An LTE-capable iPhone isn’t likely to be unveiled until 2012, but when it does, you may want to sign your contract with AT&T, as early test speed results show that Ma Bell’s LTE network might be up to six times faster than Verizon’s.
Over at GigaOM, Stacey Higginbottom took a tour of AT&T’s Foundry space in Plano, Texas, and had the opportunity to take their new LTE network (due to start rolling out in the States in July) for a spin.
. The speeds provided on the download side were about 28.87 Mbps and were about 10.4 Mbps on the upload side. This compared to speeds of 3.77 on the download side and 1.21 Mbps on the upload for an iPhone that was capable of maxing out on AT&T’s 7.2 Mbps HSPA network. So it’s fast, but sharing those speeds with others on a cell tower will bring them down. For comparison, Verizon has promised customers speeds of 5-12 Mbps on the download side and speeds of up 5 Mbps on the upload side.
On one hand, these are test speeds, and Higginbottom wasn’t sharing the tower with a bunch of other Netflix-streaming freeloaders, so they must be taken with a grain of salt. That said, AT&T claims that while LTE is capable of 150Mbps download connections, they wanted to show a “real world” experience.
AT&T hasn’t earned itself a lot of goodwill in the past, between their 3G network congestion issues and the fact that their initial forays into 4G have been capped at speeds slower than an iPhone 3G. Still, if AT&T can roll out a nation-wide network of LTE towers that supports a far faster experience than Verizon can manage in time for the iPhone 6, then perhaps all can be forgiven.