12-09-09 09:54 PM
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  1. Chaldo's Avatar
    Exclusive: Testing shows AT&T 3G network outperforming VZW

    Dec 4, 2009 5:28 PM, By Kevin Fitchard

    AT&Tís mobile data network problems compared to Verizonís are mainly problems of perception, according to independent testing firm Root Wireless. On most critical performance metrics, AT&Tís 3G networks comes out on top, they say
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    AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wirelessí (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) legal battle may be over, but the war over their respective network coverage rages with the two companies attacking each otherís 3G coverage, speed and capabilities. But an independent examination of the real performance of the two providersí 3G networks shows that while Verizonís map may lack the huge gaps of AT&Tís, its claims of a superior mobile data network may be overblown.

    Root Wireless, a start-up network performance monitoring company, mapped out the network conditions of AT&T and VZWís network in 7 major markets where both operators offer 3G services and found that AT&Tís high-speed packet access network (HSPA) consistently beat VZWís EV-DO network in a bevy of different metrics, ranging from download speeds to optimal signal strength. Verizon Wireless has attacked AT&T primarily on its nationwide coverage, which is focused primarily in the major metropolitan areas, but within those metropolitan areas the tables are turned, Rootís metrics show. While AT&T still has weak spots in its urban footprint, they are no more pronounced than in Verizonís network, and when extrapolated across the entire market footprint AT&Tís fairs far better, producing far fewer peaks and valleys in network capacity and much greater data speeds, said Ron Dicklin, Root Wireless chief technology officer.

    Dicklin said he believes AT&T is getting a bad rap, resulting from Verizonís very effective ad campaign and the high expectations of iPhone users Ė rather than any inherent flaw in its networks. ďAT&T has a much more stable higher-speed average than Verizon,Ē Dicklin said. ďIn general youíre going to get a much more balanced experience with AT&T than you would with Verizon in areas where they both have 3G.Ē

    Root tested VZW and AT&Tís networks in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles-Orange County, New York, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma and Washington, DC. According to its data, AT&Tís average download speed ranged from 246 kb/s to 428 kb/s across the seven markets, while VZWís average speeds ranged from 195 kb/s to 259 kb/s, validating AT&Tís claim of having the nationís fastest 3G network. Verizonís uplink-optimized EV-DO revision A network, however, beat out AT&T in upload speeds in most of those markets, though not by much. Average uplink bandwidth for both operators ranged from 94 kb/s to 138 kb/s. In general the chance for a data connection failure was low for both operators, never exceeding 3%, but AT&T managed to best or match Verizon in all seven markets. Surprisingly, Sprint (NYSE:S) had the highest connection failure rate, ranging from 11% to 15%, calling into question Sprintís ďmost reliable networkĒ claims.

    Rootís study also found that AT&T had far more extensive coverage in those 7 markets. Its testing was able to get at least three-quarter of full strength connections throughout 71% of AT&Tís network in New York compared to 37% of Verizonís. Even in AT&Tís worst performing market, San Francisco, Root found 75% signal strength in 33% of AT&Tís network compared to 30% in Verizonís.

    By virtue of CDMAís easier software migration path from 2G to 3G, Verizon has added EV-DO carriers to almost the entirety of its network, and in metropolitan areas 100% of its cell sites support at least one 3G channel. Meanwhile, AT&T had to build an overlay network with new and more expensive infrastructure. AT&T hasnít completed its HSPA build in all marketsóit estimates 75% of the US population is now coveredówhich explains the big gaps in its coverage map, and in markets where it doesnít offer 3G it hasnít installed a 3G base station in every site it offers 2G. The differences in their deployments imply that Verizon would have much more ubiquitous and consistent 3G coverage than AT&T, but as far as actual real-world network coverage goes, thatís not the case, Dicklin said.Dicklin said the discrepancy most likely lies in resources allocated to 3G in both networks. Verizonís CDMA network runs 2G and 3G off of the same infrastructure, and though EV-DO has separate channels from CDMA 1X voice, the processing resources of the base stations are shared between the two. Since VZW prioritizes voice over data, Dicklin said, 3G data quality likely falls as a the number of voice calls on a cell site increase, leading to bigger peaks and valley in overall data coverage and capacity.

    Meanwhile AT&Tís HSPA network is a dedicated 3G network, running independently of the GSM 2G infrastructure. As voice usage increases that traffic is merely shifted to the 2G network, leaving all of the 3G networkís resources available for data and resulting in a much more consistent experience, Dicklin said.

    AT&Tómuch more than Verizonóhas fielded numerous complaints about lack of coverage, not just in areas where it doesnít offer 3G, but in large markets where its 3G coverage is supposedly ubiquitous. Evidence of those coverage holes were found in Rootís data. While AT&T has very strong signals in large swathes of its 3G footprint, signal strength fell off rapidly outside of the hot zones. In six of the seven markets, 30% to 50% of its footprint had signal strengths of less than half of full power. The consistency of Verizonís network fared slightly better in many markets, but of the top four, Sprint beat everyone hands down. Less than 10% of its footprint had half-strength or less signals.

    As a result, more than other operators, AT&T has a network with areas of intense capacity separated by gaps of low signal strength. The reason for this is likely a result of how AT&T planned the network, Dicklin said. While AT&T installed new infrastructure for 3G, it used the same towers occupied by its 2G network. But much of AT&Tís 2G network runs over the 850 MHz cellular frequency, while its 3G network is built on the 1900 MHz PCS band. Cellular has higher propagation characteristics than PCS and therefore longer cell radii. That means in many areas, AT&Tís 3G cells are much more dispersed than they would be in a network that was designed solely for the PCS band.

    ďTo AT&Tís benefit, theyíve managed to get enough people off of the older 2G technology, so they can move 3G into the lower frequencies,Ē Dicklin said, referring to 850 MHz carriers AT&T has launched in several markets, including San Francisco. ďThat will reduce the gaps in between cells.Ē

    Verizon technically has an advantage in 3G network planning as it could upgrade 1X carriers at all of its sites to EV-DO whether they were PCS or cellular. AT&Tís network may not be planned as well as Verizon, creating sizable coverage gaps in cities, but Verizonís advantage has probably been mitigated by by the constant fight on its networks between voice and data resources, Dicklin said. ďIíve been carrying around a Droid and Iíve been carrying around an iPhone for the last few weeks, and the data experience has been far more consistent on the iPhone,Ē Dicklin said.

    AT&Tís planned expansion of 3G into the cellular bands will help fill in some of those coverage holes, just as planned upgrades to the existing HSPA and backhaul networks will add more capacity, but Dicklin said he doesnít expect those improvements to make too much of an impact on AT&Tís overall network performance. AT&Tís network is under extremely close scrutiny from hordes of iPhone users who are all placing enormous expectations on the network, Dicklin said, but Verizon will probably face the same scrutiny if the Droid or some other data-intensive device proves popular.

    ďThe carriers have all done a pretty good job managing the capacity issue,Ē Dicklin said. ďAll of the heavy marketing directed against AT&T is much more of problem for AT&T than its actual network performance.Ē

    Root Wireless was started by several former engineers in the US wireless industry with the aim of providing an independent source of wireless performance metrics for third parties to evaluate the carrierís networks. It currently sells its data and maps to CNET, which uses it to power a service called Root Coverage.
    12-04-09 08:38 PM
  2. MrShawn's Avatar
    I wonder how much AT&T paid them, haha, jk.

    Really though, I have seen about 10 tests that say the opposite and this speaks for itself.
    http://erictric.com/wp-content/uploa...mapforthat.jpg

    Also, yes TECHNICALLY, AT&T's 3G network should be superior, but in truth, its not
    12-05-09 01:15 PM
  3. auero's Avatar
    The problem is AT&T is saying it's faster which more than likely is true BUT I would want a service that covers more. My iPhone wasnt getting 3G where I was getting it with Verizon.
    12-05-09 02:17 PM
  4. jmckemy's Avatar
    As a new customer of ATT that article makes me feel a little better about the future of my wireless coverage.
    12-05-09 04:09 PM
  5. Eileen89's Avatar
    I wonder how much AT&T paid them, haha, jk.

    Really though, I have seen about 10 tests that say the opposite and this speaks for itself.
    http://erictric.com/wp-content/uploa...mapforthat.jpg

    Also, yes TECHNICALLY, AT&T's 3G network should be superior, but in truth, its not
    Perhaps AT&T paid the same thing that Verizon does to consumer reports every year, haha, jk.

    Only 10 tests that say the oposite? Compared to all the rest that did prove that AT&T is faster, 10 isn't. that many at all. I think it all comes down to a persons location, and where I am at&T not only has the better 3G network, but it is definitely faster as well.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-07-09 04:17 PM
  6. Eileen89's Avatar
    The problem is AT&T is saying it's faster which more than likely is true BUT I would want a service that covers more. My iPhone wasnt getting 3G where I was getting it with Verizon.
    I disagree. As long as a persons carrier works well in the area that they live and travel in the most, that is what counts. I don't really care if Verizon works better in another state that I'll never go to anyway.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-07-09 04:23 PM
  7. hunoosh's Avatar
    Ever since I got my 9700 I've been connected to 3G everywhere I go. I'm loving it!

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-07-09 05:40 PM
  8. Raven71's Avatar
    Well I wish you all luck in staying connected. Because they could do ALL the testing they want and all I know is this.
    I think at&trash should fix the 3g sites they have before expading. I
    mean this is pur S;'T that I was Downtown around chambers st and I can't get edge-gprs let alone 3g.
    I am with my son who has Verizon and he has 3G. Had to use his phone for calls and to use Lifein pocket for directions.
    Let alone looking up something for the court system and I can't get no internet service.
    This is like the last straw because I have crap service in PA and Upstate NY and when I was in North Carolina I was lucky to get Edge.
    You Suck and I am putting this on every Forum I can find.
    Let me also add I am on the LIRR and around Woodside. I finally have Edge and sometimes 3G and still when I use the internet all I'd does is alnost get to the end and then wait to post. While my son with a Storm on Verizon has 3G even in Penn Station and is going through websites with no problem. This is ridiculous and its a good thing they dropped their Law Suite about the map Coverage Commercial because ATT your full of crap about your coverage

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-07-09 06:49 PM
  9. Zolutar's Avatar
    wow, a network test on a tower with no users with AT&T of course will out perform a loaded verizon tower....

    there are so many ways to skew these results. I have no doubt in some areas At&t out performs verizon, and visa verca., you still cannot deny the fact verizon has 5-10x the 3G coverage of At&t which is what the commecials were about.
    AT&T smokescreen FAIL
    12-07-09 09:10 PM
  10. rockerdon's Avatar
    wow, a network test on a tower with no users with AT&T of course will out perform a loaded verizon tower....

    there are so many ways to skew these results. I have no doubt in some areas At&t out performs verizon, and visa verca., you still cannot deny the fact verizon has 5-10x the 3G coverage of At&t which is what the commecials were about.
    AT&T smokescreen FAIL
    This. So at&t's network might be faster in 7 major cities. What they fail to mention is that if you happen to ever leave one of those cities, you'll likely have no 3g coverage, and even edge will be spotty.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    12-07-09 10:22 PM
  11. phonegeek#AC's Avatar
    Actually one fact that few seem to know or understand is that AT&Ts 2G speeds are only slightly slower than Verizon's 3G speeds and in many areas AT&Ts 2G outperforms Verizon's 3G network.

    As for the 3G speed test given the two different types of networks it is not possible for Verizon's 3G network to be faster. It's not opinion, it's fact. You can't push data as fast over an EVDO network as you can even a congested UMTS network.


    PG
    12-07-09 10:45 PM
  12. Chaldo's Avatar
    wow, a network test on a tower with no users with AT&T of course will out perform a loaded verizon tower....

    there are so many ways to skew these results. I have no doubt in some areas At&t out performs verizon, and visa verca., you still cannot deny the fact verizon has 5-10x the 3G coverage of At&t which is what the commecials were about.
    AT&T smokescreen FAIL
    And where the **** can you claim those towers have no users on them and Verizon was loaded? Where in the world did you pull that out of? Was it said in the article? Did I just miss it?
    12-07-09 10:59 PM
  13. MrShawn's Avatar
    wow, a network test on a tower with no users with AT&T of course will out perform a loaded verizon tower....

    there are so many ways to skew these results. I have no doubt in some areas At&t out performs verizon, and visa verca., you still cannot deny the fact verizon has 5-10x the 3G coverage of At&t which is what the commecials were about.
    AT&T smokescreen FAIL


    idk about that first part

    second part, I agree with
    12-07-09 11:24 PM
  14. MrShawn's Avatar
    Actually one fact that few seem to know or understand is that AT&Ts 2G speeds are only slightly slower than Verizon's 3G speeds and in many areas AT&Ts 2G outperforms Verizon's 3G network.

    As for the 3G speed test given the two different types of networks it is not possible for Verizon's 3G network to be faster. It's not opinion, it's fact. You can't push data as fast over an EVDO network as you can even a congested UMTS network.


    PG

    What the ****? EDGE is like 50-100 kbps, Verizon 3G is like 800-2500kbps
    12-07-09 11:24 PM
  15. jahoobob's Avatar
    The CEO and Co-Founder of Root Wireless, Paul Griff, previously worked for Cellular One. Ron Dicklin, another Root Co-Founder has worked for AT&T. Scott I. Anderson, a Director worked for, you guessed it, AT&T. Both Griff and Anderson also worked for McCaw Communications that eventually became AT&T Wireless Services.
    12-07-09 11:42 PM
  16. dictoresno's Avatar
    What the ****? EDGE is like 50-100 kbps, Verizon 3G is like 800-2500kbps
    are you smoking crack? iDEN is like 50-100 kbps. i just ran a speedtest from my 8900 on EDGE and got 323 kbps. my highest over EDGE was just over 400 kbps.

    as for verizons "3G" network, ive seen my friends verizon BB's come in at a max of 250 or so for EV rev 0 and around the same speed as me for rev A.

    god, one thing i cant stand is verizon nutswingers. you guys are brainwashed by them and have no clue how to defend yourselves, other than repeating the same TV propaganda they put out.
    Last edited by dictoresno; 12-08-09 at 12:29 AM.
    12-08-09 12:26 AM
  17. speedmerchant's Avatar
    Say you aughta be a goal keeper for a world champ team, cause I gotta say on this thread you did'nt let crap get past you. I was having a so so day until I read this, hats off to ya, and ow yeah the info was very good. I've a foot in both camps Verizon and Att they both have merit. but gotta say when I need to talk I usually go with Att browsing Att(faster) and most off my client base is Att and they do leave messages when they call because they have rollover, any way stay on point cause like I said you TCB when someone says something whacked Later
    12-08-09 07:53 PM
  18. MrShawn's Avatar
    are you smoking crack? iDEN is like 50-100 kbps. i just ran a speedtest from my 8900 on EDGE and got 323 kbps. my highest over EDGE was just over 400 kbps.

    as for verizons "3G" network, ive seen my friends verizon BB's come in at a max of 250 or so for EV rev 0 and around the same speed as me for rev A.

    god, one thing i cant stand is verizon nutswingers. you guys are brainwashed by them and have no clue how to defend yourselves, other than repeating the same TV propaganda they put out.

    um, from AT&T's website

    "The AT&T EDGE network is available in more than 13,000 cities and towns and in areas along 40,000 miles of highways. It provides average data speeds between 75-135Kbps."

    AT&T EDGE | Wireless from AT&T, formerly Cingular


    from Verizon's website

    What is 3G?

    By now, it's been established that 3G technology is a good thing.
    But...what exactly is 3G?

    "3G brings wireless broadband data services to your mobile phone at average download speeds that range from 600 Kbps (that's 2.4 times faster than 254Kbps DSL modem connection) to 1.4Mbps."

    Verizon Wireless 3G

    also pay attention to that lovely map that has a lot more red than blue

    I am not repeating propaganda, i am speaking fact, I am not an ***** on cellular technology

    and actually for the record, I am not too fond of Verizon Wireless, I liked my Alltel service
    12-08-09 08:48 PM
  19. jlsparks's Avatar
    Oh. They looked at the downtown centers of seven (7) US cities. I'm thoroughly convinced now. In analyzing raw data from surveys it's common to sum the results in the top-two categories to reach a reasoned conclusion. I did the math in my head and didn't write it down, but in all but one of the seven markets Root looked at VZW outperformed all others in 50%-100% combined.

    Surveying seven selected cities (and what criteria were used in selecting these cities?) and posting results on an obscure website (with an annoying ad on page load) doesn't convince me, sorry. Call me a VZW nutlicker or whatever it was, but I want something just a *tad* more comprehensive than seven cities tested by a bunch of former AT&T folk.
    12-08-09 09:13 PM
  20. Gawain's Avatar
    A friend of mine's Apple 3G is scorching fast in San Francisco, when it gets an unhindered 3G signal. The HSPDA network can clearly outperform EVDO in terms of speed, however, the device could only maintain connectivity about 50-60% of the time.

    It's always been an issue of capacity with AT&T, and this isn't the first time they've contended with it. The "old" AT&T Wireless had similar issues when they were a TDMA carrier, just rolling out the "SingleRate" program. I saw my service in Atlanta turn to birdsh*t in less than six months. They couldn't handle the growth. As they converted to GSM, the service improved. Then came the iPhone...within a couple months the network was crying uncle. Once the 3G released...3GS releases...lights out.... My old 8800 (work phone) on EDGE was fine in many suburbs, but whenever I was in a major metropolitan area, that would be where I would start getting dropped calls, incomplete/unsuccessful calls, etc.
    12-08-09 09:14 PM
  21. knjeru's Avatar
    I definitely don't live in one of those "7 major cities." Here in Central Florida on AT&T EDGE I get 363kbps, and that was taken on 3 bars. Without a doubt our EDGE coverage is the great bc we can also roam on to T-mobile's towers down here. Got to love that GSM network, and those 850MHz towers which are everywhere.

    On 3G I get 820kbps. Thats with 5 bars and the BB browser. Using the Opera Mini browser I get 2216kbps, but because of the drastic change in speed that should be taken with a grain of salt.

    These tests were done using the BB browser which goes through a proxy so it does not reflect the true speed of AT&T's data network, and I live in an area where everyone and their grandparents has an Iphone. lol

    All in all I get fantastic 3G/EDGE coverage, and I've never had a dropped call. I do believe that these debates don't fully account for the individuals location to the carrier's tower which obviously affects their coverage.
    Last edited by knjeru; 12-08-09 at 09:59 PM.
    12-08-09 09:35 PM
  22. jahoobob's Avatar
    Root Assessment = FAIL
    12-08-09 09:39 PM
  23. rizzzzoooo's Avatar
    I disagree. As long as a persons carrier works well in the area that they live and travel in the most, that is what counts. I don't really care if Verizon works better in another state that I'll never go to anyway.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com


    Ditto to that!
    12-08-09 10:22 PM
  24. rizzzzoooo's Avatar
    I just can't seem to figure out why anyone cares about what each camp and its supporters say. So the Verizon fanatics say ATT sux. Ok well thanks and just move on. I guess I am a moron for loving a network that sucks. Then the ATT die-hards retort with 'our network is faster" and then the others retort to that and so goes the cycle yada yada. Why is there even a need to get defensive about your network whether it be att or Verizon when someone attacks it. Just let it be and don't think twice about it.
    12-08-09 10:35 PM
  25. berryite's Avatar
    Exclusive: Testing shows AT&T 3G network outperforming VZW
    You can make statistics and research conform to any argument you wish to make.

    Facts are more people prefer Verizon to AT&T. Also the ratings of customers do not support AT&T being better than anyone else.

    The latest Consumer Reports magazine ranks AT&T as the worst carrier in the nation.
    12-08-09 10:46 PM
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