Verizon snags 'fastest LTE network' crown from AT&T in new test

Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) network topped the national rankings in PCMag's fifth annual Fastest Mobile Networks testing, with its LTE network getting rave reviews. The operator's CDMA-based 3G network left a lot to be desired when compared with rival 3G networks. But that is exactly why Verizon has invested so much time and effort to build a first-class LTE network with a massive nationwide footprint.

AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) was declared the winner of last year's speed contest, but PCMag said Verizon had made great strides over the past few months with its deployment of LTE over its AWS spectrum, which the operators has branded XLTE. The XLTE rollout complements Verizon's 700 MHz LTE coverage area. "The 700 MHz gives Verizon terrific rural coverage, and XLTE boosts speeds in major cities like New York and Boston in a huge way," PCMag said.

T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) registered the fastest speeds in half of the cities tested. However, its network performance dropped off in areas where the operator is spectrum-constrained, and the company's rural coverage is abysmal, according to test results. Testing showed that Sprint's (NYSE: S) performance continues to lag behind that of its rivals.

Testing was conducted in 30 major cities spread evenly across six regions of the country as well as on interstate and U.S. highways and smaller cities along the route. For more, see this PCMag article.