Some of you may wonder which 4G runs the fastest on the Galaxy S2. Well, since I’ve got all three Galaxy S2s here, I did a quick test in my backyard.
First of all, Sprint uses WiMax technology for its 4G service, which is theory can do up to 75Mbps download speeds. In the meanwhile, T-Mobile and AT&T both use HSPA+, which isn’t really 4G but it is faster than 3G.
T-Mobile is theoretically rated up to 42Mbps download speeds while AT&T is rated for up to 21Mbps download speeds.
In reality, these theoretical speeds are proportional. Sprint WiMax still outdoes both T-Mobile and AT&T while AT&T is the slowest.
I’ve done a ton of tests as I own phones on all 4 major U.S. carriers including Verizon, Verizon 4G LTE is still king followed by Sprint, T-Mobile, then AT&T, as far as maximum download speeds go.
Now, maximum speed isn’t everything but reliability and signal connectivity is. Based on my testing everywhere here in SF Bay Area, Verizon 4G LTE and AT&T HSPA+ gets near perfect signals everywhere I go, that is probably due to the number of towers they have here in SF Bay Area.
Sprint does well in open area while T-Mobile has tendency to drop to edge service. The good thing about Sprint is that its 3G service is very reliable and even without 4G, you get perfect 3G signals (3G is best on Sprint followed by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile).
As for T-Mobile, the worst part about their network is that their 3G is not reliable. I almost *never* get 3G on the Galaxy S2, it’s always between 4G or edge. Edge is completely unusable in my opinion, the data speeds are so slow that you can forget about using internet on your phone.
Now with that said, the results may also differ depending on where you live but for SF Bay Area, I’ve tested my results countless times all over so they are pretty accurate.
On another thought, HSPA+ technology isn’t really real 4G but does use a lot less energy than WiMax or 4G LTE, so you are likely to get better battery life on AT&T and T-Mobile’s version of Galaxy S2.
The perfect combination would be reliable 4G and 3G service with good value. If only Verizon could offer unlimited service on their 3G and 4G, they would be the best. Otherwise, I would prefer Sprint over anyone else because they offer unlimited plus their 3G is super reliable.
4G isn’t everything if you drop to edge like T-Mobile making your $600 phone useless, which what happens to me everyday when I am using that. Realistically here in SF Bay Area, you would probably go with Sprint. Don’t know about other cities though, you will have to do the testing yourself with all 4 networks.
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