To get a glimpse of how speedy AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks are, CNET carried out real-world data tests across these carriers using the LG G3 smartphone.
From one-upping each other on shared data plans to helping customers pen breakup letters, competition among the US’ four major carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile — is reaching new heights of aggression. But one thing we often hear from these mobile carriers is how “good” their 4G LTE networks are.
These companies either have the highest number of LTE users, the largest LTE footprint, or the most LTE devices on the market. For customers, though, the only thing that matters about LTE is how much it’s going to cost them, and how fast it’s going to be.
If you’re looking for guidance on the former, CNET’s Maggie Reardon has tons of helpful information about carrier plan pricing in her Ask Maggie advice column.
But for the latter, I recently conducted real-world data tests to get a snapshot of how fast these networks are performing. These tests were carried out in the same location, one where all carriers’ 4G LTE networks are active (San Jose, Calif.), on the same weekend, and during the same times throughout the days. I executed these tests five times to calculate a fair average on the same phone, the LG G3, with all four devices being wiped and reset beforehand, just like how you would receive them out of the box.
It’s important to keep in mind that these tests are not comprehensive or exhaustive. Although I took measures to be as fair and thorough as possible, these results offer just a glimpse of the carriers’ 4G LTE speeds in one place on the same device. If you’re thinking about switching carriers, be sure to research how well the others perform in your particular area.