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No Surprises Here, Verizon’s 4G LTE Network is Hands Down the Fastest in America

The folks over at PCMag have posted up the results of a cross-country road trip (21 cities) during which they tested all of the major mobile networks in the U.S. to determine which was the fastest.  They looked at both 3G and 4G networks from Verizon and Sprint, the fake 4G of AT&T, T-Mobile’s steadily increasing 4G, and some off-the-wall carriers like MetroPCS and Cricket to cover all bases.  The results are not surprising at all – Verizon’s new 4G LTE network easily came out on top with its incredibly fast, home replacement-esque data speeds.  

Here are a couple of the score sheets:

Northeast City Scores

West City Scores

So what can we make of all this?  Well for starters, your next phone should probably have a 4G LTE radio in it because the coverage map is only going to grow exponentially over the next 2 years. In fact, Big Red plans to have their 4G network covering every ounce of Earth that their current 3G network does by 2013, so that means you’ll want a phone that can run on it even if you aren’t expecting to see service for another year or so.

Second, with tiered data coming on July 7 and the uncertainty that even current customers will continue to have unlimited amounts in say 2 years from now, you need to lock in soon.  And when we say lock in, we mean lock in to a 4G phone so that you can really take advantage of these kinds of speeds.

You can check out PCMag’s full test results here.

To our 4G friends in the building, would you care to share your experiences with the non-crowd?

  • Rohda

    I like how they call AT&T’s 4g network “fake” when no carrier in the country has a true 4g network. Every network in the country that claims to be 4g is fake.

  • sssbbb

    One thing’s for sure… it would be very hard for me to go back to 3g only coverage.  I spend most of my time between d.c. and baltimore with 4g coverage 95% of the time.  On the rare occasion that I’m without 4g I’m reminded of the days between dial-up and broadband.

  • Telephoneteck

    I wish I had 4g here. When I visit Kent Washington I can consistently get 18 meg downloads.

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  • Jj

    I’m getting 4000 to 8000 up on vz lte here in NorCal on my Droid Charge.

  • Alex

    yeah it’s super fast, but it’s not stable right now.It goes down allot.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll take reliability over speed.. I simply want a device that works when I need it to. Speed is great, but only If it works when you need it. I love Verizon’s network, but their control factor over customers sucks. Their phone selection also is crap compared to the others, but i stay with them because their national coverage is the best. It’s reliable!

  • Anonymous

    This pretty much jives with my experience on a recent roadtrip with my dad from CA to visit family in rural Texas; my Thunderbolt on Verizon did great most of the time with 3G although in extremely rural areas in got a bit spotty. My dad’s Evo 4G on Sprint seemed to hang on to data a bit longer but it wasn’t always working even if the 3G indicator was going. Our destination was very spotty for me, lots of 1X connections (or dropped entirely), but my dad was holding 3G a bit more often but it didn’t always actually work.  (it didn’t help when we got to our destination was the great 4G/Thunderbolt outage of April 27 so I dunno how many of the problems I had were due to that, and how many were due to how out in the middle of nowhere we were, probably a bit of both.)

    4G in Phoenix and Vegas rocked (and I think I had about an hour of 4G passing through Dallas).

    • LionStone

      Did you keep your TB in 4G (CDMA+LTE/EvDo auto) when you were in the rural areas? It sounds like it if it went to 1X and then dropped entirely. What I have found with my TB when I’m in a rural area, using the LTE ON/OFF app, switch it to CDMA ONLY. When I did this it held on to the 1X signal without dropping it and therefore maintaining a stable connection.  

      • Anonymous

        Actually had it forced to CDMA most of the trip since I knew I was outside of 4G coverage for most of the trip. I only turned 4G on when I knew I was near a 4G area, since the battery takes such a tumble just looking for 4G…  I think most of the dropped 1X stuff was due to all the Thunderbolt/4G network weirdness going on with Verizon (was having trouble following the news as that was my only internet access and 1x is sooo slow!), as I was stable with 3G most of the rest of the trip.

  • FiMachineGun

    OG screen gave out on me Father’s day weekend.  I was forced to make a decision, get a repaired phone or move to a new one.  I really wanted to wait for the Bionic or GS2.  I got the Thunderbolt and after seeing 4G LTE in action, it would be tough to go back.  Downside is I will have to pay full price for the phone of my liking WHEN it comes out.

  • Slllllyyy


    • Anonymous

      Probably cuz you don’t have 4g…

    • Your name says it all.

    • This is false. 3G just can’t hang with 4G speeds these days. Plus, all Verizon 4G phones have a 3g option.

  • Mii

    So if verizon 4g lte is 1st, do those charts make t-mobile 2nd ? they seem to take everything in 2nd but are slightly slower on the streaming ….

  • Mr. Joe

    “Big Red plans to have their 4G network covering every ounce of Earth that their current 3G network does”

    North America is Earth? Oo;;;

    • Anonymous

      It’s part of Earth, so an ounce of North America is an ounce of Earth.

  • Big Brother

    I use verizon for home internet access (being there are no other broadband options.) It’s fast and it is reliable. Unfortunately,  I go over my 10GB cap EVERY month with general surfing (no netflix, hulu, gaming, etc.) and spend almost every moment of using the service worrying about how much I am going to get nailed with in overages…

    • That’s no way to live man.  Hopefully you’ll get a few more options around your way soon.

  • Eh… Correct me if i’m wrong but no one has “real 4g” (4G service at 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communication) yet.
    I get the article is saying Verizon is the quickest of all but its still not “real 4G”.

    • As far as I know (from what I have read and from friends with parents working at technology companies) Verizon’s 4G is “real 4G” unlike AT&T which is just a faster version of 3G but not truly 4G. I don’t know about Sprint though..

      • check it! I know its Wiki but take it for what its worth and verify sources and you will see LTE is based on 3g and LTE advanced is built on 4g. We still have LTE… 

    • The ITU changed the definition to include LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+ http://goo.gl/tuos0

    • Calculatorwatch

      According to the original definition of 4G I believe you are right. I think they might have changed it though once they realized that all the carriers were gonna call their shit “4G” anyways.

      Technically speaking though, Verizon does have the fourth generation of mobile data technology since it is completely different from their 3G technology. Whereas AT&T is just using their 3G technology slightly beefed up and calling it “4G”.

      • so no one ever met the true 4g standards?

        • Calculatorwatch

          As far as I know “true 4G” is still a few years out. Who know’s what they’ll call it when we actually get there though

        • Mii

          nope, now technically yes, but only because the standards were lowered

    • Mr. Joe

      ACTUALLY the LTE that verizon is using has been proven over the world to meet 100 mbit/s.  Over in Europe and Canada!

  • Stelv81

    Fastest 4g. Worst Phones. Worst Service. Most Expensive Carrier.

    • hkklife

      Don’t forget “most bloatware” too!

      • Yay Bing!   ; ) 

      • Mr. Joe

        All four carriers have just as much bloat as vzw does. 

    • Which is why I’m moving on to T-Mobile or Sprint next month.  I’m 26 years old and have been with Verizon since my parents got their first cell phone (the car phone just doesn’t count.)

      • TheAndroid1

        If you like stock android, go with T-mobile.  They usually get the nexus phones.

        But Sprint normally gets the really cool gimmick phones (3d Evo, Split screen tablet phone [echo])

    • Mr. Joe

      Just because they went tiered means they have bad service?  Good logic!

      • Stelv81

        I didnt mean reception service. I meant customer service is bad with vzw.

        • CastorTroy

          verizon has the best customer service.  better than any other carrier.   cell phone service is like anything else.  you get what you pay for.  are they the most expensive?  yes because they have the best network.  which is why they are the number 1 cell phone carrier in the unites states.  say what you want, but they have great phones and great service.

      • TheAndroid1

        Some words have more than one meaning, avoid looking like an idiot because you want to jump to conclusions.

    • Anonymous

      Worst phones?  Seriously?

    • Stfu

      If they have the fastest 4g how can they have the worst service, sounds like someone is just jealous they can’t afford it

  • EC8CH

    Now if they would just release a phone to run on said network that has 2011 specs.

  • b00ky

    Maybe this has been posted elsewhere, but how does 4G compare to 3G as far as passing through walls and other obstructions. Is it similar to 5Ghz vs 2.4Ghz where 5Ghz allows higher bandwidth, but has trouble with range and obstacles?

  • Chowdur

    What would happen if I dump my
    50dollar a month Time Warner for the mobile hotspot. It doesn’t have the same
    data cap that tethering has does it?

    • Guest

      The data caps are on there because of using the data on the computer. You will still have the data cap if you get mobile tether or hotspot. They are the same feature. 

  • Anonymous

    What about latency?

  • people on tiered 4g lte will just be going over on their data. Think about it. on current 3g speeds you have to wait on some of the downloads. now think of the same download only 10x faster. Now you have more time to download even more stuff. In turn you are actually be paying WAY more for your fastest network. Its only awesome if you have unlimited data but that i can guarantee will not last more than 1 year 2 at the most (til all current people go through their new contracts). 

    • hkklife

      Yup, I predict the “grandfathered unlimited” will end at the absolute latst on July 6th 2013.  Still, a good deal if you can lock in now. 

    • shaman

      I thought our “unlimited” data plans actually have a 5 gig ceiling, are they truly unlimited. Haven’t surpassed 5 gigs on 3g yet..

      • oh no, i have gotten to 5.4 gb and my brother over 8gb

  • Anonymous

    My 4G Data card is consistently over 10/1 Mb/s in CT.  I hope my future 4G phone will handle similarly.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    Oh great.. so now ATT is going to rerun those dumb commercials that try to get your mind off this fact. Like that one where the Verizon guy has to hold and fumble 2 phones to make a call and use the web.

    • Anonymous

      Those dumb commercials won’t work anymore because VZN 4G phones can do simultaneous voice and data 🙂

      • Anonymous

        Those dumb commercials will always work because the general public is full of morons who will believe anything they hear without questioning it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m eligible for an upgrade, but can’t decide if I want the Thunderbolt, or to wait until something like the HTC Sensation comes out…god that’s a beautiful phone. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m eligible for an upgrade, but can’t decide if I want the Thunderbolt, or to wait until something like the HTC Sensation comes out…god that’s a beautiful phone. 

    • Anonymous

      you should just wait for the bionic

      TB wasn’t worth it imo

      • Anonymous

        Yeah… I’m not sold on Motorola devices… but I might end up doing that…
        I’d really like to get 4G since I’m in nothing but 4G markets, and since I
        don’t trust Verizon to not extend tiered data to everybody or at least start
        charging a premium for 4G…

  • Average_taxpayer

    Tell me something I don’t already know.

  • Wow look at how sad verizon 3g is. Thats just pathetic.

    • Knightcrusader

      Think that’s bad? I remember using 1xRTT data speeds and thinking it was blazing fast!! lol

    • Well on there its the fastest (Marketed) 3G network. 

      AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS were all “4G” networks.

    • As compared to what? Verizon’s 3g speeds are faster than the other 3g speeds and let’s talk about the success rate of Verizon’s 3g vs. the other networks 4g. I’d almost rather have Verizon 3g 90%-70% of the time then have a slightly faster 4g network from someone else that works 50%-60% of the time. Now all Verizon needs to do is stop charging out the ass for the data. I have 4G and can easily top 10gbs a month its only gunna go higher, we need faster speeds because we expect to consume more data so limiting the data seems backwards to me.

    • LionStone

      yea, all 3G is pretty pathetic to VZW’s 4G…don’t look back…look forward

    • LionStone

      yea, all 3G is pretty pathetic to VZW’s 4G…don’t look back…look forward

  • Jim Runyon

    With their new billing plans and locking down tethering, 4G LTE is like owning a 1001hp bugatti and not having any gas to put in it.

    • Anonymous

      If you own a 1001 hp bugatti and dont have any gas to put in it perhaps you shouldn’t own one, and if you want 4G LTE and cant afford the data plan or tethering then perhaps you should get one.. I’m just saying..

      • Anonymous

        Oh, you can afford the gas, but they only want to sell you 2 gallons of it at a fair price, knowing the car will go through that in no time at all. Lets not talk about the auxiliary tank, which is filled with fuel that cost 20 times more than fuel bought from anywhere else…

        • Anonymous

          VZW is my carrier, btw, I don’t mind paying the premium for their service, but if they continue down the road they are on I will be dropping them and looking elsewhere.

          • Knightcrusader

            There is a different between paying a premium and getting raped in price. Verizon seems to be shifting from the former to the latter…

          • Anonymous

            Honestly looking elsewhere will simply be looking in a mirror. All the major carriers plans will be structured the same with only subtle differences. The choice of who you choose as your carrier will weigh more on quality of service, coverage area, choice of devices, and what you are willing to pay for that. While VZW has its problems my overall experience puts them far ahead of the others.  

    • Anonymous

      If you own a 1001 hp bugatti and dont have any gas to put in it perhaps you shouldn’t own one, and if you want 4G LTE and cant afford the data plan or tethering then perhaps you should get one.. I’m just saying..

    • *droidz*

      I’m still holding out for the lawsuit about tethering to force them to open that back up. They didn’t say it is “unlimited for only what we want” it is unlimited.

  • TheAndroid1

    Verizon’s next commercial should be about how fast you can blow through their data cap over their competitors.

    • oh come on, you should already know that if you’re an existing VZW customer that you don’t have to move to a tiered plan and can keep unlimited data.

      • skaguyy

        yeah but the marketing is mostly towards getting new customers…so that argument will be invalid in a few weeks for them

        • Yep, it’s for new customers, that’s why I said existing customers don’t need to worry about it.

          •  So, does VZW NOT want new customers?

          • How can I answer this? I can’t speak for what a company wants.

          • I’m hungry.

          • Anonymous


      • TheAndroid1

        And if you could read the fine print it says that Verizon does not currently have plans to move unlimited users to tiered plans.  This means that at some point (possibly very soon) they could boot everybody off the unlimited plans.  Second, this is still horrible for new Verizon customers.  Verizon is advertising these amazing data speeds that new customers will come over for not realizing how small the data packages really are.

        So really as an existing customer I could be kicked off at any time.  And second, people are being essentially tricked into thinking that they will get these super fast data speeds and they can stream as much as they want.  I was in a Verizon store where a person asked about a data cap, the Verizon rep said that he has never heard of such a cap but only extremely heavy users could go through 2gbs.

        Current and Future Customers will both be screwed, so it will eventually hurt everybody.

        Your ignorance. Dislike

        • *droidz*

          Then it is time to switch carriers… All the more reason that T-mo and ATT should not join forces.

          • TheAndroid1

            Once one does it, the others will follow.  I would say that within the next couple years, every major carrier will have tiered data.

      • he could mean mobile broadband

    • Scjagfan

      What data cap?…lol

    • Exactly, and I wonder how long until they boot us off our grandfathered unlimited plans. I bet they’d still boot me off even if I bought all my future phones at full retail, without going into a new contract. 

      • TheAndroid1

        But if they change it without you signing a new contract, you can get out of it without paying an early termination fee.

        My guess is that they will give you one new phone with your current data plan, but next time you have to sign on to a tiered plan.

      • tjhrulz

        Sad but true

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that’s fast! I laugh every time I hear AT&T commercials about their HSPA+ network.

  • Anonymous


  • Fd2blk78

    That droid 3 had better be 4g! Gonna be the surprise of the year!

    • Anonymous

      not if it still has motoblur aka STOKBLOK on it…

    • Droid3sucks

      haha DROID BIONIC!

  • Ace87

    Constantly getting 20+ in Chicago

  • Tie 22

    but tier data …

    • For Verizon, tiered data isn’t tunneling the actual bandwidth, it’s setting cap on how much data you can up/download in a month. And, if you’re already a VZW existing customer, you won’t even have worry about the tiered plans, you can keep your unlimited data plan!

      • Scott

        Are you on Verizon staff?

  • Anonymous

    Locked and loaded… now just waiting for the switch to be flipped!