A recent and rather extensive test of 4G LTE networks in several parts of the United States revealed that competition is heating up in the high-speed wireless space. It also showed that Sprint, home of the "cut your bill in half" promotion and enticing unlimited data plans, still hasn't caught up with its competitors, though it's improving.
The folks at PCMag ran 131,000 test cycles in more than 30 U.S. cities across the country. They partnered up with Chevrolet, which lent the team three vehicles equipped with AT&T OnStar 4G LTE. Thousands of miles later, Verizon Wireless emerged as the big winner with America's fastest mobile network, delivering the quickest speeds and best coverage for the second year running.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Sprint consistently ranked last in 4G LTE speed and coverage, save for Denver, the sole city it won. To Sprint's credit, even though it came in behind AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in just about every 4G LTE test, its speeds and coverage were for the most part pretty good.
"If we handed out a 'most improved' award -- we don't -- Sprint would win it by a landslide. The carrier flipped over from and old WiMAX network to a spotty LTE network in 2013, filling in coverage gaps in 2014 but offering very low speeds. This year, the carrier's Network Vision and Spark initiatives finally took hold, and Sprint's speeds doubled or even tripled in most of our test cities," PCMag said.
Nevertheless, Sprint still has a lot of work to do. Out of 35,000 tests, over 157 downloads ever reach more than 50Mbps on Sprint's network. Furthermore, the tests took place in major cities like Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Dallas.