Unveiling December's latency figures for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile

Relatively little attention has been paid to 3G and LTE latency speeds--which is notable considering a number of operators have pointed to improved latency as a major reason behind the push to LTE. Latency is defined as the time it takes for a source to send a packet of data to a receiver. Latency is typically measured in milliseconds. The lower the latency (the fewer the milliseconds), the better the network performance.

FierceWireless, with partner OpenSignal, is hoping to shed some light onto the latency issue. Every month, we'll report the network latency speeds of the Tier 1 U.S. wireless carriers. We're even documenting how the carriers stack up against each other across their different network technologies, from LTE to EV-DO Rev. A to eHRPD (a software solution that allows Verizon and Sprint to use existing CDMA towers to pass data packets over to the LTE network) to HSPAP (part of the HSPA upgrade path) to HSPA. Click here to see the top U.S. operators' latency figures from December.

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