AT&T and Verizon have been running TV commercials comparing their 3G networks. AT&T's ads claim that this carrier's mobile broadband network is the fastest in the U.S. An independent company has weighed in to support this assertion.
Root Wireless compared AT&T's 3G network in a selection of big cities -- Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. where all of the top four wireless carriers offer 3G service.
It found that AT&T's HSDPA network has faster download speeds than the comparable services offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
When it pitted AT&T and Verizon head-to-head, Root Wireless found that AT&T’s download speed averages between 246 kbps in NYC and 428 kbps in Dallas, while Verizon's average download speed is between 195 kbps in Seattle and 259 kbps in Chicago.
However, Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network offers slightly faster uploads, on average, in these seven cities.
Verizon's ads don't claim that its network is the fastest, but instead point out that its mobile broadband service is available in a much larger area, which AT&T doesn't dispute.
AT&T has chosen to concentrate on heavily populated areas, so its relatively small 3G network can cover 75% of the U.S. population.
Still, a series of TV ads from Verizon has capitalized on the disparity in 3G coverage area. AT&T filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to get these pulled off the air, and has recently resorted to its own TV ads touting its network's speed.
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