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Posted at 10:12 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

AT&T or Verizon: who has the better data network? Well, it depends

By Hayley Tsukayama

The analytics firm Metrico is the latest to weigh in on the fight to determine whether AT&T or Verizon has the better iPhone. Like many other tests, the findings indicate that each phone has its strengths and weaknesses.

In tests from Metrico, the firm found that the AT&T model downloaded twice as fast as its Verizon counterpart , but the mean load time for a Web page was about the same on both phones. AT&T also won the race when it came to completing download sessions while in a moving car, completing about 10 percent more of the tests when mobile.

When stationary, however, Verizon took the prize with -- you guessed it -- about a 10 percent better success rate. Other tests found that the Verizon iPhone ranked high in noise-canceling tests and about average on the quality of voice calls, but its data download speeds were below average when compared to other phones on its network. As for AT&T's iPhone, its call performance and Bluetooth quality are below average, though it topped the list of data performers.

The disparity between the Verizon and AT&T download speeds are much greater than other tests have indicated, but the results are generally in line with the other speed tests already out there. When Wired conducted speed tests in February, it found that AT&T iPhones were clear winners when it came to speed, but that Verizon was far more reliable.

Unsurprisingly, it also depends on where you live. Different regions of the country have different coverage issues. For example, AT&T is notorious for poor coverage in San Francisco but is great for most of D.C. Despite these disparities, local testers in Minnesota, Michigan and Denver have all found that there's no clear winner in the fight. Generally, these tests have also held that Verizon is better when it comes to reliability, but AT&T wins the speed test.

Related Stories:

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

Verizon iPhone 4 doesn't represent a huge advance over AT&T's

Verizon iPhone spurs new war of words with AT&T over networks

By Hayley Tsukayama  | March 9, 2011; 10:12 AM ET
Categories:  Mobile  
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Next: Will Sprint spell '4G' as 'LTE'? And will T-Mobile help with that rewrite?


Its more important to have greater coverage than raw speed. I've stayed with Verizon for >15 years as from inside forests, to 10 mi away from shore, or in farmlands, I'm the last to lose the capacity to receive or send calls, compared to my comrades who are on AT&T, or other carriers. Speed is a better attribute if you use multimedia heavily through the network via smartphones and can't stand buffer loads. But, AT&Ts policy of bandwidth limits shows that their high speed comes at a price as it quickly congests its backbones, whereas speed limiting in the CDMA network allows a form of rationing to distribute resources more evenly.

Posted by: saturation | March 9, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Would like to see similar comparisons between these two phones and the droids.

Posted by: rickd1342 | March 9, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

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