Now that Verizon carries the iPhone 4 on its CDMA network, there is a new way to compare iPhone data speeds with AT&T’s infrastructure.

People have been comparing the Verizon and AT&T iPhone’s data speeds, and CNET has posted a very detailed comparison of how the two networks compete with each other on the iPhone. The results weren’t that surprising; Verizon seemed to do better than AT&T in almost every way

CNET ran four tests in four different locations in San Francisco to get a good idea of network reliability.

First, they checked the number of bars that appeared in the network signal meter. While it has been proven that the signal bars are arbitrary and not really indicative of network strength, it’s interesting to notice that Verizon had consistently better coverage through these signal meters in each location.

CNET also tested photo uploads to Facebook, and how fast a web page was rendered in mobile Safari. Out of all the tests in each location, the Verizon iPhone won (sometimes by more than 20 seconds) 83% of the time. AT&T only gave superior readouts two out of 12 times.

CNET clarifies,

“However, before you fly Big Red’s banner, keep in mind that these results are indicative of our particular experience. Results in your area may differ, and they may also change over time. Although AT&T’s HSPA 3G network is technically faster than Verizon’s EV-DO, the results don’t always align. Coverage depends heavily on your exact location and even the time of day.”

I live in the midwest, and I hardly ever hear about people I know having problems with AT&T. Keep in mind that these CNET tests were performed in San Francisco, which is a very heavily iPhone-saturated area for AT&T.

If you’ve had the experience of using Verizon and AT&T’s network in your area, which one seems better to you? Is Verizon’s network compelling enough for you to switch carriers from AT&T when you get the chance?


  • Goofygreek

    Yea. I want to see them test in 4 different areas all together. Like, one in the southeast, southwest, northeast and northwest. I’m in the southeast and even though Att’s 3G network might be smaller than verizons, it is twice as fast. I’ve been comparing there networks for a while because my friend has the verizons iPhone now, and we both did a speed test at the same time to the same server, and my speed was double. Only thing that beats Att right now is tmobile bc of their 3.5g network. But that’s only where I live.

  • Bill

    I agree with GG, I live in Atlanta and AT&T is way faster than Verizon here.

  • James

    Im not horribly concerned with 3g availability, coverage, OR speed for that matter. With as many wifi spots around in everybodys moms garage, its never been an issue.

  • Nardo

    I agree with James^

    Upstate NY AT&T is Twice as fast…

  • Pam

    Yea, I’m in the northeast (Pittsburgh) which is actually a heavy Verizon area. While my iPhone usually only shows 2-3 bars, I have never dropped a call, and my 3G speed is much faster than my sister’s on her Verizon blackberry.

  • James

    Im in Indiana, northern Part half an hour or so from South Bend. Its always Edge here until we hit the Outer Limits of South Bend, then its 3g. But i dont use many apps that would use data, other than maybe Gowalla, and a couple other location service type things. Havent really noticed any failures in call retention here either/

  • alex s

    funny they did it in San francisco, a known horrible AT&T area, where they gonna try next? new York? smh

    • QuarterSwede

      Exactly. As soon as I saw that I discounted the entire article. Useless journalism.

  • James

    Jew York, maybe. But nardo up above said his ATT speed was 2x faster.

  • sylvan

    I am in CLEVELAND , OHIO and AT&T is just Amazing comparing to VERIZON CRAP , people talk about Verizon like it is GOD , well it is NOT!

    • Chad

      I live in Cleveland too and for the time being I own both a Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4. Verizon provides much better coverage in big buildings (AT&T has no 850 MHz spectrum here), but Verizon data speeds are extremely slow – almost always between 0.2-0.5 MBps regardless of where in northern Ohio I am.

  • Andrew

    My coverage and speeds with AT&T are fine. What I can’t stand is how long it can take sometimes to begin receiving data. I might type an address into safari, and it takes several seconds before it begins to load. Once it begins loading, the speeds are great. But the wait is unbearable. I’d happily take half the speed or less if it would actually load reliably and not have to keep trying to go in and out of airplane mode and all sorts of other tricks just to get some data to load. That’s my gripe with AT&T. And maybe I’m unfairly blaming AT&T and it’s not their fault. I dunno. I used to accept it as the way it is, and it never REALLY bothered me because I loved the phone. But now that there is a choice that may be better, it frustrates me that much more every time it happens, knowing that there might be a solution or better way out there.

    • Dale Clavier

      I have been using Perfect Browser for ~ 7 months, platform home screen, settings, options, speed all better than safari

  • BEC

    Not iPhone users live in Sab Francisco. We did an informal test on the beach in Naples Florida and my AT&T iPhone 4 easily outperformed my friends new Verizon model. He was quite surprised. My phone even did better downloading websites while I was on a conference call. Try that Verizon.

  • Glenn

    I am in Greenville, SC, not a huge market, but AT&T is excellent, and way faster than big red.

  • claysm

    Yeah I live in north Alabama and AT&T outperforms Verizon in every way here.

  • Robert

    I live in China and have travelled the world in the past year. My iPhone works everywhere except where AT&T can get their inept little fingers on it. I can’t make a call AT ALL within a one mile radius of my condo in West Hollywood CA. AT&T is worse than any 3rd world company anywhere, and I’ve tried them in India, Brazil and China.

    • QuarterSwede

      Seriously!? That’s one of the highest populated areas in the US and you’re complaining!? You may as well be in SF. At&t is a crap load better everwhere else in the country (save NY).

  • I live in two places, South Bend, IN and Grand Rapids, MI. When I’m in South Bend, I get decent coverage for both data and calls over 3G. However, AT&T has been doing upgrades in my area, so calls and data quality has decreased a little bit, but it’s still usable.

    In Grand Rapids, my data and call quality is absolutly amazing! 3G is lighning fast and I never drop calls.

    Comparing that to VZN iPhone, my AT&T iPhone 4 still outperforms VZN in both locations.

    I have a cottage in the Upper Peninsula of MI and if you own a VZN iPhone, forget it. While at our cottage, you roam with VZN and data is non-existent, while I have 5 bars with AT&T at the cottage! We don’t have 3G, but we do have Edge and it still works wonders up there.

  • Josh

    My co-worker got the VZ iPhone and the first thing I did was compare 3G speeds with my iPhone 4. I’m in central NJ and usually have great coverage/speed on AT&T, but I have lackluster service at work.

    I was surprised to see that she had 5 bars on VZ. I barely get 1 or 2 bars and always attributed it to the building construction. I installed the speedtest app on her iPhone and ran the tests on both devices. Got consistent results over the course of 8 hours; AT&T was ~2x as fast. VZ averaged around 0.9 – 1 mbps

  • Josh

    & 0.3-0.4 mbps up while AT&T average 1.8-2 mbps down and 1 mbps up.

    It might be hard to tell the difference in real world use, but I especially noticed it when loading large desktop websites.

  • Doug

    I’m in the jersey shore area. Both have good coverage except a handful of spots, some better for att and some for verizon but data wise att is definitely faster out here.

    Dropped calls is never an issue either though unless you drive out to the sticks where you get no coverage. Cnet usually has some solid reviews but this is a really poor excuse for a fair review. This is something me and a friend could do. Just drive around our city speed testing on different networks.

  • U Can Really Not Run A Test And See Which One Is The Fastest Cause Signals Very In Different Places, & Plus With AT&T U Can Talk & Text, Talk & Surf @ The Same Time But With VERIZON U CANT!

  • Eric

    I ran comparisons between my VZ iPhone and (AT&T, natch’) iPad, and I’m in Denver — running Speedtest app on both tells me the iPhone’s data connection is dramatically faster than the iPad’s. About 6 times faster, in fact…

  • Mike DeMaio

    I live in central NJ and AT&T is way faster on the data side and less reliable on the voice calls

  • Mezz

    I live in san Francisco and some area I get good reception other areas it’s just really bad. Some areas u good 3G but when u go a couple of blocks it’s gone.

  • manuel

    I live in the NYC and using ATT was a drag. Everything was slow, even in the quiet areas with as many as 12 towers around me. Pages wouldn’t even load. When they did, it was fast. I think T-Mobile has a faster 3G but it’s spotty as hell. AT&T has the most 3G Coverage, but it’s slow at times and Verizon 3G is great but not so fast as AT&T. I will say my Verizon speeds are better then AT&T, but that’s only because they never loaded. When I was using a 3GS, never did it take long. EDGE was my only complain for AT&T at that time. Tried AT&T with an iPhone 4 and Verizon (now my phone) with it.

  • akag9

    Live in Richmond, VA. Coverage is fine with ATT, Verizon and T-mobile (yes, I carry three phones.) iPhone is 3x faster then BB bold 9650 on Vz. Vz has slightly better indoor coverage in one of the hospitals I go to…

  • John

    I have had my verizon iphone for 10 days.
    The Good – I have not had one dropped call. NOT ONE…
    But, the data speeds are very slow. I average 600 kB/s, not even 1 meg a second on down load for data. Tried in numerous locations. The fastest data test speed from my verizon iphone was inside the verizon store at 1.3 kB/s. So I asked the manager what the hells wrong with the data being so slow. The answer was “you need to get a 4G phone”. They said “1 meg per second is a good down load speed for 3G”. For me 600 kB/s does not cut it for a $30 a month – sloooow data plan. It’s unlimited data but hell at 600 kB/s the hotspot feature is worthless. I will return my purchase and wait for the 4G iphone 5 or go to an android with 4G.