When the iPhone had debuted in the summer of 2007, AT&T was both praised for offering Apple’s lucrative smartphone and slammed for its congested network as many more people signed on with the iPhone-exclusive carrier. There were reports of dropped calls, undelivered text messages, and poor data performance as the iPhone hogged up AT&T’s bandwidth, towers, and resources. Those days are long gone as AT&T has done a lot to improve its network since 2007. It’s now using a much faster LTE network and has added more discrete antennas throughout San Francisco and the carrier is now ranked first place in network performance with a score that ties that of Verizon Wireless.
The report and testing was conducted by independent research firm RootMetrics. AT&T edged out Verizon in the data category with overall more consistent data speeds on its 4G HSPA+ and 4G LTE networks in the San Francisco Bay Area. Verizon edged out AT&T in call performance and text. In general, both carriers are the top picks by RootMetrics’ analysis of various networks in the Bay Area, including AT&T Mobility, MetroPCS, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless.
Also of note, though, is that AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and MetroPCS are the only networks in the Bay Area with LTE service. Sprint has been rumored to be testing LTE in various areas in San Francisco, California, but the Now Network still has not formally announced LTE service yet. Once T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel deploys its newer generation LTE networks, we’ll have to revisit the speed and data connection reliability once again and see how each network fares considering that all five networks would have LTE service in San Francisco at that point.
According to the report, T-Mobile is the network with the most improved data speed performance:
T-Mobile delivered a significant improvement in their average download speed, jumping from 1.9 Mbps to 8.8 Mbps.
Verizon’s network in San Francisco actually showed a decrease in data speeds. You can read more of the report, which was published in August 2012, on RootMetrics’ webpage.