In a dramatic improvement since last spring, AT&T has defeated the three closest competitors in a PCWorld speed and reliability challenge. Carriers Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon were also tested for download and upload speeds in thirteen cities.
AT&T won download speed tests against all competitors everywhere except for Denver and Phoenix, where the carrier lost to T-Mobile by a slight margin. Reliability scores for AT&T were highest in Phoenix, Portland and Seattle, where they topped out at 100%.
The lowest reliability scores for AT&T were 85% in San Diego and San Francisco. Still, the AT&T network experienced a 40% speed increase in San Francisco since spring 2009, the date of the last test.
PCWorld ran 51,000 separate tests covering 850 square miles to measure download and upload speeds. AT&T leads the group with download speeds an average of 67 percent faster than its competitors, clocking 1410 kbps on average. Verizon came in second place with an average of 877 kbps.Even more interesting was the fact that overall average download speeds using the iPhone on AT&T beat the Droid on Verizon by 184 kbps. According to the PCWorld wireless performance test results, "the AT&T and iPhone combo turned in the fastest average speeds–downstream and upstream–of the four carrier/smartphone combinations we tested, outperforming its rivals in more than three-fourths of the cities we sampled."
AT&T's heavy network investments seem to be paying off, and it couldn't come at a better time for the company. After several network issues and some bad press, this research is welcome news for the exclusive carrier of the iPhone.