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The Fastest 4G? It's No Contest

by on May 13, 2011
in Phones and Mobile, News, Cell Phones, Blog, Tech 101 :: 3 comments

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, everywhere we look ads are popping up advertising superfast "4G" networks. But what is 4G anyway and who really has it?

Originally, the term 4G referred to any mobile technology that could support speeds over 100Mbps. None of the carrier networks come anywhere close to this speed. The standards body that sets these rules, the International Telecommunication Union, recently issued a press release that muddied the definition and gave the carriers leeway to call basically any improvement over 3G technology "4G". So much for standards bodies...

What's really important to us as consumers, though, is not whether a network is 3G or 4G, but simply how fast it is. And in our testing of nearly every "4G" phone on the market, it's no contest. Verizon's LTE network is the hands-down winner.

During our review of the Samsung Charge for Verizon, we got jaw-dropping peak download speeds of over 21Mbps. That's more than 5x faster than anything we've seen on T-Mobile or AT&T's current 4G networks (AT&T will have an LTE network soon, though) and 3x faster than what we've seen on Sprint. In fact, that's probably faster than the Internet connection in your home.

The flip side is that Verizon's LTE network hasn't rolled out in very many places, and Verizon's 3G CDMA network has been far slower than T-Mobile and AT&T's 3G networks in our testing. So where you live should be a major consideration when deciding which carrier to go with.



Discussion loading

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Nice to see some honesty...

From Mark van der Hoek on May 16, 2011 :: 10:31 pm

Thanks for pointing out that “4G” is really little more than marketing hype at this point.  Your conclusion is correct - LTE is the current winner.  WiMAX (Clearwire/Sprint) may catch up some, but I think LTE is going to be the one to watch.

Of course, it all comes down to coverage.  It doesn’t really matter if XYZ is the fastest, if it’s not available where YOU need it!

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Yes, where you live is

From Dan on May 26, 2011 :: 7:20 am

Yes, where you live is still a very major issue when selecting which carrier to subscribe with. Services vary all over the country, so be sure you check your local area before signing a contract.

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Verizon 4g phones maybe fast,

From Jeannie on June 08, 2011 :: 7:45 pm

Verizon 4g phones maybe fast, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT get their 4g modem.  First the Pantech modem has problems and they don’t tell you that when you buy it.  All you do is go off line constantly.  It took about 4 phones call to they tech support before anyone told me that the modem had problems.  When I went to the Verizon store to complain, they acted like it was my fault that I was having problems because evertthing worked ok there.  As for their tech support, the guy that I talked to said that he would call me back in a couple of days.  That was in February and I am still waiting for him to call me back. They traded my modems and the VL600 LTE modem is almost as bad. They never sent me the software program for the new modem.  I was told to download the program.  Yeah right, I could not stay on line long enough to do it. so far, I have called tech support on this modem 3 times and I am still having problems with it.  As for 4g speed, it seems that my 3g was faster.  If any thing, save your money and a lot of headaches and do not get their wireless 4g modem.  Believe me, it is nothing but problems.  I am going to go to a different company for my wireless modem.  I will pay the $150 early termination fee, because it will be worth it, alot less headaches.

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