We’ve tested AT&T vs. Verizon’s LTE  in NYC and our guy on the ground in San Francisco was able to test LTE at Yerba Buena today.  Results? AT&T smoked Verizon in a bunch of areas around the “new iPad” event.

Those are similar to the  results in NYC and we hear the same thing happens in Irvine, CA, for instance.

Why is this?  We have out theories.

  • One major reason is that Verizon’s network is already pretty full of Androids running 4G while AT&T has only released a handful of devices with LTE. (this might also be why Apple used AT&T LTE at the event today)  The story might change when the flood of iPads come crashing in (for both companies).
  • Also, AT&T’s step down is to HSPA+ which is a lot faster than Verizon’s EVDO so perhaps AT&T has some faster legacy backhaul in place.
  • In Verizon’s favor is that they’ve been running LTE for much longer (with some significant recent outages) than AT&T and they seem to do much better on those Consumer Reports customer satisfaction-type surveys (which usually also take voice quality into consideration).
  • Finally, Verizon will offer 4G Tethering on day one of the iPAd release.  Meanwhile AT&T is “working with Apple on it”

The plans that Apple has in place would seem to favor AT&T as well, especially when you consider the 29,000 US Wifi hotspots.  At $30/month, you get 3GB from AT&T, 2GB from Verizon.

Verizon’s strong point has traditionally been its voice service over AT&T and perhaps one reason why in the past they’ve been able to charge a premium..  For data only, the playing field is a little more wide open, however.

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