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Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Verizon vs. AT&T: Which iPhone is faster?

By Hayley Tsukayama

Consumers now have a choice about which carrier they can use for Apple's iPhone, but which is really the better choice?

According to speed tests published in Wired, the answer for data downloads is AT&T -- if you want the fastest speeds. On the other hand, if you're looking for reliability, your best bet is Verizon.

Ookla, the company that owns Speedtest.net, confirmed widespread speculation about data differences between the two networks in its tests on download speeds.

The AT&T iPhone averaged a download speed of 1,769 Kbps, and an average upload speed was 730 Kbps. The Verizon iPhone's average download speed was 848 Kbps, and its average upload speed was 506 Kbps.

The test did not look at coverage reliability or dropped connections. But Wired's Brian X. Chen did his own tests and found that although Verizon's data was consistently slower, it did complete all the tests. AT&T's iPhone could not complete some tests because it couldn't find a connection.

"I think that's the story I expected to see," said Doug Suttles, co-founder of Ookla, told Wired. "Verizon has never talked up their speed, but they always talk up coverage and reliability. ... I think the story is quality versus throughput: What are you after?"

By Hayley Tsukayama  | February 18, 2011; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Gadgets, Mobile  
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Comments

Question what good is speed if you don't have a connection? Now ask me again, speed or reliability. AT&T or Verizon.

Posted by: cjaulet1 | February 18, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

question - I've heard that with verizon's iphone, you can't use the internet connection while on a call (have to hang up to look something up on google, for example), but with at&t you can - is that true?

Posted by: jjtwo | February 19, 2011 6:02 AM | Report abuse

Which one delivers 911 service?

Posted by: therev1 | February 19, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

@jjtwo - yes, that is true. CDMA (the network scheme used by Verizon) does not support simultaneous voice and data.

Posted by: realworld51 | February 19, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Run the test while on a phone call and see who wins.

Posted by: oldiesfan1 | February 19, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

848 Kbps? Yikes.

Posted by: ozpunk | February 19, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

People talk about those two things as though they really matter in a general way. First, speed. What are you doing that the difference between 850 kbps and 1.7 mbps is going to be visible? Maybe Facetime. Maybe, but probably not. As far as network size and reliability goes, it only matters if the carrier is present and reliable where you are. There are holes in everyone's coverage. If Verizon doesn't have good signal where you live or work or travel then it doesn't matter if they're great everywhere else. Personally I have Verizon because of the Metro, but that's a choice I've made. I can count on one hand the number of times I've needed to call and use the internet at the same time. Maybe it would be different if it were an option, but so far it hasn't been. But that's just me.

Posted by: whurley23 | February 19, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

@oldiesfan1 Run the test while unsuccessfully trying to complete a phone call and see who wins. -- There, fixed it for you.

Posted by: Annorax | February 21, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

CNET.com put AT&T at the top for the Washington, DC area: http://reviews.cnet.com/cell-phone-coverage-map/?tag=rb_content;contentNav

Posted by: SteveSorensen | February 22, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

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