Verizon - AT&T LTE Comparison - Manhattan, NYC (speedtest)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ddarko, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. ddarko, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    ddarko macrumors 6502

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    May 7, 2007
    #1
    AT&T service in Manhattan has been a real problem for me and I've thought seriously about switching to Verizon. However, I was concerned Verizon's LTE has many users already and would be saturated. Testing by some publication like PC Magazine seemed to hint that would be an issue - its last survey says Verizon's LTE average download in NYC was 6.51 mbps versus AT&T's 16.03. On the other hand, Verizon's average upload was twice as fast as AT&T's (6.39 vs. 3.46). Pretty big gaps on both sides. The consensus seemed to be Verizon was slower but more consistent. I want reliability as much as anyone else but really didn't want to take such a big hit in speed.

    Yesterday, I got both an AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5 to see how they compare where I work and live. I've been running speedtests as I travel around Manhattan. It was mostly done as far west as 57th and 11th Avenue to the far east as 43rd and Third Avenue with various spots in between. Although the results below are all from Saturday, September 22, I also did a bunch of test yesterday during business hours around Grand Central and the results weren't that different. Here are the results:

    AT&T LTE:

    [​IMG]

    Verizon LTE:

    [​IMG]

    Three things:

    1) AT&T had faster upload more consistently than Verizon. It's not that Verizon didn't have upload as fast - it did but overall, I'd say AT&T was fast more often. That's different from PC Mag's testing. I wouldn't put too much weight on those slow Verizon uploads. They were anomalies. Verizon uploads were much more frequently in the 10+ range like the top two results.

    2) Verizon download is much faster than expected. Also different from PC Magazine. Verizon traded blows with AT&T. Although AT&T had the fastest download I saw, Verizon had plenty of downloads in the 20s range, though they're not shown in the screenshot above.

    3) Indoor reception seems about the same which is a HUGE improvement for AT&T. At work on 43rd and Third Avenue, AT&T LTE works at my desk where my AT&T iPhone 4 is completely unusable. Verizon LTE is as good as the AT&T LTE, if not better. At home, on the far west side of midtown, AT&T LTE holds it signal better inside than Verizon, which has a little more trouble staying locked into LTE in my apartment and hallways. I think this is entirely dependent on where you are - I think AT&T cell coverage is more dense where i live but where you are, Verizon may be more dense and building penetration better. I don't think it reflects any inherent superiority.

    Overall, I am pleasantly surprised that Verizon LTE has held up so well though it has many more LTE users. I also give props to AT&T - its LTE service is fast and usable in time and areas where its 3G service fails. AT&T is wicked fast in the areas of Manhattan I was, even during business hours in midtown which was/is a huge weakness for its 3G service. Now which to pick? Hmmm.....
     
  2. nyjets macrumors member

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    Jun 28, 2011
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    CT
    #2
    Thanks for the comparison!
    Did you go to Union Square? I live right around there but I'm away for the weekend and won't be able to test it until Monday.
     
  3. bogatyr macrumors 65816

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    Mar 13, 2012
    #3
    Without tethering, #1 and #2 don't matter. Both LTE services offer enough speed for your phone that you won't notice the difference outside of a speedtest app. If you're tethering - then they matter. However there isn't an unlimited tethering plan on ATT and on Verizon it requires you to buy your phone unsubsidized and is usually not worthwhile unless it replaces your home internet.

    Which leaves #3 as king. Reception for where you go throughout the day should be the number one priority for anyone. It will also change from person to person as their travels differ.
     
  4. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    Philadelphia
  5. ddarko thread starter macrumors 6502

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    May 7, 2007
    #5
    Not yet, I'll go around more tomorrow, I'm at work today.

    Don't disagree with your overall conclusion but there are occasions outside benchmarks where the difference can be seen. When I emailed the screenshots from the two phones to myself, Verizon was noticeably faster. In the big picture, does it matter? No, we're talking maybe five seconds but that's a noticeable difference with a commonplace task like uploading photos. However, it's not consistent. If I had uploaded those same photos 15 minutes later, I think there's a good chance AT&T would have been faster than Verizon. The two LTE networks are pretty much equal.
     
  6. wiivile macrumors regular

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    Sep 13, 2012
    #6
    None of these speedtest results count. Try again on an actual business day, in midtown, during lunch hour, and re-post.
     
  7. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #7
    This has been my argument. I don't know how AT&T HSPA 4S speeds are in NYC but when I compared my AT&T 4S to VZW LTE devices in Philly you don't notice significant differences with side by side comparison.
     
  8. ddarko, Sep 22, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012

    ddarko thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I said in my original post that I ran a bunch of speedtests yesterday and they were in line with the results above. That's why I think AT&T LTE - and Verizon - works well during business hours in midtown where I work. It wasn't based on what I saw today on Saturday. The benches yesterday were done after 2 pm (lunch hour) around Third Ave/Lexington Ave and 43rd street, across from Grand Central (midtown and incidentally, surprised to discover no AT&T LTE inside Grand Central Station). I wish I had those speedtest results to post but I didn't save them before restoring the phones to backup when I got home last night.
     
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #9
    I did that yesterday in Midtown and was getting about 10Mbps on AT&T down and up. We have an AT&T tower at the top of our building and so AT&T does quite well here, though even "4G" HSPA+ usually maxed out around 1Mbps during the week.

    I also have a Verizon LTE iPad. Verizon gets good reception on the lower floors of my building, but up on my floor it is very weak. Usually I'm on 3G or even 2G if I get a signal at all. On the lower floors its the reverse. Verizon flies and AT&T struggles.

    Overall, my building notwithstanding, Verizon is pretty good in NYC. AT&T's LTE is faster but we'll see what happens now that iPhone users will start flooding the network.
     
  10. Vengeful macrumors member

    Vengeful

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #10
    I'm having bad Verizon LTE reception and download speeds in midtown :( having switched from Att LTE its very disappointing.
     
  11. mcdj, Sep 25, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012

    mcdj macrumors G3

    mcdj

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    Jul 10, 2007
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    NYC
    #11
    Because everyone who wants a speedy connection is located in midtown at noon? Just because YOU want a fast connection while you wolf down your 99 cent slice at 43rd and Lex in your Today's Man suit doesn't mean the entire rest of the city's speed tests don't count.

    In fact, there are likely as many iphone toting beardo hipsters hanging out on the streets of Billyburg at noon on a Tuesday as there are middle management warriors in Midclown.
     
  12. jps1012 macrumors 6502a

    jps1012

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    NYC
    #12
    Upper East Side has really good AT&T LTE. The best I got wass 44 down 25 up.
     
  13. brotherj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    #13
    As an iPhone 4 owner on AT&T, I've had a frustrating experience with dropped calls in the UES area.

    I'm wondering: when it comes to phone call quality and reception, what has been your experience so far on the iPhone 5?
     
  14. jps1012 macrumors 6502a

    jps1012

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    NYC
    #14
    I don't use my iPhone as a "phone" too much but so far I have not have had a problems with the iphone 5 like I did with my iphone 4.
     
  15. mpossoff macrumors 68020

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #15
    This is why I think speed tests are not really relevant. What's important is real world application.

    The question should be does your iPhone perform?

    Before the iPhone 5 when I had my AT&T 4S I compared it to VZW LTE devices. With a side by side comparison there wasn't significant difference 'to write home about'. Ok VZW LTE loaded YouTube videos 1-2 seconds faster, not significant enough for me.

    Question is does your LTE iPhone 5 perform?
     

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