Sprint has no 4G in Phoenix and surrounding areas and their 3G network is slow. Sprint’s download speeds in the Phoenix area on average is 263Kbps which is about 40 times slower than AT&T and Verizon. Of all the speed tests I performed 14% of the time my connection was slower than a dial-up modem and only 17% of the time I was getting the minimum advertised 3G download speeds.
I’ve been a Sprint customer in Phoenix for a while now, and ever since I joined I’ve been told that 4G speeds is just around the corner ready to launch in just a few short months. Good thing I have a 4G phone and pay the extra $10 premium data fee right? Well, my friend on Verizon consistently gets much higher download speeds on his 3G phone.
So I decided to collect some data and figure out the real life speed of the Sprint network in Phoenix. Do we have 4G speeds, 3G speeds, or dial up modem speeds?
- I used Ookla’s Speed Test app on my 4G phone.
- I collected data in real life situations – mostly outdoors, once at home, once at work, and a couple of times driving on the freeway.
- I was never “in the middle of nowhere”. Always in the city, and populated areas. These cities are Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, north and south Scottsdale.
- When I was indoors I was always a couple feet from the windows. No elevators, no basements, etc.
Sprint does not have 4G in Phoenix. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile do have 4G in Phoenix. Does Sprint even have a respectable 3G connection in Phoenix? I don’t think so. They define a 3G network with speeds between 600Kbps and 1400Kbps. But in practice you’ll get speeds even less 300Kbps. Sprint 3G network is slow and sometimes you get speeds slower than a 52K dial up modem.
I should also mention that Speed Test sometimes (at least 3 times) would not even run because of network communication issues. I did not include these failures as 0 Kbps. I either waited for the network to come back or just moved somewhere else to rerun the tests. Do you think I should’ve included these failures? In that case the average speed would be even lower than 263Kbps. Another thing to note is that the median for the download speeds is 160Kbps.
Do you see any yellow or orange on this map? This screenshot was taken from Sprint’s own coverage map. There’s no 4G LTE or 4G WiMax in Phoenix.
After trimming the lowest and the highest values for download speeds I simply pasted my test results into Wolfram Alpha for some simple stats.
All values below are in kilobits/second (Kbps).