US highway testing shows AT&T and Verizon still the best

If you’re as savvy as we are here at Pocketnow, you’ll be traveling on Thanksgiving day by plane and having one of your friends pick you up at the airport. The 50.5 million of you — at least that’s what the AAA says — that will be on the asphalt to get to your destination will want to be taking advantage of those unlimited data plans you got this year.

But Global Wireless Solutions is out with a new report for all of you car-dwellers and van-surfers. It conducted nearly 703,000 voice and data reception tests over 52,000 road miles in the lower 48 plus Alaska and found that AT&T performed the best.

It had the best download speeds and was second-best in coverage with 92 percent of drive time in LTE territory. It also had LTE-Advanced technologies — 256-QAM, 4×4 MIMO and carrier aggregation — active most often.

Verizon topped data coverage at 97 percent and was the runner-up in speeds, even though high network load was detected.

Sprint had the worst data coverage with 85 percent of tests completed successfully. Phones were also only on Sprint’s LTE network 86 percent of the time, compared with 88 percent at T-Mobile. LTE speeds were found to match AT&T’s 3G network. T-Mobile was bottom of the list for voice coverage.

Both third-place and fourth-place networks have recently touted big gains and wins in other research firms’ tests. That’s not to invalidate those results, but with GWS’s, we do have a clear focus on the byways of our country and that’s going to be the most important place for a lot of us the next several days.

Perhaps you’ll want to switch carriers over the weekend for that ride back home? Everyone’s got a deal going on.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.