What the carriers have to say about CarrierCompare

Here are the carriers’ responses to SwayMarkets’ CarrierCompare iPhone app data.

AT&T: “While we haven’t reviewed the data, there are always puts and takes in these types of surveys. AT&T is the only wireless provider offering a 4G experience based on deployment of HSPA+ technology and new LTE services in many markets, which gives our customers access to the nation’s largest 4G network covering more than 260 million people.”

Sprint: “Sprint values this kind of customer-centric third-party speed testing and we are not surprised to see that Sprint’s speeds are the most consistent in the industry. Sprint understands that peak speeds are fun, but consistently fast speeds mean a better overall experience. While we know speed matters to customers, we also know they value the overall experience they get from their carrier: a combination of speed, consistent network quality, customer experience and value for the price they pay, and Sprint continues to invest in all aspects of the wireless experience. 

"We recognize, too, that as more and more customers embrace all the capabilities of wireless devices, data speeds will increase in importance and Sprint is deploying a brand new network to meet that demand now and into the future. The deployment is well underway and expected to be largely complete by the end of next year. The result will be not only the addition of 4G LTE but also improved 3G service: even better coverage, call quality and data speeds. Cell sites with the new equipment are popping up across the country now and will continue to come on air over the next 24 months covering the entire CDMA footprint."

Verizon: “Our own internal studies and other, major third-party surveys agree that the Verizon Wireless 3G outperforms competitors’ networks (whether they are called 3G or 4G)  in terms of reliability, consistent speeds, coverage, responsiveness and overall customer experience. We have a long-standing commitment to providing our customers an outstanding network experience, and it shows not only in our 3G network, which was tested here, but in our 4G LTE network as well.  The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network is the nation’s largest and most advanced 4G LTE network.” 


How SwayMarkets compared the 3G network data

Our story on the best iPhone carrier relied heavily on data generated by users of CarrierCompare, an app developed by Boston-based startup SwayMarkets. Here’s what co-founder Amos Epstein had to say about the methodology behind the statistics: 

"SwayMarkets collected & analyzed between 15,000 and 40,000 data points across each city, with care taken to ensure representative sampling over both location & time. As opposed to more conventional drive testing or sponsored surveys, all our data is crowdsourced. Our results are more indicative of customers’ actual experience with their phones."

AT&T better lawyer up

This is in the realm of legal dorkery, but it’s interesting to note that AT&T is actually arguing the wrong legal standard in its response to the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit.

On pages 23-24, AT&T says, “It is Plaintiff’s burden to prove that, on balance, in light of all the evidence, including the pro-competitive, efficiency-enhancing effects, the net effect of the transaction is to substantially lessen competition.”

That’s not true. According to Maurice Stucke, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and former U.S. Attorney for the DOJ’s antitrust division, the Justice Department actually only needs to prove that the merger may lessen competition — not will.

That’s a far less stringent burden. AT&T had better make sure it has all its arguments together when the case goes to court. -David

Putting tech editors to good use

  • David: is this an acceptable use of kibosh? "If AT&T's merger bid is successfully kiboshed, T-Mobile will find itself in a big pickle."
  • Stacy: hahah, yes
  • David: sweet. haha. Wasn't sure if you have to "put the kibosh on" something, or if something can be passively kiboshed. Learn something every day
  • Stacy: i wonder if there's an AP stylebook entry on this
  • David: I should hope so
  • Stacy: the epilogue is that I may kibosh pickle

Why Verizon needs to stop offering unlimited data


Chart: CNNMoney

Wonder why unlimited data plans are going the way of disco? Mobile Internet usage is exploding. In just 4 years, global mobile data traffic will grow by more than 11-fold to 6.2 million terabytes per month, according to Cisco.

Meanwhile, it’s costing carriers $50 billion each year to upgrade their networks in an attempt to meet customers’ demand for more mobile data.

That cost is getting passed on to you. (It’s so kind of you to pick up your wireless company’s tab!) -David

In other words, if you make any significant change to your T-Mobile plan, you’ll be forced to “Rethink possible,” as AT&T’s current marketing slogan presciently warns shoppers, and you’ll likely lose access to today’s relative thrifty T-Mobile plans.
Consumer Reports analyzed all sorts of comparative AT&T and T-Mobile plans, and guess what? T-Mobile comes in much cheaper in a lot of ways.