Mobile Broadband: Ratings of Sources
Total of 18 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
4G Wireless Speed Tests: Which Is Really the Fastest?
by Mark Sullivan
Our AssessmentPC World picks the best 4G mobile broadband, based on speed tests in 13 major U.S. cities. Verizon is easily the fastest with laptops, but T-Mobile proves faster in smartphone tests. AT&T and Sprint lag behind. PC World conducts similar tests each year.
4G Comparison [Infographic] 2011 Review
by Marc Aarons
Our AssessmentDespite being created by an online marketer, this is the one of the more comprehensive sites we found for wireless broadband, with useful articles as well as reviews of all aspects, from routers and aircards to providers. Comparisons are detailed, with most sources of information well documented. Cost comparisons take into account factors such as early termination fees. The site compares five 4G services -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Clearwire -- based on actual tested speeds, coverage, plans and devices. An easy-to-read infographic shows each provider's strengths and weaknesses. Overall, the site recommends Verizon as the fastest, although T-Mobile offers the best 4G coverage and Sprint and Clearwire are the best choices if you need unlimited service.
Fastest Mobile Networks 2011
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com conducted extensive 4G network tests around the country, in 21 metro areas, but only with smartphones, not laptops. Verizon 4G wins in every region, except in rural America (nonmetro areas), where AT&T reigns.
Cell Phones and Services
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentA survey of more than 58,000 subscribers in 23 metro areas compares AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. The top three finishers earn equally good ratings for data service, although they differ in terms of voice call quality and customer support. ConsumerReports.org also publishes city-by-city ratings, including data ratings that reflect how many customers report good experiences with Web access and email.
4G Report Card: Who's Winning, Who's Failing
by Mark Spoonauer
Our AssessmentLaptop Magazine grades the four major 4G networks, based on its own tests as well as the companies' plans, prices, 4G device offerings and plans to improve and expand their networks. Verizon Wireless gets an A-, followed by Sprint (B), T-Mobile (C+) and AT&T (F). However, in a later article, Mark Spoonauer says he has a lot of dropped connections with Verizon 4G in his real-world tests.
AT&T Roars Back in PCWorld's Second 3G Wireless Performance Test
by Mark Sullivan
Our AssessmentThis PC World test tackles 3G instead of 4G (the 4G test is discussed above). The site tests the four major networks -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon -- in 13 major cities across the country. Both smartphones and laptops are used to measure network performance. On average, AT&T achieves download speeds that are nearly 70 percent faster than the other 3G networks, and the network has much better performance than it did in PC World's 2009 test. According to Mark Sullivan, AT&T's network speeds and reliability have "improved dramatically."
Who Really Has the Fastest 3G Network?
by John Herrman and Kyle VanHemert
Our AssessmentAlthough AT&T had won an earlier nationwide 3G speed test here, T-Mobile's new HSPA+ network blows it out of the water. You have a couple of choices, reviewers note: Go for the fast T-Mobile 3G if it's available, or hold out for (possibly faster) 4G.
Verizon's 4G Network Leaves Other Carriers in the Dust
by Christina Bonnington
Our AssessmentVerizon boasts by far the fastest 4G network, according to this report, based on a RootMetrics test. The test is based on one advanced 4G smartphone each from Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T and was conducted in the Seattle area. A TechnoBuffalo test in Oakland, Calif., mirrors the results, the report points out.
4G Mobile Internet Access Roundup
by Dong Ngo
Our AssessmentCNET doesn't rate mobile broadband services, but its reviews of mobile broadband devices -- here, mobile hotspots and USB modems -- wind up analyzing the services themselves to an extent. Verizon's service is super-fast, Dong Ngo says, but it's pricey and imposes data caps. Clearwire 4G is just as fast, and it's unlimited, but it's not available everywhere.
Cell Phone Service Providers
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com tests three nationwide mobile broadband carriers in detailed single-product reviews. The 3G networks from Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T are reviewed and compared, and Verizon Wireless wins the Editors' Choice award. Sascha Segan says Verizon can simply not be beaten when it comes to 3G coverage. Verizon's 4G service scores a bit lower -- it's "far too expensive," PCMag.com says -- but overall, Verizon is also tops in PCMag's annual reader satisfaction survey for cell phone providers.
Is T-Mobile's HSPA+ Really as Fast as 4G WiMAX?
by Nick Mokey
Our AssessmentNick Mokey tests a laptop with both 4G Clear WiMAX and T-Mobile's improved-3G HSPA+ modem (along with a 3G AT&T iPhone for reference) in several Portland, Ore., locations: on the 10th floor of an office building, on the street, in an underground parking garage and on a moving surface train. Clearwire's WiMAX usually performed the best, but it slowed to a relative crawl on the street. HSPA+, meanwhile, managed 2 to 4 Mbps speeds in all situations. It's not quite 4G, but Mokey says HSPA+ "beats the living hell out of vanilla 3G."
Putting 4G to the Speed Test
by Wilson Rothman
Our AssessmentIn this test, Wilson Rothman pits the top 4G phones on the market against each other (and the iPhone 4, a 3G phone) to see which is the fastest. Two phones from T-Mobile take first and second place by far; 4G phones from AT&T and Sprint can barely beat the 3G iPhone. Verizon isn't included because it didn't sell any 4G phones at the time of the test. Another drawback to this review is that it doesn't say in what city or cities the phones were tested.
4G Shootout: Verizon LTE vs. Sprint WiMAX
by Brian Nadel
Our AssessmentVerizon 4G isn't widely available, but "it's the fastest way I've found to connect on the road," Brian Nadel says. It beats Sprint 4G in this New York metro area test.
by Editors of J.D. Power and Associates
Our AssessmentThis large survey of about 26,000 wireless customers in six regions of the U.S. is relevant if you're choosing a mobile broadband provider. Customers rate wireless providers on overall call quality, which is relevant because transferring data on a mobile broadband connection to the Internet also depends on the quality of the connection. Verizon Wireless rates highest in five of the six regions, while U.S. Cellular gets the highest marks in the North Central region. Verizon is also the top pick of small business and home-based business owners. J.D. Power and Associates also surveys customer satisfaction with their wireless providers; T-Mobile wins this award, but Verizon still scores highly.
Charts -- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Wireless Providers
by Contributors to DSLReports.com
Our AssessmentThis comparison chart, updated weekly, includes ratings for all major (and some minor) mobile broadband providers. Contributors grade each provider according to six criteria, including reliability, tech support and value. T-Mobile gets the Gold Award, with the highest overall score of just over 4 out of 5. Verizon Wireless broadband gets the Silver Award, and Clear/Clearwire gets the Bronze Award. Individual user reviews provide more detailed information, and the site includes links to news about each service, plus a forum for its users.
10 Companies We Love To Hate
by Karen Aho
Our AssessmentSprint takes the No. 4 spot on MSN.com's 2010 customer service hall of shame. About one-third of respondents rate Sprint's customer service "poor" in this nationwide survey. Sprint has made the hall of shame for four years; no other wireless carrier makes the 10-worst list.
2011 Mobile Broadband Review Comparisons
by Editors of TopTenReviews.com
Our AssessmentWe'd rank this comprehensive comparison review higher if it were based on hands-on testing. Editors compare seven mobile broadband services, with brief individual reviews plus a comparison chart that covers detailed features as well as prices. Rankings are based on ratings for a number of factors, including price, network speed, coverage and customer support. Details are limited and sources of information aren't clearly documented. Verizon is the overall winner followed by AT&T and Sprint. T-Mobile falls to fourth place, with lower scores for speed and coverage.
No-Contract Mobile Broadband
by Contributors to BestBuy.com
Our AssessmentBestBuy.com sells just a few USB dongles and wireless routers for prepaid mobile broadband services. More than 80 owners review the Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 Wireless Router, and almost 120 review Virgin Mobile's Broadband2Go USB device, but both get mixed reviews. Verizon's USB modem gets higher marks, but with fewer than 10 reviews. These owner-written reviews are helpful for gauging consumer opinions of this prepaid option.