Yesterday we heralded the news of the buyout of T-Mobile by AT&T with a friendly competition that judged each company’s network speeds around the Baltimore area. Today, we will be looking at Sprint’s network.
Since Sprint is not airing TV ads that deem their network faster than all others, we have nothing to prove or disprove. Therefore, we will just give you the numbers, and a review of Sprint’s mobile interface, “Sprint Smartview.”
First the interface. Sprint, like T-Mobile, allows the user to switch manually between 3G and 4G networks. Verizon and AT&T default to 4G when it is available, and to 3G when it is not. With the exception of someone who is interested in doing network testing – like us – on both 3G and 4G networks, we see no useful purpose in allowing the user to manually choose between networks. At no time during our testing did we find a 3G network faster than its 4G siblings.
Smartview also comes with a dropdown interface that lets you shop, access games, look for wi-fi hotspots, check coverage maps, access your account, and test your connection speed. It is a convenient way to check things which may be of interest to you. The one that disturbed us the most was testing your connection speed through Sprint’s interface.
A quick run of Sprint’s own speed tests from Severn, Maryland gave us a download speed of a meager 0.36Mbps, and an equally sad 0.53Mbps upstream number. This is based on a server based in Chicago. Within a minute of running the native speed test, we ran our own, using speedtest.net’s Baltimore server, and achieved download and upload numbers of 1.00 and 1.59 respectively. We thought the first rule of business was to make product look good. This app fails miserably.
You may be thinking that we posted the above numbers in reverse. We did not. While Sprint comes nowhere near the downstream speeds Verizon’s LTE network is achieving, it actually bested Verizon on the uptake in seven of our sixteen test areas. In another, the Light Rail Station at Baltimore/Annapolis and Nursery Roads, the upstreams were near identical, 5.29Mbps for VZW, and 5.28Mbps for Sprint.
As we mentioned yesterday, Sprint, like T-Mobile and AT&T is utilizing a HPSA+ network. Yet neither T-Mobile or AT&T came close to the upload speeds we witnessed on Sprint’s network.
Like most things in life, there’s a little good mixed in with a little bad. While Sprint’s downstream disappointed us, we were more than impressed with the upload numbers. As you will see tomorrow, the company still has a long way to go to catch up to Verizon Wireless’s LTE network, but they are much closer than either AT&T or T-Mobile.
We have posted the full results of Sprint’s 3G and 4G networks at Reliable Digital World.