The Lowdown on America's 4G and LTE Networks
With the advent of modern internet technology and smart phone compliance, the four major US networks have all upgraded their systems significantly. Overall 4G and LTE networks are much faster than even many home based internet solutions regarding download speed. Each company has its own capacity to run their network at high-speed, however. There are also noted smart phones that exist for these systems specifically that maximize the connectivity capacity. The following information about upload and download speeds are averages that have been determined by individual testing across the country and include both strong and weak signal areas in the averages. The speeds noted are based on a national average, and will be different in specific locations. Some networks, Verizon most notably, will be much faster in some areas than what is represented herein.
There can be no discussion about America's 4G and LTE networks without mention of Verizon. Verizon's LTE network is considered to be the fastest currently in the United States regarding modems. Their smart phone speed tends to be lower compared to these speeds on average, but they are still faster than most home computer connection speeds.
The average smart phone connection speed for devices that do not come with LTE installed tend to be around 1 Mbps for downloads and roughly 600 to 700 Kbps on uploads. Average speeds for modem devices connected through Verizon wireless modems have been noted to be over 6.5 Mbps on downloads and roughly 5 Mbps on uploads. Many people cannot garner this kind of connection speed even with a dedicated cable modem on their desktop computer.
The speed of a network is only as good as the devices that work on that network, however. The HTC Thunderbolt is a prime example of high-end smart phone technology coupled with America's fastest LTE network. In point of fact, as an LTE packed smart phone this device reaches speeds similar to the modem connectivity speeds. This means that Verizon's wireless network can actively compete with fiber-optic cable lines in some areas. In other areas they can actually outperform such systems.
Overall, Verizon is generally the best when it comes to modems and smart phone connectivity speeds. This varies from location to location, however. Many people will find that in a solid service area their connectivity is much higher than some of the competing networks and far higher than these national averages.
When it comes to current overall smart phone connectivity speeds, T-mobile has the best average speed across the board. While they do not come anywhere near the absolute speeds that Verizon can generate, they are still very fast and frequently faster than home based computer connections. Several of their smart phones can reach speeds of more than 2.25 Mbps on downloads and a little under 1 Mbps for uploads on average. Modem speeds are much lower than Verizon's versions but still comparable to many home cable internet systems in a good signal area. The average upload and download speed of their modems is roughly a third of that of the Verizon network. However, this still places them as the second fastest connection in the US. Overall T-mobile seems to be the solid choice for those who desire consistent speed both ways but who do not wish to use Verizon for personal reasons.
Two notable smart phones that use the T-mobile 4G network are the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC MyTouch 4G Mobile Phone.
The sprint 4G Wireless network is known for many things. Sprint was the first 4G network, for instance. It has continued to be a solid network to use in the current era of internet connectivity as well. When it comes to smartphone capacity and connectivity Sprint is only topped by T-mobile on average, and Verizon on total capacity. Average, nationwide coverage and connectivity, place typical download speeds at roughly 1.5 Mbps. Upload speeds generally clock in at around 500 - 600 Kbps. A sprint modem, is usually a bit faster, clocking in at around 2 -2.2 Mbps, with 600-700 Kbps upload speeds.
Smart Phones such as the Sprint Evo 4G made the term 4G a household name. The Samsung Nexus S, and Droid Charge are other fine examples of fourth generation mobile phone technology.
AT&T is one of the oldest networks in America. This time tested company has some of the fastest connectivity for their modems on average. However, their smart phone connectivity is generally lower than their competition's save for non-LTE Verizon wireless phones. Typical modem speeds on a cross-country basis hold that AT&T 4G Wireless modems generally download at between 2 - 2.5 Mbps, and upload at a speed of 1 - 1.1 Mbps. Their smart phones have been known to download at a speed of 1.5 Mbps on average, and upload at roughly 1 Mbps. One excellent reason to work with AT&T, however, is that they intend to develop both HSPA+ and LTE networks so that their customers can use two different types of 4G Wireless network technology. The Motorola Atrix, Samsung Infuse, and HTC Inspire are excellent examples of AT&T smart phones that work wonderfully on their network.