If we were arrogant, smug, and completely full of ourselves, we would be taking credit this morning for T-Mobile’s decision to sell their wireless business to AT&T. It was just a couple days ago, Friday, March 18, that we sent T-Mobile the results of our Baltimore area wireless speed tests, and yesterday they decided to sell to AT&T. Coincidence? Probably. Acquisitions between major corporations usually take at least five days to put together.
The bottom line is, AT&T is beginning to deploy a 4G HPSA+ network in the Baltimore area, the results of which can be seen from our tests. AT&T’s announcement last week of a major upgrade here should mean that a second 4G LTE network will be in place by the end of the year. Verizon has already deployed a LTE network around the area. In case you are wondering what the difference between the two is, we will skip over the boring technical specs, choosing instead to let the numbers do the talking. Over the course of this week you can see for yourself the difference between HPSA+, which is also being used by Sprint and T-Mobile, and LTE.
For today we are content to focus on T-Mobile and AT&T. The buyout announcement actually had no bearing on how we decided to set this up. While we were testing, those cute, little MAC/PC parody spots T-Mobile has been running recently, kept popping into our head. You know the ones where T-Mobile disses the iPhone because it runs on the slower AT&T 3G network. Since we believe the proof is in the numbers, not clever TV spots, we were paying particular attention to T-Mobile’s and AT&T’s numbers. The other TV spots we focused on were the Verizon Wireless ads that touted blazing fast 4G speeds. We will have more on that later in the week.
We tested fifteen locations in and around the city, using the website speedtest.net. In nine of those tests, AT&T bested T-Mobile in downstream numbers. Overall, AT&T boasted an average download speed of 2.38Mbps to T-Mobile’s 2.18Mbps. Uploads painted a different picture. T-Mobile sent data up at an average of 1.08Mbsp, while AT&T came in at a paltry 0.44Mbps. AT&T showed the worst upstream numbers of all the carriers.
Still, when you look at all the numbers together, AT&T performed much better than T-Mobile’s commercials would have you believe. So if you were thinking about trading in that iPhone based solely on a creative marketing campaign, put it back in your pocket. Like we said, the real proof is in the numbers, not clever TV spots.
For more information, and full test results of T-Mobile and AT&T’s networks in the Baltimore area, check out the companion article at Reliable Digital World. There you will find a table listing all of our upstream and downstream test data, as well as a few other points related to our project.