The results of PC World's latest 13-market 3G network performance test indicates AT&T's network has improved dramatically since the magazine, in conjunction with testing partner Navarum, conducted the same test last spring.
AT&T's 3G network has struggled under the heavy load of data, primarily from iPhone, but has been working to improve the network.
Testers recorded one of the lowest average download speeds on AT&T's network eight months ago, lagging behind T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint in many areas. This year's test, however, indicated AT&T's download speeds were 67 percent faster on average than the network speeds of Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
While AT&T's network reported an average download speed of 818 kbps across 13 states this past spring, the new tests conducted in December 2009 and January 2010 show AT&T's average download speed increased to 1410 kbps. In New York City and San Francisco--two markets that have come under fire for connection problems--AT&T recorded significantly enhanced data speeds. New York saw download speeds three times faster than tests last spring, while San Francisco recorded speeds 40 percent faster.
During AT&T's fourth-quarter conference call, AT&T executives said the company had added cell site controller capacity and was in the process of adding third and fourth radio network carriers to maximize capacity in troubled markets, with New York and San Francisco being the notable ones.
Data network reliability also increased for AT&T, with testers reporting that they got a usable broadband connection 94 percent of the time compared with 68 percent of the time last spring.
In all, AT&T delivered significantly faster data speeds and better reliability than Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.
- take a look at this PC World article
Another test puts AT&T last in mobile broadband performance
Putting 3G networks to the test
New test shows AT&T wireless broadband speeds run the gamut across the U.S.