Since we took T-Mobile to task on Monday for TV spots that did not bear out under scrutiny, it is only fair that we hold Verizon to the same standard. Verizon does tout their network as the “fastest 4G network” in those slick sci-fi ads that have been running since before Christmas. Did Verizon live up to the hype? You be the judge.
The average results of all sixteen test locations checked in with an impressive 12.19Mbps download speed. It’s closest competitor was AT&T at 2.38Mbps. Making the numbers even more impressive were the three areas detailed later in this article that still appear to running under the company’s 3G network. We did add these into the average. Eliminating these three areas from the equation gives Verizon an average of 14.51Mbps over thirteen test areas.
The fastest downstream speed we observed was at the Wal-Mart on Washington Blvd. and Commerce Ave. Verizon managed a whopping 21.57Mbps, easily outdistancing the rest of the pack. T-Mobile’s fastest download time was 6.97Mbps at the Timonium Light Rail Station, AT&T checked in at North Point and Battle Grove Road with a 6.12Mbps time, and Sprint’s quickest download was 5.47Mbps, recorded at Lot C of M&T Bank Stadium.
Verizon’s second fastest downstream was at White Marsh Mall. There we registered a 21.13Mbps time. In fact, thirteen of the top download speeds went to Verizon Wireless. Not a bad showing. Good enough we feel to justify Verizon’s ad campaign boasts.
Now for the not so good news. On the upstream side, Verizon did not enjoy the same dominating performance over its competitors. In fact, Sprint edged Verizon in average upstream by an eyelash, 4.26Mbps to 4.20Mbps. The fastest upload we observed was Sprint’s 7.65Mbps, achieved at Lot C of M&T Bank Stadium. Sprint also bested Verizon for second place with a 6.82Mbps reading at the same Wal-Mart where Verizon claimed downstream dominance. Third best did go to VZW with a 6.41Mbps upload recorded at the 7-11 on the corner of Liberty and Offut Roads.
As we mentioned earlier, we also found a few holes in Verizon’s 4G coverage. North Point and Battle Grove Roads in Dundalk, Ordinance Road and Bay Meadow Drive in Glen Burnie, and the BWI car rental facility in Hanover, all performed just slightly better than the results we achieved when testing Verizon’s 3G network. In Dundalk and Glen Burnie, we observed that VZ Access Manager, Verizon’s mobile modem interface, was showing “3G” when we ran our tests.
While VZ Access Manager does not allow manual choosing of networks, like Sprint’s SmartView, it does display the network it is accessing. This gives Verizon three out of sixteen areas with holes in its 4G coverage. Not earth shattering, just annoying if you happen to be in one of those areas.
In conclusion, we are inclined to give Verizon Wireless a big thumb’s up for the blazing performance of their 4G network’s download speeds. Yet, due to the lapses in coverage, and Sprint’s narrow victory in average upstream rates, we can’t quite give it the ultimate, “This network really rocks, man,” prize. Still, not too shabby of a showing.