Verizon iPhone vs AT&T iPhone Speed Test Results: AT&T 3G is Faster

Feb 3, 2011 - 29 Comments


Wondering how fast data transfer is on the Verizon iPhone 4 versus the AT&T iPhone 4? If you’re concerned about maximum 3G transfer speeds, AT&T may be your network.

As you can see in the graphic above, SpeedTest results show that iPhone 4 downloads and uploads were considerably faster on the AT&T network when compared to the Verizon network. In Engadgets testing, download speeds through AT&T reached a maximum of 3.57 Mbps versus a maximum of 1.32 Mbps on Verizon. The margin for uploads was similar, with AT&T’s upload speed reaching 1.39 Mbps vs a peak of 0.54 MBps uploading through Verizon. This is not to say that the Verizon 3G network is slow, it’s just slower than AT&T’s.

The one exception is Verizon’s faster network latency. In certain situations the slower ping on AT&T’s network could make some transfer feel slower just because there’s a longer response time before data begins transferring.

The speed test in the above image was performed by Engadget but their results weren’t unique, several other early reviewers have found the same conclusions, although not always with such a stark difference. Here is Wired confirming that AT&T is faster than Verizon:

Verizon’s 3G-transfer rates are slower than AT&T’s… The AT&T handset on average scored significantly better in speed tests: 62 percent faster for downloads and 38 percent faster for uploads.

How does this play out in day to day use? Wired again:

In real-world use cases, the Verizon iPhone’s slower transfer rates are noticeable. Netflix streaming is smooth on both devices, but on the Verizon iPhone, compression artifacts are more apparent: The video stream is adapting to the slower transfer rate. Loading websites in Safari was faster on the AT&T iPhone, and so was installing apps.

Not all grass is green on the AT&T side though, both Engadget and Wired note that AT&T’s network is less reliable and has reduced voice quality during phone calls.

How much does 3G internet speed matter? This depends on how often you transfer data, for someone who tethers their iPhone with MyWi this is obviously more important than to my Mom who just wants to send a few emails and make reliable phone calls. The importance of transfer speeds really comes down to how you use your iPhone.

You can test your own iPhone network speeds with SpeedTest from the App Store, it’s free.


Related articles:

Posted by: Matt Chan in iPhone


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  1. INYC says:

    Found a solution. Watch YouTube through safari and not the app and it works smoothly!

  2. INYC says:

    What about both phOnes on wi-fi. I have my AT&T 3GS and Verizon 4s both on the same network and the 3GS immediately starts to play videos while there is a significant latency with the 4s.

  3. Lexi says:

    Iphones are stupied because they use ur megabites to fast and that’s retared

  4. […] Verizon iPhone vs AT&T iPhone Speed Posts Related to Verizon Speed TestVerizon AC30 Browsing HistoryiPad Data Plan, How to Choose?Pay as You Go DongleCan wii connect to mobile hotspotWIFI Booter for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad Review 09 Oct 2011 Author febi Category […]

  5. j.r. says:

    all they talk about is how fast there 4G is but you cant get it anywhere yet. and if you do it sucks i have the thunderbolt and i can not get any service in any city i go and i travel all over the country.. VERIZON IS GARBAGE!

  6. […] reporting various problems with the iPhone on big reds network. Slower data was shown to be more prevalent with Verizon. And its more expensive to go the iPhone route on Verizon. But one thing remains which […]

  7. Hontiponte says:

    I have the Verizon iPhone and so far I really like it. No drop calls. Sorry At&t

  8. CR says:

    I switched to Verizon iPhone from AT&T iPhone. It’s been about 3 weeks. No dropped calls yet. In southern Oregon the service is so spotty with AT&T that I would drop about 10 calls a day or whoever I would talk to could not hear me. I am very happy I switched carriers. I grew to hate AT&T. For me there is no contest as I have excellent service with Verizon everywhere I go. I feel sorry for people who have AT&T because the service 3G,4g, whatever sucks!

  9. […] in the end it came down to speed. AT&T’s network is just faster, much faster by some estimates. I need speed. It doesn’t hurt that AT&T is giving away a free month of data on new […]

  10. […] connectivity performance tests. Note, these are not studies – just anecdotal data points. Example……9:40amView All 0 CommentsCannot add comment at this time.  Scott Tobin, Search engine […]

  11. Zachary says:

    I just ran a app speed test on my iPhone running on AT&T 3G 4 bars and had a 4.22 Mbps download and a 1.22 Mbps upload. That Cnet info is definitely wrong. Verizon 3G=SLOW.

  12. John says:

    I have had my verizon iphone for 10 days.
    The Good – I have not had one dropped call. NOT ONE…
    But, the data speeds are very slow. I average 600 kB/s, not even 1 meg a second on down load for data. The fastest speed from my verizon iphone data test was inside the verizon store at 1.3 kB/s. So I asked the manager what the hells wrong with the data being so slow. The answer was “you need to get a 4G phone”. They said “1 meg per second is a good down load speed for 3G”. For me 600 kB/s does not cut it for a $30 a month – sloooow data plan. It’s unlimited data but hell at 600 kB/s the hotspot feature is worthless. I will return my purchase and wait for the 4G iphone or go to an android with 4G.

  13. Sean says:

    If you don’t care about speed, then why do you buy smartphone at all? What is the point of having smartphone, so called tech geeks? It’s got to be both. Without speed or reliabilities, using high-tech smartphone will not be very pleasant.

  14. […] showed you that AT&T’s iPhone data transfer speeds are faster than Verizons network in a speed test by a significant margin, but if you aren’t a heavy 3G data user do you care about those […]

  15. Rich says:

    Check out CNET’s test results…. They show the exact opposite in their “Real World” tests…. Now what?

    • HCWHunter says:

      CNET doesn’t give any details or supporting info to support their claim that Verizon iPhone was faster than the ATT iphone most of the time. Engadget, Wired, and did multiple tests at multiple locations and the ATT network was consistently faster and significantly faster too! The results are from all over the country.

  16. MrFixIt says:

    I agree. I feel that is a give or take and where you live and work. Some areas for Verizon suck and the same applies with AT&T. I care more about data speeds since I spend more time browsing and using data related apps. The other thing is the ability to talk and use data at the same time. Verizon doesn’t offer that. It’s NOT a phone thing, its a carrier thing. That would be why Verizon is more reliable for voice quality because its not allowing anything else to come in. For me however, I can be on the phone and get email or browse or use logmein or or support apps all at the same time. Thats HUGE.

  17. Wow says:

    jim and joe – sorry, but you missed the boat on this. I am assuming you know that AT&T and Verizon use different towers, right? Assume the AT&T tower is 5 feet away and the Verizon tower is 5 miles… setting aside all other assumptions, I am also sure you realize there’d be a difference in signal strength, and further, data quality, and lastly, data throughput, or bandwidth.

    To your other point, I also assume you know my point had nothing to do with iPhones, so substituting all smart phones in my statement means that cell towers “breathe,” throttling bandwidth with the number of users on any tower at any given time.

    So, giving you all that credit, I’m not sure why’d you’d disagree.

    By the way, I am a proud, happy AT&T iphone guy and have been since the 1st gen iPhone in 2007.

    • The Professor says:

      Look at the image of the two phones. Apparently, you’re not taking into account the signal strength is the same on both phones, the battery power is only a single percentage different, and the tests were all run at virtually the same time. Point here is that at any given location, where signal strength is “The Same Number of Bars” (seeing that Verizon advertises more of them), AT&T wins the data speed test….. hands-down! Oh, and one thing that wasn’t touched on, is that along with the faster data speeds, AT&T phones are able to multitask, that is, being on a call while using that data. Your Verizon phones will not be able to talk and surf at the same time… for quite some time.

  18. Brian says:

    Doesn’t matter to me I have verizon on my Driod and it is fast enough and I am a technology geek. What I do care about is a good signal, and AT&T doesn’t offer that.

  19. joe says:

    I agree with Jim. AT&T’s network is supporting about %60 smartphone right now, verizon is at about %10. If this is what their speeds are now, its only going to get much much worse as they absorb about 10 million or so new customers with iphone launch, as well as all the upgrades they will be doing to Iphones. Verizons data network is in trouble.

  20. […] The takeaway from all this Verizon vs AT&T stuff is this: you can make clearer phone calls with Verizon, but AT&T’s 3G speed is faster. […]

  21. Jim says:

    It doesn’t matter what towers were used in relation to the test unit. It uses what it uses. By your mentality, the AT&T speed would still be faster if it used the same “closer” tower as the Verizon one. Verizon has virtually no iPhone users yet (probably a dozen or so on the network – outside of Apple & Verizon employees), so it’s only going to get worse.

    I find it comical that I’m already seeing people complain about the fact that Verizon’s website being unresponsive after pre-orders opened up. These are the same douchebags that probably bagged on AT&T when the same thing happened, and bragged about how great Verizon is.

    • Jose says:

      Can’t wait until the iPhone cones out on verizon and then they get criticized for the same thing that happened to AT&T, now we will see who handles the situation better. Personally I think AT&T will come out on top. FYI I typed this on my AT&T iPhone.

  22. Dumbstruck says:

    A bit disappointed in this sloppy reporting.

    Where are the respective towers in relation to the test units (as speed is directly correlated to signal strength which is correlated to range)? And how many people were ‘connected’ into the towers at the time of the tests (not a bandwidth issue, but cell tower power output one? Without those two data points, you’re conclusions, and the ones you quote, are pretty meaningless. Sloppy.

    • MrFixIt says:

      Its not sloppy, its facts. I have Verizon phones and I have an AT&T iPhone and it doesn’t matter where I am, AT&T blows Verizon out the water with 3G speeds. Now when the iPhone 5 or whatever comes out on a 4G network, Verizon’s 4G is impressive, but AT&T roll out seems aggressive and probably will top Verizon.

      • Jason says:

        You are definitely right about that. I already knew that ATT will make 4G LTE technology more better on iPhone 5 than Verizon. A plus to you.

    • Greg Johnson says:

      Dumbstruck indeed.

      No end user is concerned with how many people are on each tower or where those towers are located.

      We care about how fast data is going in and out of our phone. And it’s very, very clear that AT&T has Verizon beat in that department.

  23. Carson says:

    Reliability vs Speed

    It’s almost like a classic Mac vs PC debate isn’t it??

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