Since our last post on Verizon LTE coverage within California, Verizon has removed the LTE Coverage Map from its site. Now it only gives a list of cities that have 4G LTE service (just like T-Mobile). So we now move from the West Coast to the East Coast i.e. Virginia. The state that is home to Virginia Tech, one of the finest schools in the country and a breeding ground for Wireless Engineers. It is thus somewhat of a shock to see that Verizon Wireless has no 4G LTE footprint in the state of Virginia. The only place that it intends to deploy 4G in near future is Bristol Virginia. It claims that by the end of 2013 it would have 4G coverage throughout the US where 3G service is currently available.
As in California T-Mobile has a much wider coverage with many smaller cities getting 4G service. The list includes: Alexandria, Mclean, Newport News, Norfolk, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Reston, Richmond, Roanoke and Lychburg. So although Verizon might be winning the speed race it is definitely not winning the coverage race (at least in CA and VA). And with AT&T T-Mobile merger also a possibility early next year Verizon is set to face some stiff challenge.
Given below are the results of a 4G speed test conducted by PC Magazine in the Northeast.
- 4G LTE Speed Test
The above results show that in areas where 4G coverage is available Verizon allows for average download speeds that are twice that of T-Mobile. The upload speeds are somewhat similar. Overall Verizon is by far the best in terms of the Mobile Speed Index, with T-Mobile in second spot and AT&T at third.
T-Mobile claims to be serving 4G to 152 markets with 170 million POPs across the US. The technology that T-Mobile is using is HSPA+ which achieves data rates comparable to those achieved by 4G LTE technology being used by Verizon. With this technology (HSPA+21 and HSPA+42) end users can experience average download speeds of 5Mbps and peak download speeds of 12Mbps. However the future of T-Mobile hangs in the balance now as the AT&T and T-Mobile merger is being debated at the FCC.
- T-Mobile LTE Coverage
Although the above figure seems to suggest that T-Mobile 4G service is available throughout US it must be noted that the service is actually available only in high density urban areas where operators make most of their revenue. This means that 4G service would not be available on most of the highways. So the 4G service must at this point compete with not only other wireless services but also with DSL and Cable.
Just to get an idea of the coverage we look at the list of cities getting 4G service in California (as claimed by T-Mobile). The list includes: Anaheim, Burbank, Fresno, Glendale, Irvine, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Napa, Oakland, Ontario, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Salinas, Stockton, Vallejo-Fairfield, Visalia.
It seems that the T-Mobile 4G service in California is much more widely spread than Verizon LTE (see previous post) with many smaller cities such as Stockton, Modesto, Santa Rosa and Visalia also getting 4G service.
POP: Point of Presence.