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AT&T Cows Faster Than Verizon Cows at Super Bowl
by Karl Bode 09:27AM Tuesday Feb 04 2014
Ars Technica crunches some wireless network performance numbers from the recent Super Bowl courtesy of Nexgen Wireless. The report notes that AT&T's LTE network generally outperformed both Verizon and Sprint's in terms of overall speed with an average throughput of 5.31 Mbps (compared to 2.08 for Verizon and 1.15 Mbps for Sprint), though AT&T suffered the lowest call completion rate.

Granted the Super Bowl is generally anything but normal network conditions -- with carriers heavily supplementing their network performance with numerous COWs (cell on wheels) and COLTs (Cells On Light Trucks). The report notes AT&T deliver 624GB of data at the game, while Verizon delivered 1.9 TB -- certainly explaining some of the speed differences. T-Mobile was excluded because their "file structure wasn't compatible" with the software being used.

Update: Verizon sent us this additional statement on the study:
quote:
I read your story about data speeds and wanted to add more thing missing in the study, AWS spectrum. 47% of all of our data traffic within the stadium was on AWS....

...the big flaw was use of a device (Galaxy S3) that does not take advantage of our newly deployed AWS spectrum, which has increased 4G LTE data capacity by 300 percent in the NY market, including MetLife Stadium. Fully 2/3 of our capacity was on the AWS spectrum and 47 percent of our data flowed on that spectrum, which is designed to increase capacity. Now, we know LTE is about more than just speed, but here’s what we found about speeds at MetLife….our sample testing showed our network providing an average of 29.9 MB on downloads and 11.5 on uploads.

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NYCGeek

@paetec.net

Misleading Title

The title of this article is misleading. Sure, AT&T was outperforming Verizon and Sprint in pure speeds, but Verizon's network was also taking a substantial beating. I also wonder if AT&T had higher speeds because of LTE & HSPA+ whereas Verizon and Sprint would fall back to CDMA when LTE was over capacity. Verizon passed 3x the traffic through it's network than AT&T which is impressive.
xenophon

join:2007-09-17

Re: Misleading Title

Curious that Sprint beat the other two in success of voice calls.

amarryat
Verizon FiOS

join:2005-05-02
Marshfield, MA

Re: Misleading Title

They probably had the same capacity there and far less subscribers. Too bad T-Mobile wasn't included because they probably beat them all in speed.
mingkee27

join:2013-06-21
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Misleading Title

Of course they clearly know that, but they're paid NOT to mention that.
bn1221

join:2009-04-29
Cortland, NY
Well the 7 people on Sprint didn't tax the tower very much

Tsume
Premium
join:2004-02-23
Johnson City, TN
My experience with Sprint is roughly this. Excellent call reliability but average to mediocre data.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Exactly. There are far more Verizon subscribers in that area than AT&T, so it's logical that Verizon would have pushed a lot more data than AT&T.

reader

@mycingular.net

Dropped Calls

The article referenced states there were no dropped calls by any carrier but the commentary states AT&T had the most dropped calls. The only difference was in completion rate. That's a big difference to me as I don't mind trying a call a few times as long as I don't get disconnected once I'm talking.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

Sprint..

»www.fiercewireless.com/special-r···sPcLwEW3

"Sprint said in a statement that its network "performed exceptionally well during the Super Bowl on Sunday, besting our competition in voice performance and providing consistent, solid data performance. Sprint saw 4G LTE data traffic increases over a typical game day of 83% and 150% for download and upload speeds respectively. And, Sprint was using a single channel of LTE, so about half of what our competitors are using today. With the deployment of Sprint Spark, Sprint will be able to aggregate multiple channels of LTE to boost throughput speeds that will match and ultimately exceed competitor speeds."
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Sprint..

Technically correct, say-nothing BS statement.

swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

Re: Sprint..

said by BiggA:

Technically correct, say-nothing BS statement.

So it is correct but BS? How so?

They only had a single channel of LTE deployed. They beat the other two out for call / texting...data speeds were more than usable for an event like that. Looks like a win-win.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Sprint..

Their statement was basically a generic statement about their network... Didn't say much. It's also true they have a single 5x5, but they also have way fewer customers than AT&T or Verizon.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1

Just install cell sites in the stadiums

I don't understand why they use COWs for NFL stadiums. They should just install permanent cell sites in the stadiums considering the frequent use of the facilities not just for football but other events like concerts and other sporting events.

Mizzat
Will post for thumbs
Premium
join:2003-05-03
Atlanta, GA
kudos:1

Re: Just install cell sites in the stadiums

They do...DAS
»www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=23351

Both Verizon and AT&T has DAS in the stadium.

More on AT&T:
»www.sporttechie.com/2014/01/30/h···-sunday/

500 DAS antennas, equivalent to 21 cell sites, enough to cover Trenton, NJ all in the stadium.