Thursday, November 19, 2009

Verizon 2, AT&T 0

The only story of note this week is the reaction to the ad campaign showing Verizon's 3G coverage vs. AT&T's. AT&T took exception to how their network was portrayed, so they ask the courts to intervene. The courts didn't agree and allowed the Verizon campaign to continue. As a result, AT&T responded with an announcement on their web site claiming their data network is really better. Better? Yes! AT&T claims to have the"fastest" 3G network in the US. That may be true, but it just doesn't cover as much real estate as Verizon's.

But it doesn't end there. Sprint continues to roll out their 4G coverage in a handful of markets which is faster than anybody's 3G network. Oh, and AT&T also proudly announced Tuesday they now serve the Bay Area with 3G coverage. But AT&T has the iPhone! Who cares about 3G?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that VZW's 3G includes data services just barely above the 350 kbs or so cutoff for 3G whereas the ATT Edge system is just below the 3G cutoff speed limit. Hence VZW with all that red coverage that is really not any faster than ATT's basic network. The 100 kbs or so difference between the two is not really detectable on my iPhone.

As a practical matter, I have found that the cell network speed while traveling between places that have WIFI is not especially important. Most of the fast data needs are being done at WIFI hot spots and they are becoming increasingly available.

Ian said...

Where I live (central TX) and go to school (Colorado) WiFi isn't always a given. Yes, I get it on-campus and at home but beyond that things are iffy. So I have my Sprint cell phone that can do wireless tethering and an AT&T aircard...I bought the aircard outright a year and a half ago so no contract.

My findings: Sprint's network depends on the area, but tends to give a smoother experience than AT&T, though on AT&T I've seen 1.5-2.1 Mbps down and 900-1200 kbps up in les congested areas, whereas Sprint goes between 800 and 2000 kbps down and between 300 and 800 kbps up.

As far as EDGE vs. Verizon 3G goes, in many places EDGE can't get above 100 kbps, not much higher than Verizon and Sprint's non-3G service. Also, I don't know of any place where Verizon 3G has been under about 700-800 kbps recently. Usually it's around a megabit down and 500 kbps up. So not as fast as AT&T 3G speed-wise, but latency is generally a good bit better and coverage is, like VZW's ads say, 5x that of AT&T.

Also, AT&T actually doesn't have the fastest 3G network in the US. T-Mobile does. They've deployed 21 Mbps HSPA+ in a few areas for testing and are quickly upgrading many areas to HSPA 7.2. Their 3G network, which is expanding by the day, will be entirely HSPA 7.2 by the end of next year, and entirely HSPA+ the year after. Granted, Canada now has three HSPA+ networks (Bell, Telus, Rogers) but we have some definite progress.

And, of course, there's Clear WiMAX. I think it covers 100 mllion people at this point and offers speeds comparable to, if not better than, what T-Mobile will have with HSPA+. With unlimited transfer. For less money. WiMAX is also the beginning of a technology iteration, whereas HSPA+ is the end of the line for GSM...

Anonymous said...

"AT&T no longer shows 3G coverage on their web site"

???

What's this then: http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/#?type=voice&3g=t&lat=40&lon=-100&sci=1

Your articles are pretty poorly researched. First you claim T-Mobile doesn't show any plans other than the everything unlimited plans, now you claim AT&T doesn't show 3G coverage on their web site. I would spend a little more time on those site before making those claims.

Richard from Chicago said...

I am a truck driver and have to say after using all three of the top carriers that Verizon does have more broadband coverage than anyone. Sprint is a good second and at least for now their high speed agreements with former Alltel have made them an excellent provider for services. AT&T on the other hand for someone who doesn't live in NYC, LA, Denver or any of the other major cities is a joke. When outside of those places you are luck to get 70kbps and that is about as bad as going back to dial up. Considering that Verizons network is 90% 3G compaired to AT&T maybe 20 I'll stick with having 1 to 2MBPS 90% of the time than 70kbps 80% of it. To anonymous just because your stuck with them because you have an iPhone doesn't give you a reason to be a jerk. Verizon, Sprint, and now T-Mobile have taken a better approach to rolling out their 3G networks. Instead of hounding those who speak the truth instead hound those who are taking their time with providing the service that has been promised to you for years now.

Scott W said...

AT&T moved their 3G map, and I must admit, I didn't follow it from the coverage page, just from my old bookmarks. I stand corrected.

I understand Bill's comment that T-Mobile's web page has become less helpful. Of course all the plans and deals can be found (except the cheapest), but Bill hates it when it isn't simple for Joe Sixpack to click on "plans" instead of a company's latest buzz-name for their services.