iPhone 4S speed tests show AT&T is quickest, VZW most dependable

If you’re looking at buying an iPhone 4S, and aren’t sure which carrier you should go with, there are a few factors involved in making sure you choose the right handset and carrier combination. The latest information to come out shows some statistical data collected comparing call quality and data speeds. In today’s culture you’re more likely to find that people stay in touch using Facebook, twitter, instant messaging or texts. For those people – constantly online – they need a handset that will provide a fast service, not one that grinds to a halt each time you refresh your Facebook news feed.

If you look over the data in the chart above, you’ll notice that AT&T has by far the fastest data connection. The iPhone 4S has been tested and reaches speeds of up to 6Mbps, with an average of just over 3Mbps. Verizon is around one third of that, and Sprint is simply pitiful. It makes you wonder why the carrier bothers offering an unlimited plan when you can barely get any use out of it.

Now, for those of you who prefer to partake in long phone calls it’s a different story. Verizon users experience less dropped calls than the other two. At 2.1% it’s 0.7% lower than AT&T and 1.6% lower than Sprint. VZW is the most dependable when it comes to calls. So, if you’re reliant on data most, go with AT&T, if you like phone calls go with VZW. Right now, apart from the unlimited plan, there’s not much going for Sprint. But, if you need more data than either “Big Red” or “Big Blue” can offer you, you’re only choice is to go yellow.

Via: Phonedog, The Next Web

Press Release: 

Metrico Wireless Sets The Record Straight On AT&T, Sprint and Verizon iPhone 4S Performance


Frederick, Md.–November 18, 2011

Metrico Wireless, the global leader in mobile device performance analytics, today announced findings from “iPhone 4S: The Ultimate Performance Report,” based on the company’s patented technologies and methodologies used to evaluate over 700 devices for carriers and OEMs. The three carriers covered in the report – AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless – each led in different performance categories, ranging from call performance to voice quality to data and web, and the iPhone 4S proved to be a capable video device regardless of the network it was on.

Immediately following the launch of the iPhone 4S in October, 2011, Metrico began measuring performance of these devices on key criteria including:

call performance (making and holding calls)

voice quality (handset, speaker, Bluetooth, in noise)

data performance (HTTP download, HTTP upload)

web browsing (page load time, page load reliability)

video performance (frame delivery rate, freeze, impairment, audio).

Metrico performed over 21,000 web page downloads, ran more than 8,000 data download/upload tests while mobile and while stationary, and generated approximately 6,000 voice calls, using the company’s global measurement system platform. Metrico also utilized the ITU-T P.863 speech quality algorithm known as POLQA to compare voice quality across the three carrier’s networks. This approach resulted in robust, objective and repeatable analysis of performance from the subscriber point of view, in laboratory and live network conditions reflective of typical usage.

Key Findings

Call success rates – the ability to make and hold calls successfully – were slightly better for the Verizon iPhone 4S than for AT&T and Sprint versions.

Sprint’s iPhone 4S performs better than the other carriers in live network voice quality on the uplink, while AT&T’s iPhone 4S takes the lead in live network voice quality on the downlink. However, the two carriers’ results are comparable. Across the three carriers, when compared to 3G smartphones measured in each carrier’s portfolio, the iPhone 4S is: among the top performers for speech quality in noise; average in speech quality over Bluetooth; and a below average performer in speakerphone speech quality.

The AT&T iPhone 4S outperforms its Verizon and Sprint counterparts in data download and upload speeds. Moreover, the AT&T iPhone 4S outperforms the iPhone 4 in download speeds by a considerable margin.

Web browsing is faster on the AT&T iPhone 4S than on the Verizon and Sprint versions. The iPhone 4S outperforms more than 70 percent of competing 3G Smartphone models tested on the three networks.

The iPhone 4S shows excellent data task reliability – or the success rate of completing tasks – on all three carrier’s networks, with 100 percent or near-100 percent success rates in stationary downloads, stationary uploads and web page loads. The improvement gains in stationary download reliability over the iPhone 4 are dramatic for AT&T and Verizon.

When on the live network and playing a video clip through the web browser, the iPhone 4S showed comparable, high rates of video frame delivery across all three carriers. However, when playing a video clip through YouTube, video frame delivery rate dropped, although the subscriber is still likely to perceive good quality. In general, the iPhone 4S shows a very low rate of video freezes and impairments, and a very high rate of audio delivery, across the three carriers’ networks.


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  • Anonymous

    ah but AT&T is always faster than VZW. I don’t understand the argument of dependability why would I want speeds alway bellow 2mbps just does not sound right to me.  

  • In real life day to day experience I’ve never seen at&t be faster than verizon. maybe its the area that im in.. but if i were to ever get an iphone, which i wont, i would definitely go to verizon

  • Eric369

    When you buy a smartphone your basically buying a mini computer. So the argument here is, do you want a phone or a computer. Personally I’m glad I have AT&T. Their network first supported the iPhone and they will continue to reign that way. And btw. I don’t have dropped calls either so… I guess AT&T is the best option

  • Kourage2

    Totally disagree with AT&T being a better choice for a iPhone. Who cares about having a faster phone if you you don’t have any signal to call people if you are stranded. I know people that have a lot a dropped calls with a iPhone on AT&T. I have not a had no more than 2 drops calls. If you want a reliable company, Verizon is the best. Tmobile would be better than Sprint as far as speed goes.

  • Anonymous

    Idk about them tests and where they were tested at but I have sprint and I don’t have any dropped calls. Now the data, that goes up and down

  • Lunardragonofdarkness

    It’s clear that Verizon is the best carrier for the iPhone 4S overall.  Data speeds may not be top-notch, but paired with the A5 dual-core processor, it can clearly get the job done quickly.  Not to mention it can hold calls fantastically.

    AT&T may have the fastest network, but who cares?  If it can’t hold a phone call, then what’s the point of getting it in the first place!

    As for Sprint…..  Well…  They just need to get their act together!

  • Anonymous



    I desperately want Sprint to get their act together and do well on any of these tests because I want to sign up for unlimited data on the iPhone and it doesnt seem possible on the other carriers unless you spend a lot of $$$.  

  • Anonymous