Nationwide Study Shows AT&T Has Fastest iPhone Data Speeds, Sprint Most Dropped Calls

According to a study by Metrico Wireless, a mobile performance measurement company, AT&T has the fastest iPhone 4S data speeds for both upload and download. Sprint's data speed is roughly five times slower, echoing earlier anecdotal reports of poor Sprint data connections.

In all, Metrico performed 21,000 Web page downloads nationwide with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 over the networks of the nation's largest three carriers. Metrico also ran more than 8,000 data download and upload tests and generated about 6,000 voice calls with recorded human voices. The tests were performed in a certified lab as well as several locations in five unnamed cities that Metrico called "representative of [network] conditions nationwide."

Metrico claims Sprint has the highest voice call quality on the uplink -- when the iPhone owner is speaking -- while AT&T had the highest quality on the downlink.

For dropped calls, something for which AT&T has been consistently criticized, Sprint comes out worst. Metrico claims Verizon experienced a 2.1% call failure rate while AT&T had 2.8% and Sprint was worst at 3.7%.

Computerworld noted that part of the intention of the nationwide study was to show "how performance problems in one city reported by the news media and bloggers shortly after a phone is launched can be less relevant over the entire network over time."

Top Rated Comments

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114 months ago
Wait, my iPhone can make a call?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
No surprises here...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago

I can't believe in this day and age, people still drop calls.

I'm surprised in this day and age that people still call one another ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
AT&T - You can tether your phone and talk at the same time, while getting 3 times the speed of Verizon.

Verizon - You can't tether your phone, you can't talk at the same time, and you get 1/3 the speed of Verizon

Sprint - Unlimited data at 1/10 the speed

All carriers, you get dropped calls. It depends on where you are and your carriers good/bad spots.


Now... we know why AT&T customers remain loyal and why Mr. Jobs chose AT&T and stuck with AT&T for 3 years exclusively.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
At least for me, this is very situational. Here in Boulder, every AT&T phone I've had drops when driving down Iris or when it's snowing. Under normal circumstances, never. I'm not defending or attacking them here, but it seems odd to treat it as a percentage chance per call when in my experience it's nothing of the sort.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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114 months ago
I think data speeds differ depending on the area, for all carriers. For midtown Manhattan, it's hard for me to imagine anything slower than AT&T.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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