AT&T vs Verizon iPhone 5: 4G LTE Speed Test (San Francisco)

AT&T 4G LTE and Verizon 4G LTE speeds are virtually tied in our first batch of iPhone 5 speed tests. Both are faster than many home Internet connections, which will simply amaze users upgrading from 3G phones, such as the iPhone 4S.

Choosing the right iPhone 5 carrier is much more important than choosing a color or storage capacity. Unfortunately, there’s no single perfect iPhone 5 carrier for everyone. Each carrier has its advantages and disadvantages.

iphone-5-review- 6For some users, 4G LTE download and upload speeds are a priority, while others value features like unlimited data and simultaneous talk and Web browsing. You’ll notice that we’re leaving the Sprint iPhone 5 out of our comparisons. That’s because Sprint’s 4G LTE network isn’t available in most places, including the San Francisco Bay Area.

AT&T vs Verizon iPhone 4G LTE Speed Test

In this video we demonstrate how fast the AT&T and Verizon 4G LTE and download speeds are near the highest point of San Francisco, the city that’s notorious for poor cell phone coverage because of its numerous bills and old buildings. Apple often demonstrates iOS features and new features, such as its Maps app and Siri, in San Francisco, so there’s no better city to see how the iPhone 5 performs in the wild.

We ran the first round of speed tests in my home, which is near the top of Mt. Davidson, San Francisco’s highest peak. We will be running multiple speed tests in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country to compare iPhone 5 4G LTE networks.

Here is a demonstration of how fast the iPhone 5 runs on AT&T’s and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks using the Speedtest.net app. Both the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5 were connected to the same Speedtest.net server, which is about 1.5 mile from my house.  The Verizon iPhone 5 bounces between two and three bars and the AT&T iPhone 5 bounces between three and four signal bars. Both phones had strong data connections, though their 4G LTE speeds were slower than what we’ve observed in commercial areas.

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It’s important to note that 4G LTE speeds and availability vary block by block, house by house. In fact, data speeds and call quality varies within some individual houses and buildings. If 4G LTE speeds really play  into your iPhone 5 buying decision, we recommend asking friends and family members to run speed tests for you at your home, school, work and other places you frequent that don’t have open Wi-Fi networks.

At 10.21 Mbps, the Verizon iPhone 5 scored the fastest individual download test, which is slightly faster than AT&T iPhone 5′s fastest score of 9.69 Mbps. The AT&T iPhone 5 had the fastest upload speed average, with a top score of 16.20 Mbps, which is 2.33 Mbps faster than the Verizon iPhone 5′s best score.

These are hardly the fastest scores we’ve seen from Verizon and AT&T 4G LTE, but that’s okay. These kind of speeds are more than fast enough to download large files and stream video reliably. In fact, both networks are faster than many home Internet connections. In fact, the AT&T iPhone 5 was slightly faster than my Wi-Fi network, which relies on a 50 Mbps Comcast Blast connection. I have seen much faster speed test results on my Comcast connection in the past, but Comcast speeds vary, just like every other network.

Of course you’ll want to watch out for data caps as overage fees can really add up when your phone is capable of gobbling up GB at a rapid pace.

iPhone 5 Verizon 4G LTE Speed Test Results
  • 8.52 Mbps download, 13.87 Mbps upload, 39 ms ping
  • 7.47 Mbps download, 13.70 Mbps upload, 38 ms ping
  • 10.21 Mbps download, 13.81 Mbps upload, 38 ms ping

iPhone 5 on AT&T 4G LTE Speed Test Results

  • 9.32 Mbps download, 13.69 Mbps upload, 47 ms ping
  • 9.11 Mbps download, 13.88 Mbps upload, 47 ms ping
  • 9.69 Mbps download, 16.20 Mbps upload, 48 ms ping
  • 8.96 Mbps download, 15.83 Mbps upload, 40 ms ping
iPhone 5 over Wi-Fi (Comcast Blast 50 Mbps) Speed Test Results
  • 8.52 Mbps download, 13.87 Mbps upload, 39 ms ping

Comments

  1. Chais says

    Well I can tell you my home ISP don’t vairy that much. Verizon’s fios. I have 150/65. I have never seen less than 155/75. But here in New England I prefer AT&T as my cell carrier. Not because of reception (which is good). But because unlike AT&T you cannot speak on the phone while surfing the web. Having that luxury would be to hard to give up!

  2. breakdown says

    I think you made a mistake here: Verizon iPhone 5 with LTE (when connected to LTE) – you can talk on the phone and use the web on the phone at the same time. You video seem to say otherwise. This is also true of Verizon LTE Android devices. I’ve been able to do this since I got my Thunderbolt.

    Have a fantastic day,

    Breakdown

    • Xavier Lanier says

      That’s the case with other Verizon 4G LTE phones, but the iPhone 5 cannot load data over LTE or 3G while on a call. The AT&T version can do simultaneous voice and data

  3. corymcnutt says

    Does it make a difference that there are more LTE users, at present, on the Verizon network? Just asking.

  4. hookem says

    Austin, TX with AT&T iPhone 5 — After 47 speed tests at different times in different areas my average download speed is 33 mbps and my average upload is 17 mbps. My highest for each was 63 download, 26 upload. My lowest for each was 8.75 download and 3.33 upload

  5. Kenny says

    speed test in providence RI At&T LTE

    ping 60ms
    download 50.38 mbps
    upload 19.42

    words can’t describe how fast it is here. very happy with AT&T

    • wilburngroup says

      kenny,

      that’s great news for providence. Do you have this experience only in Providence or can you go outside the city and get comparable speeds?

      Thanks,

      • Kenny says

        MY experience is mainly providence, Cranston, Warwick, pawtucket area of RI I would say average DL is 40-45 Mbps, but coverage can be spotty when you can’t find it,

        also just drove from RI to NY and had LTE about 50% of the time, average DL of 25-30 Mbps
        My guess is AT&T is lining I-95 with LTE towers seeing how I consistently had LTE

        New test

        Ping 72
        DL 62.36
        UL 17.16

        Elmwood section of Prividence

        • Chais says

          I’m in north Smithfield. I don’t have LTE in my town. But Warwick, Cranston, providence, I get LTE there. With great speeds! I work in Walpole ma. I get great speeds there also. Worcester has LTE. I get the same there. On average my att iPhone 5 when on LTE gets from 15-55 MB/s. mostly on the high end. Very happy with att.

    • Patrick says

      Sprint LTE is very much on par with VZW and ATT. In DFW I’m averaging about 12 to 15 down and 8 to 13 up with bursts of 35mbps down. If you go with Sprint just be patient if you are in one of their announced markets. Austin Tx, my home is coming to life. Im seeing LTE pop up tower by tower.

  6. Ron says

    Anyone know when Sprint will offer 4G LTE in the San Francisco Bay Area? (I can’t find that info. anywhere). The reason I ask is that at my house Sprint gets by far the best call reception (but of course that’s with an older phone and 3G). ??

    • Ron says

      I called Sprint and was advised that San Francisco will have 4G LTE coverage by or before the end of the year.

  7. Boyd Petersen says

    I have been getting 50 download and 18 upload on AT&T LTE here north of Atlanta, GA. Got as high as 64 and as low as 25 depending on signal strength.

  8. Javier says

    Very impressed with San Antonios speeds. Lte speed test came in at 53 down and 14 upload. 59 ping. Loving it.

  9. Mike L. says

    I did several LTE tests with the speed test app today. I got over 26Mb down, 20Mb up everytime … I have iPhone 5, At&t. My friend did the test at the same time with her iPhone 4S (Sprint) and can’t get even 1Mb.

    • Rafael Costabella Cantu says

      That’s because the 4S is not 4G. The 4G icon merely means you are in a 4G network area. The phone does not have a 4G radio built into it. The iPhone 5 does. ATT tricked people into thinking that IOS 5 made the 4S a 4G, which is bull$hit. Check the Apple.com website that shows the actual specs.

      • Doom says

        The AT&T version of the iPhone 4S runs on a system called HSPA+ which is considered a 4G network technology. Compared data speeds for an iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on AT&T will give a significant speed difference using the same tests. 0.91mbps download and 0.81mbps upload with 98ms ping on iPhone 4 and 2.09mbps download and 0.56mpbs with 130ms ping on iPhone 4S.

  10. Mike says

    AT&T LTE in Las Vegas 56.40 down/23.37up … pretty impressive but let’s be honest: no matter what provider you use, and where do you live, we all know that so far, we can only dream about getting the 50+ Mbps all the time.

  11. Fabian says

    FWIW, I’ve gotten some CRAZY numbers with my iPhone 5′s LTE…

    I got 59.64 down, 22.28 up with a 70 ms ping while I was up at the Fuddruckers in Union City.

    Today, I hit 65.41 down, 22.95 up with a 77 ms ping while at Amato’s on Saratoga Ave., in San Jose.

    At home, I gotten 32.75 down, 6.14 up with a 39 ms ping over Wi-Fi (802.11n @ 5 GHz).

  12. Nakuchima says

    in maryland (baltimore) i got 67 down and 12 up with Verizon 4G LTE its really impressive. My friend who has iPhone 5 in the same area (baltimore) gets 24 down and 6 up on 4G LTE. AT&T is a big letdown

    • AJ says

      Are you able to use data (example looking up mapping or websites) while on speakerphone?? I’ve been getting mixed answers regarding use of data while using the iphone5 for phone calls at the same time????

  13. XiangWu says

    wtf I get 50-65MBPS DL and 25~30UP on Rogers @Canada
    and 50 MBPS dl and 4mbps up on wifi…

  14. HDBoy says

    The testmy.net Web site provides far more accurate, real-world speed test results for Internet services than Speedtest.net, especially when measuring Comcast. The cable company’s “Powerboost” service (on all accounts) fools most test sites and Speedtest is no different.

    From Comcast’s Web site:
    PowerBoost™ a network technology developed by Comcast which will help you download and upload large files to the Internet faster than ever before. While you are downloading files like video games or movies, Comcast PowerBoost™ literally “boosts” your download speed, up to 15 mbps. Large files including photos, games, music and software will download and upload at a much faster rate. The burst of speed from Comcast PowerBoost™ occurs during the first 10 MB of downloaded files, and the first 5 MB of uploaded files.

    For one thing, most of the speed test services don’t measure Comcast test results long enough to get past the temporary Powerboost technology and accurately measure real upload and download times. For another, the results from these untrustworthy measuring sites almost never fluctuate, even when Comcast services slow to crawl during daily, peak usage periods around 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. The reality is that most measuring sites simply report the provisioned speed for your Comcast account, not your actual speed test results. Finally, Flash-based speed tests are notoriously unreliable.

    The free testmy.net service isn’t Flash-based, has no contracts with Internet Service Providers, allows you to specify file sizes for tests (up to 50MB) and to log, chart and save tests which, in turn, allows you to document the shocking fluctuations in cable Internet service). It also displays your provisioned speed and actual (test) speed. I have twice used this feature to prove to Comcast field supervisors that over several months, the company was delivering no better than 8Mbs service when we were paying for 25 Mbps service. As it turned out, in our case, Comcast was systematically reducing our provisioned speed after a few of upgraded speed.

    In my view, testmy.net is the ONLY accurate speed test service available.

    • Mackeyser says

      I tried testmy.net and it simply didn’t work. I have 75/35 FiOS and via Ookla speedtests all over the country as well as VERY large file transfers (direct Beta and PTR World of Warcraft files for example ran from 6GB to 21GB) and I sustained 10MB/s. That’s 80Megabits per second. MORE than what I was paying for and that’s before calculating the inherent overhead resultant in the collision topology upon which the internet is based (hence, why we have dropped packets instead of tokens… yeah, I used to work on token ring. I’m old).

      Even from Verizon, even though they advertise that only their 100Mb/s customers need to use the new, upgraded network speedtest tool. I have found that even at speeds approaching 80Mbps, the traditional tools tend to fail to 1/10th or so of the capacity and just stall.

      Bottom line is that below 70Mbps, testmy.net is probably a really good real world tool. That said, I’ve got hundreds of Gigs if not terabytes of real world downloads at this point that show that both testmy.net as well as other tools simply don’t work for larger bandwidth pipes. At least not for me. I mean, I can right now initiate a download and get 8+MBps, yet testmy.net says I’m only getting between 8-10Mbps.

      /shrug. Tools like these are helpful to a point. Ultimately, the end user will need to pay attention to their download and upload rates and establish what they actually get *in use*. And that can’t be determined by any tool since the variables which especially with 4G LTE data throughput can vary substantially can’t be reliably replicated by any testing tool.

      The best a tool can do is give a snapshot based on “what’s happenin’ right now”.

      Oh, and the reason we see 4G LTE phones having higher data rates using their 4G chips than in their Wi-Fi is because most routers don’t support the higher Wi-Fi data rates. The only way Verizon gives the router that supports the higher Wi-Fi data rates is with 100/35 or higher FiOS internet speeds. Otherwise, the customer has to buy the router.

      Check with your ISP to see if they even support a router that has 802.11N. 802.11G supports speed up to 54Mbps, but that’s rarely achieved and most users are lucky to get half that. 802.11N supports speeds up to 300Mbps.

      Which means we’re good for two more generations of phones…/smirk.

  15. Susan says

    I don’t really mind if 2 carriers have speeds within 10% of each other. Both are extremely fast. (And will always vary, city to city, day to day, anyway.)

    I *DO* care that Verizon has 5 *TIMES* as many LTE cities than AT&T.

  16. JoanieOne says

    I just got my smartphone in Atlanta with AT&T and the 4GLTe on mine is better than the verizon same is on my sister’s phone. I style hair and need to be quick between appointments. This works fo rme.

  17. David says

    On T-Mobile in Northern California 45ms, 9.98 Down, 4.31 Up AND I can Talk and Surf at the same time at only $30 a month

  18. Theguy says

    Miami att, 50mbps download and 45mbps upload
    Note, 3G is still fairly fast- i got 5.17 download and 3.45 upload

  19. Denis says

    Thanks for this very helpful post. I’m about to switch to an iPhone 5 and possibly switch carriers, so this was extremely informative. Cheers!

  20. James says

    Here in Knoxville, Tn

    LTE
    Ping 59 ms
    47.70 Mbps down
    16.24 Mbps up

    HSPA+
    Ping 118 ms
    10.90 Mbps down
    1.26 Mbps up

    You have really slow LTE speeds there in SF!

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