We were chatting before the event started, and Ray whipped out two Android phones running a network sniffer app created by his company, which showed in a very striking visual manner the latency and speed differences between AT&T and Sprint LTE 4G networks.
The verdict: Sprint -- at least in Palo Alto CA that day -- was horrible. But it's not in just one location that I've noticed this -- a friend with a Sprint iPhone5 and I did a SpeedTest when we were in the DC area last week. I was getting 31mbps on my AT&T iPhone 5 and he was getting 0.3mbps on his Sprint iPhone5.
Sprint might be offering unlimited data. But the pipe that serves that data appears to be about the size of a straw.
I wrote a previous blog post about why this speed factor was the most significant thing about the new iPhone5, because the speed of mobile devices appears by all measures to be on an exponential growth curve and has already surpassed most people's home Cable Modem or DSL networks. Having this uber fast, always-on connection in your pocket all the time has some very significant implications for us as a human race.
Here's the video of Ray showing AT&T vs. Sprint:
What we were measuring in DC was Sprint's 3G service, which btw still sucks, not there LTE service. Also, what you were measuring in CA was 3G as well. So, you haven't done a true test of LTE networks yet. However, folks have and AT&T was still the clear cut winner. It just wasn't as lopsided as our results cause we were comparing AT&T's LTE network to Sprint's 3G network. Here's a good article on a true test between both LTE networks showing AT&T as the clear cut winner. I do have to say that I was surprised that Sprint out performed Verizon's LTE network.
That makes more sense...it would be very shocking if Sprint's LTE speeds were slower than AT&T's and Verizon's 3G speeds. I have an LTE iPad on Verizon's network so I've had a chance to compare my iPhone 5 AT&T coverage with my iPad's Verizon coverage. Verizon's LTE network, as we all know, is built out more than AT&T's....so I'm more apt to find LTE coverage on Verizon than on AT&T. When I'm able to get LTE coverage on both AT&T and Verizon, Verizon usually edges out AT&T on speed. However, I have also found that Verizon's 3G speeds are much slower than AT&T's 3G, because AT&T's HSPA+ network is faster than Verizon's CDMA network. You are more apt to be affected by the difference in speeds when you don't have access to LTE than you are when you do. In other words, if you're at a place where LTE is available on both AT&T and Verizon, you're not going to notice much difference between 30 Mbps speeds on AT&T and 35 Mbps on Verizon. However, if you have to drop down to 3G due to lack of coverage, the difference between AT&T and Verizon are very noticeable in real world use. My Verizon iPad will usually see below 1 Mbps speeds on their 3G network which makes it excruciatingly slow, while my AT&T iPhone 5 zips along at over 2 Mbps speeds. It appears that Sprint's 3G coverage is similarly slow.
Wow that is a fantastic run-down, Rene. Thanks for that. I can't wait to be in an always-fast world regardless of location. There's just so much cool innovation that will come from that.
Imagine being able to take & seamlessly share HD video from wherever in the world you are.
Imagine being able to have no-latency access to the world's information at your fingertips, no matter where you are. If you're in the woods and you see a flower you don't recognize, your "Google Glasses" can classify the flower for you on the spot.
Imagine having the ability to immediately translate what someone in a foreign country was saying to you via speech to text or speech to speech translation mechanisms with no latency.
The crazy thing is that we're not that far away from any of this. Really under 5 years for major metropolitan areas, and under 20 years for most parts of the globe. We're almost there with the hardware, too. The next few years are going to be utterly amazing.
I agree Daniel - your post titled "Mobile is not the 2nd Screen. It's the Brains" is spot on. The next revolution will come when network speeds and coverage get to the point where you don't have to think about it anymore...it's ubiquitous and instantaneous. The implications of that are mind boggling. I think it will be another social and technological renaissance, and a great opportunity for entrepreneurs!
Keoni thanks for the clarification. In any given area, the fastest network a carrier has is all that matters from an average consumer's perspective, no matter which network it happens to be. So technically thanks for clarifying. I'm still comfortable making my overall point: Unlimited data through a straw is still pointless, no matter what type of straw (3G or 4G) it is.
It sounds like Sprint has to focus on actually deploying its 4G to major markets like DC & SF.
I knew that Sprint's LTE network was significantly slower than AT&T's and Verizon's, but I didn't realize the difference was THAT great. I would be beyond pissed if I had purchased an iPhone 5 on Sprint....
The Wall Street Journal has run a series of articles about the app economy this week, identifying the app ecosystem as a $25 billion business. They write:
If you're interested in mobile, and apps in particular, I highly recommend searching this series of articles out.
When my co-founders and I started PointAbout, a mobile app dev shop in 2008, we had a really hard time convincing businesses that apps were more than just a fad. Then in the 4th quarter of 2009 something significant happened: I started to see budgets for app creation move from the "experimental" bucket to a dedicated budget. That's when the most forward-thinking businesses started to build mobile apps and we were able to build a strong business making apps for Disney, The Washington Post, Cars.com and many others.
But still, many businesses don't get it. I recently wrote a warning to Fortune 1000 CEOs because I'm convinced many of them will be fired for underestimating the impact of mobile on their businesses.
My first triathlon this year!
Just over a month ago now, and supposedly 9 weeks into the Olympic Distance Training Program on trinewbies. Training has been spotty up to this point, but I felt comfortable enough entering this triathlon, though I had no great expectations for performance improvement over last year.
Tri For Fun really lives up to its name, but this year added a level of competition by introducing optional timing chips. There were approximately 850 starters, but only 220 of us chose to wear the chips. You have to get to Shadowcliffs Park quite early to get a comfortable place in transition and to get bodymarked before the 7 am kick off, but as a 50+ yr old woman, I get to start in the final wave with the kids, the disabled, those using flotation devices and couples who want to hold hands. Also competing and starting in the same wave were my partner-in-tri-crime, Norma (chipless), and husband, Philip, who was testing his injured shoulder.
As the gun went off for the first wave, Norma and I got in the water to warm up, you could swim in the roped off beach section of the lake. As a very weak swimmer, I did not actually warm up as much as maybe I should have done, I mostly lolled around chatting to other old women waiting for the last wave. Well over half the field were wearing wetsuits but the water was plenty warm enough to go without, good job really because I don't have a wetsuit! Norma and Philip do, but they both chose not to wear them.
The Swim Our time came around, and we were counted into the staging area into the lake proper. I began to get a little nervous but I am a better swimmer than last year and wanted to get a better start and just get on with it. I was still really tentative and got in quite gingerly. It's a simple course, swim out 75'ish yds to the first buoy, 250'ish yds along the lake to the next buoy, then 75'ish yds back to shore, and it was fine. I was as slow as ever, but I was steady and comfortable. It was a bit crowded going round the buoys and then I got tangled up with another swimmer for the 3rd quarter of the swim, but I realised I couldn't "let her go" and had to push past her. I had no idea how I was doing for time because I didn't know what time we started in the end, but I was very happy getting out of the water. I didn't have water in my ears making me giddy, I'd been breathing in a very relaxed fashion and felt great about the prospect of getting on the bike.