Yet another evidence to prove the fact that Sprint is really one of the best wireless providers in the country especially in reference to 3G coverage and speeds. I have always maintained in this forum about the strength of Sprint’s network compared to ATT and even Verizon in some cases (contrary to public opinion).

Here’s another piece of evidence – posting from Root Wireless’ study of different wireless providers’ 3G performance at CES.

The actual post can be found here. Reproducing below.


Wireless networks pushed to limits at CES

RCR Wireless, January 18, 2010, by Dan Meyer

The Consumer Electronics Show is many things. But one thing it is not is easy on mobile networks.

With more than 100,000 tech-savvy people crammed into a small and densely-packed set of building like the Las Vegas Convention Center, mobile networks are put to the ultimate test during the annual convention. Add to this the thousands of devices populating the convention center that are either shooting off wireless signals of their own or relying on a carrier’s cellular network and it’s a surprise any calls are ever completed.

At this year’s event, Root Wireless performed network testing using its crowdsourcing application loaded onto off-the-shelf smartphones purchased from the Big 4 carriers. The testing was conducted at a stationary location adjacent to the LVCC between 11 am and 5 pm and looked at download data transmission speeds, cell tower handoff rates and network connection failures.

“We were looking to simulate both a regularly loaded network with our baseline testing in the Las Vegas area before the show as well as a heavily loaded network during the show that a carrier and its customers might experience in dense markets like San Francisco and New York,” explained Root Wireless CEO Paul Griff.

The results:

The first day of testing was on Jan. 5, which was two days before the show officially opened. Root found that all of the carriers’ networks performed routinely with AT&T Mobility and Sprint Nextel Corp. scoring the fastest download network speeds at approximately 360 kilobits per second and 325 kbps respectively; Verizon Wireless’ network speeds were slightly slower at around 240 kbps, but on par with previous recordings for the carrier; and T-Mobile USA Inc.’s speeds were slower still at around 150 kbps, but also on par with previous recordings.

On Jan. 6, which though still a day before the official opening of the CES 2010 event did involve a number of pre-show activities at the LVCC and increasing crowds, witnessed a drop in network speeds for most carriers. AT&T Mobility saw its average throughput speeds drop to around 175 kbps; Sprint Nextel’s speeds dropped modestly to around 280 kbps; Verizon Wireless’ average download speeds dropped to around 180 kbps; and T-Mobile USA’s actually increased from around 150 kbps to 190 kbps.

For the first official show day, Jan. 7, Root software found AT&T Mobility’s network speeds moderate with only a slightly slower speed than the day before at around 170 kbps; Sprint Nextel’s network speeds dropped to around 220 kbps; Verizon Wireless’ average network speeds actually increased to approximately 225 kbps; while T-Mobile USA’s dipped to around 180 kbps.

The last day of testing, Jan. 8, witnessed a dramatic drop in AT&T Mobility’s network speeds to around 60 kbps; Sprint Nextel’s average download speeds dipped modestly to just over 200 kbps; Verizon Wireless showed continued improvement with average download speeds of around 260 kbps; and T-Mobile USA’s download speeds remained consistent at approximately 180 kbps.

Looking at the results, Root Wireless’ Griff said the company was surprised to see the dramatic drop in network speeds provided by AT&T Mobility’s network as the show progressed, adding that the results seemed to indicate that consumer complaints about network quality in heavily congested markets appears to be valid.

“What the numbers showed as that AT&T’s network started buckling under the pressure,” Griff said, noting that personal observations of devices being used on the show floor indicated a large number of smartphones operating on AT&T Mobility’s network, including a strong showing of Apple Inc.’s iPhones.

Griff also noted that he was impressed by the ability of Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA’s network to maintain a steady service level throughout the show, and that Sprint Nextel’s network remained similarly robust. This was a pleasant surprise for Verizon Wireless’ network as the carrier has a large number of customers and strong portfolio of smartphones, while Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA have a smaller overall piece of the market and corresponding number of data-hungry devices.

One surprising aspect of the results were the significantly lower data transmission speeds provided by the testing compared with the multi-megabits speeds often highlighted by carriers in their advertising or with speed testing conducted on a personal computer. Griff noted that Root Wireless’ methods involve using mobile devices only and that instead of the larger packets of data often used for PC-based speed tests, Root Wireless’ application uses smaller packets of data more in line with what a smartphone user will be looking to transmit.

“We are trying to set more realistic expectations for consumers,” Griff said.

Advertisements