Cell test: T-Mobile rules, AT&T is better than you think, Verizon is overhyped

PCWorld field tests show T-Mobile does more than make commercials, Sprint does almost nothing

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Verizon (PCW results), offered 4G in more locations than anyone else, and offered the fastest upload speeds. Even in 4G, though, its download speed (vastly more important to mobile users than upload speed) lagged AT&T's download speeds, which are also improving faster than Verizon's.

Sprint, (PCW results), which bet big on WiMax before realizing LTE would be the networking protocol of the future, was the slowest in both 3G and 4G. "The company seems to have virtually stopped developing its existing 3G and 4G networks while looking for a way to make the transition from its outdated WiMax 4G technology to LTE," PCW reviewer Mark Sullivan wrote.

The results won't help any individual consumers or companies caught in the middle of a long-term contract unless they're willing to pay a usurious early-cancellation penalty.

They are a lot more accurate than the hearsay and TV-commercial-based mental image most consumers rely on for their preferences, and give corporate telecom managers some real-world test results to help tell which carriers are good at schmoozing, sales and presentation and which actually deliver good service in the field.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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