Tuesday, October 18, 2011
iPhone 4S for Sprint performance below par
I'm returning my Sprint version of the iPhone 4S. The performance is far below either AT&T or Verizon.
Everyone loves to hate AT&T, but here's the thing: they've invested massively in building our their network to support devices like the iPhone and Kindle. Even in place where AT&T famously struggles (New York City and San Francisco), I can usually get a fair data connection. In my travels, AT&T 3G outperforms Verizon 3G in almost every case.
Sprint hasn't made that investment. At least, not here in Atlanta.
Traveling around the Atlanta area at various times in the day, I find
that Sprint consistently lags AT&T for 3G speeds. Sprint struggles to
reach 1-mbps, while AT&T rarely goes below 3-mbps. At times, Sprint
goes down to dialup speeds. Here are example of back-to-back speed
tests. I have a lot more samples, but these are representative of what
To be fair, Sprint has invested a lot in a 4G technology (based on WiMax)
that works much better, where 7-mbps is common. But the iPhone
doesn't support 4G technologies like WiMax. In addition, many people
are finding that WiMax falls behind LTE (used by AT&T, Verizon, and
Sprint does have one advantage. Currently, it supports "unlimited"
downloads, whereas Verizon offers a plan with up to 12-gigs of
downloads, whereas AT&T offers at most 4-gigs of downloads. In
addition, it's one of the cheaper plans, with unlimited texting and
data for only $80/month.
But in practice, few people use more than 2-gigs per month. I rarely
do. In those cases, AT&T can offer cheaper and faster plans.
I don't know which will be best for you, but for myself, I'm choosing
an AT&T iPhone 4S and returning my Sprint iPhone 4S.
These are the last ones taken this morning, AT&T with 5.07mbps and Sprint with 0.21-mbps:
I returned The Sprint iPhone today and was told I was the 18th person to do so for the same reason. This makes me sad as I was a big fan of Sprint rolling out the first nextgen speed network.