint, 10 At&t and 5 Verizon ACTIVE users. Which network is getting the heaviest load AT THAT MOMENT? The lighter the load == faster download speed.

    2) At the LOCATION of the test how far away is the cell tower for each service? What kind of tower is it? How much is each towers’ signal obstructed at the LOCATION of the test AT THAT MOMENT? Closest and better tower == faster download speed. (# bars can mean many different things btw)

    3) You are hitting a website so by definition you are dealing with hops (http://www.techopedia.com/definition/2411/hop) and each time the number of hops can be different on ANY carrier. That’s just how the darn internet works. How many avg. hops for each carrier AT THAT MOMENT? Less hops == faster download speed.

    All of the variables above will differ depending on LOCATION and TIME of the test for any given user.

    Run this test about 10 000 times and than maybe, MAYBE you can begin to make that judgement call. Ok, end of rant.

  • Iphone4satt

    I have at&t and just did a speed test on the 3G network
    The “4G like” speeds announced is true
    Here’s a pic:

  • Chris

    I have noticed that in certain areas Verizon could be faster than AT&T and vise versa.. I have had AT&T all my cell phone life and people that I talked to that have a iPhone and Verizon says its slow and even when I tel them to pull up a video on their phone or listening to a music site it seems to buffer quite slowly like the video showed… For me it looks like on a Web browsing experience Verizon is faster but for doing anything media based AT&T may have “loaded” slower but once it was started it was smoothing sailing

  • welbo

    ATT speed is usually better, when 3G. But I’m sick of GSM poor sound quality. What would be ideal for me… Sprint CDMA voice, with a ATT microsim just for data. I wonder if that is possible on the 4s?

  • QuitProQuo

    You peeps with AT&T are suffering. They suck 24X7 and Verizon will always be the best option. Billions pumped into the network with great reliability. If your a Sprint customer …..well your credit score is most likely under 600 and thats really where you need to be.

  • bob

    It always depends on location and saturation when it comes to the 3G service.
    The hspa+ being only available on AT&T just gives them a better edge for in-city (and not all cities) service.
    One things for sure, i’d rather have hspa+ ..
    I have friends in different parts of town and in different cities, some with AT&T, some with verizon. I hear an equal amount of griping from both sides, its hit or miss.
    Just get the one that fits your locale behavior best, listen to your friends in that area.

  • G Funk

    my fastest ever speed on my 4S was 4.50 down on AT&T. Much faster than my 3GS.

  • Emilio

    Test Date: Oct 28, 2011 1:16 AM
    Connection Type: Sprint
    Server: Phoenix, AZ
    Download: 0.49 Mbps
    Upload: 0.02 Mbps
    Ping: 216 ms

  • Andy

    I have the AT&T iPhone 4 and get 6.4 down and 1.8-2.0 up in new jersey central area

  • Thomas

    5.41 down on LIME Caribbean mobile network..

  • bobguy

    AT&T will always be better and remember “only at&t’s network lets you surf up to 3x faster on your iphone 4s”

  • Joe

    Anyone notice the 57 test for AT&T vs the 5 for the others.

  • Att facts

    I have had att since the 3g iphone came out, upgrading each phone release, and since about 6 months ago on, att data service totally sucks all around. And even tho i am grandfathered with unlimited data, i do not use enough to be throttled. It is faster to surf on edge than 3g, i even restored it, and updated it, and still sux. Also, att voice coverage is a joke. Always has been. Drops all the time, and im very sick of people telling me i am breaking up and having to say, can u hear me now?