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


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

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."

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


macrumors G4
Feb 10, 2011
About what one would have expected. Sprint has the slowest data speeds and most dropped calls. But at least they have unlimited data.


macrumors 68020
Sep 24, 2008
Blazer town!
that makes sense why 50% of sales go to ATT

and remaining is split between sprint and Verizon. (and to some extend 99C iPhone 3GS also)


macrumors 65816
Oct 1, 2007
hmm didn't have any dropped calls on sprint. Data is slow but only on iphones my nexus 4g is fast on 3g and even faster on 4g


macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
Elyria, Ohio
I used to be a Sprint customer, but I had a 'dumb phone'. Since I converted to the AT&T CAMP, I am use to fast, reliable service. However, I am sure there is a 'study' that implies that AT&T is the worst cell provider ever.


macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2009
Is this a fair study?

AT&T has the only "4G" iPhone. If they are using the HSPA+ or whatever it is called while the other carriers are using 3G, it's a mute point. Try using AT&T's actual 3G network. There is no way in hell the 4S and 4 are nearly equal on AT&T.


macrumors newbie
Dec 26, 2010
Am I missing something, or wasn't the iPhone 4 never available on Sprint? What's it doing on the chart?


macrumors newbie
Feb 17, 2009

sooo whats the point of having unlimited data if its slow as heck? cool i have unlimited data so i can wait for my app to download in 10 min! :confused:

and t-mobile having the fastest lol? doesn't ATT owns t-mobile hahah


macrumors 68000
Nov 18, 2009
About what one would have expected. Sprint has the slowest data speeds and most dropped calls. But at least they have unlimited data.
I love this line.

What good is unlimited data when its slow as a snail?

Couldn't be happier with my blazing fast unlimited data plan on AT&T with my 4S.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2010
I don't buy these numbers. They list 1.7mb as the max for sprint, but I've gotten over 2.0mb in a number of different cities. Not all the time of course, but I would have expected them to get a higher max value than that.


macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2008
Queens, NYC
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.


macrumors member
Feb 22, 2009
Sprint is like a beached wale that can't be put back into the ocean. Eventually it will die and the rest of the industry will devour it. I honestly believe that Sprint's policies are what is killing that company. And the people at the top are the ones implementing the policies. So basically they are gonna bring Sprint down.:eek:
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macrumors 6502
May 20, 2011
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.

Macboy Pro

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2011
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.
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