Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints … 

Verizon moved into LTE ahead of other carriers, and now has the largest network with the greatest number of LTE customers. This partly explains why the company is struggling: one third of its customers are using LTE devices, but they account for almost two-thirds of the carrier’s total data usage.


Informal tests by the WSJ across three locations showed that while Verizon wasn’t the fastest in any of them, its consistent performance did put it in second place – and it lost out to AT&T only because of the massive difference in speed recorded in NYC.

Verizon Wireless came in second, averaging 16.7 mbps, well above its promised range of 5 to 12 mbps. Verizon wasn’t No. 1 in any of the test locations, but it was the most consistent performer, clustering between 15 and 18.6 mbps.

Oddly, Verizon said it was taken by surprise by the growth in video traffic from LTE users, when mobile video has always been advertised as one of the key benefits of the faster data standard. The company did, however, say that it expects the issues to be short-lived.

“By the end of this year you are going to see all those issues dissipate,” Shammo said. “And then going into next year we will be ahead of the curve again.”

Via WSJ and CNET

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15 Responses to “Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?”

  1. As a resident of NJ and a worker-bee in NYC, I can tell you the experience is night and day. I get blistering speeds in various parts of Jersey, but when I cross over into The Big Apple, my iPhone is as good as Airplane Mode, even while walking the bustling streets, and places in my own building go dark even when it shows signal strength and LTE or 3G.

    I’ve mentioned this to Verizon support on Twitter and they were always quick to dismiss it, until I started posting screenshots of the SpeedTest app that shows it can’t break 0.2Mbps or even complete a test.

    Finally, they coughed up the issue to being a congestion issue, but the damage was done: since my work BlackBerry on T-Mobile has been a faithful backup device throughout this ordeal, even in the depths of the subways and Port Authority, I’ve ordered my first iPad mini with Retina Display… on T-Mobile’s network.


  2. Scott C says:

    I have an iphone 5 ATT (for work) and a verizon iphone 5s (personal). In the West side of Boston verizon is useless. Out west in the worcester area I turn to my ATT phone. I have better data speeds with ATT than I experience with verizon.


  3. They should have been paying attention to ATT as it struggled dealing with the iphone wrecking havoc on it’s networks a few years ago. But back then it was a great marketing advantage. lol


  4. I’m in DC suburbs and VZW has sucked around here lately. Some dead pockets especially airports (yep, I’m calling you out BWI) with zero data capability. Absolutely pathetic, seriously considering going back to AT&T which is very strong here locally (21043) and I’ve had no issues with across the nation in major markets.


  5. standardpull says:

    I feel that this has been going on for a while now.

    I use both Verizon and AT&T, and they’ve both had their set of troubles. But generally I find that when Verizon is bad, it is bad for a long, long time and leads to a lot of frustration. When AT&T was bad, I’d just be dumped and I’d be able to re-establish a good connection in 30 seconds most of the time. There were moments with AT&T where they’d dump me a lot or where the local tower was bad, but that was many years ago now.


  6. weakguy says:

    Here in Texas, T-Mobile does a pretty good job. My friend’s t-Mobile usually gets better signal than my ATT 4S. I don’t know much about LTE, but I really have to say that att is really getting better over the years. It had the cheapest plan as well.


  7. Alberto Diaz says:

    I work in midtown Manhattan, nyc and my signal is so weak I can’t even run a speed test!


  8. I switched to Verizon last year because they had LTE in my area and ATT didn’t. Ironically, ATT performed better for me in my area. I’ve also noticed that Verizons LTE has slowed down SIGNIFICANTLY over the past year. Last September, I’d get around 20mbps. Now I’m getting less than 10mbps, even in very good coverage areas. ATT on the other hand is WAY faster in every place I’ve tested both.


    • s92543 says:

      We’ve never even your slower speed. Though I was at Pasadena this weekend and out of curiosity did a speed test there and got 60Mbps while at home it’s a whopping 0.7Mbps on LTE at best and most times 0.01Mbps on LTE. 3G never gave any decent service unless you were within a few hundred feet of the Verizon Store.


  9. s92543 says:

    Verizon have sat for too long high on their claims of great speeds and great coverage while their map is less than truthful. They shameless boast great coverage but to have LTE it just has to get the little LTE to come up on the screen and then they count it as service even if the data speed is not better than having dial up.


  10. gonna be hard to justify those super high prices…So lets see I can pay $90 plus extra fees on Verizon for 1gb of LTE or I can go to Straight Talk and pay $45 for 2.5gb…Hmm or Tmobile and get totally unlimited for 70 (or 90ish with a phone payment)


  11. latinoboyboy says:

    Verizon was taken over by Claro here in Puerto Rico. Verizon service here was always horrible and now with Claro LTE it’s a bit on the slow side. I have AT&T iPhone 5 and the speeds are great here. I don’t get good signal at my college but everywhere else it’s solid. I was amazed last year on my trip to New York, my speed tests over there were BLAZING fast. Sprint over here is DISASTROUS and T-Mobile is a bit meh….


  12. At&t has always had better faster more reliable data service than everyone. Verizon had better call quality. More people notice it more now because people use data more than actual phone calling.