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AT&T Ranks Poorly for Mobile Broadband - Study

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In a study of the mobile broadband network performance of WCDMA based mobile network operators, ARCchart reports that AT&T Wireless is delivering amongst the world's worst 3G data speeds in some of its US markets. While AT&T is achieving an average download speed of 1,037 kbps across the country, in New York the average is just 767 kbps, one of the poorest in the study and far behind the speeds delivered by carriers in less developed countries like China, South Africa and Venezuela.

The study is based on the data speed and latency measurements collected for 268 wireless carriers operating within 103 different countries worldwide, using a smartphone software application available on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices. This approach has allowed ARCchart to collect over two million individual test readings from tens of thousands of users who have conducted numerous tests for virtually every mobile carrier in virtually every country in the world. In the US, a total of 162,000 test readings were collected for the two national UMTS carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Since the launch of its 3G service, AT&T has received a steady stream of criticism from customers dissatisfied with the carrier's data performance, and ARCchart's study confirms that an inferior mobile broadband experience indeed exists in certain markets. However, the study shows there is wide variation across the major US cities. In Indianapolis, AT&T averages a very respectable 1,300 kbps and its network performance in Austin, Texas, is not far behind. However, Philadelphia and New York City are the metropolitan areas experiencing AT&T's poorest quality of broadband coverage, both averaging less than 800 kbps.

Matt Lewis, Research Director at ARCchart, comments that "The US is a large and diverse geography so it's unsurprising to see AT&T managing varying levels of mobile broadband service. The carrier is delivering relatively good data speeds in several major cities, but our results make the assumption that these networks are completely reliable. Owing to the nature of our research methodology, a network cannot be tested if no data connection is present or if the connection is dropped midway through the speed test - two issues which are the source of common complaints levied by AT&T customers."

To place AT&T's performance in a global context, the study shows that neighbouring Rogers Wireless in Canada is comfortably delivering an average throughput of 1,330 kbps to its customers, while SFR in France and Japan's NTT DoCoMo both average about 1,500 kbps. The study's best performing carrier is T-Mobile Hungary, at just over 1,600 kbps, meaning that 3G in Budapest is more than twice as fast as in New York.

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Tags: broadband  new york  mobile broadband network  philadelphia  africa  budapest