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Old 08-20-2019, 04:58 PM   #1
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Verizon vs. ATT vs. T-Mobile

I have always believed Verizon to be the best provider, especially on the west coast. But I have been on the west coast (Oregon and Washington) 2 months now, in 8 different campgrounds, and I find something different.

I have an unlimited VZW account in a 6630 Jetpack, an unlimited ATT account in a United Explore MIFi device, and a 6G T-Mobile SIM card in my iPad Pro and my two T-mobile phones. In every case, VZW has been slowest, ATT usually best but twice T-mobile was the fastest.

It seems that the leadership in connection speeds is changing from VZW to anyone else.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:34 PM   #2
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Wow, interesting post. Especially because you have all three and are able to compare them all at the same time.

Now that you mention it my Verizon has been a bit slow but I figured maybe there were a lot of people using the same tower at the area we were in.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:06 PM   #3
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Really depends on where you are. My wife's AT&T doesn't get anything here at home while my Verizon screams. Every once in awhile that reverses.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:21 PM   #4
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I switched to Verizon two years ago in anticipation of traveling to Alaska as their coverage there is much better than the others. Just back from second trip to AK and no plans to return anytime soon so I'm going to switch to something less expensive. Even with Verizon's top tier unlimited plan I was limited to a half-gig per day of data in Canada, which isn't much. I looked at the T-mobile website, and discovered that what they say is the coverage of Sprint vs the Sprint coverage map on the Sprint website is quite different. LOL. For example, T-mobile says no Sprint service is almost all of Montana, ND, and SD. Sprint's map shows they have coverage in most of those states. Not sure it will matter at the end of the year since those two companies are going to merge. I will probably go with T-Mobile, but still investigating.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:09 PM   #5
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Thank you for sharing! It's good to know and see your results.

After 10 years, we just switched from AT&T back to Verizon. AT&T used to rock! In the last year, our AT&T signals and speeds here in NJ were paltry at best. It seemed to be getting worse. Some other folks in this area experienced similar latency.

So far, so good. We seem to have had good reception in on our RV trips to WV, PA, NY, VA, DE, MD, and NJ - even in some rural parts. I do a fair amount of work using my iPhone as a hotspot and my kids would be the first to tell me if the data was poor.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:33 PM   #6
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Anybody got dice because each time you roll the dice you get a different result.
The basic reason why Verizon can cover more area is 2 fold. First the operating frequency has significantly better propagation then the other carries. It can take 2 -3 extra towers to service the same area.

I have the best fastest service Verizon offers and sometimes it sucks when it comes to a internet connection but the phone part is very good.

All the carriers struggle with bandwidth and that is on a site by site basis.

We are expanding our use of the wireless internet system so fast they can not keep up with it.

I have noticed one thing, If I use the hot spot feature on my phone with my laptop, my service is far better than the built in browser.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:36 PM   #7
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I have both AT&T and Verizon. Verizon seems to have more coverage but where we travel AT&T is faster. I’ve been places where one or the other of both work fine. Never been somewhere where I don’t get at least one working.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:37 PM   #8
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Anybody got dice because each time you roll the dice you get a different result.
The basic reason why Verizon can cover more area is 2 fold. First the operating frequency has significantly better propagation then the other carries.
Correct on the first sentence (which is why anecdotal reports never mean very much), not so much on the second. Verizon and AT&T both have had 700 MHz spectrum (primarily LTE Band 12/17 for AT&T and Band 13 for Verizon) since the beginning of time and these perform basically the same. And recently T-Mobile has been building out 600 MHz (Band 71) like crazy, meaning the lack of low-band spectrum that has always killed them in rural areas is now getting to be a thing of the past.

Verizon is still a good choice but with AT&T's FirstNet buildout and T-Mobile rolling out Band 71 Verizon's dominance is not so clear cut anymore (and as result their rates have become more competitive, competition is always good.)
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:53 PM   #9
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I have all three also. But I have all the most current devices. 8800l for Verizon, Nighthawk M1 for ATT and iPhone XS Max for TMobile. It DOES make a difference!
Personally I don't care if one is faster than the other at any speed over 5 mbps. I stream 1080 at 5 mbps. So what if a download of an update takes 3 minutes vs 2.5 minutes? Irrelevant in my opinion.
Getting connected is key IMO. There is a place for all of them. TMobile is better IMO on the west coast for me. In general, I find Verizon will provide the slowest speeds, especially recently with all the unlimited plans out there and prepaid unlimited plans. ATT usually does better (if it has a comparable signal) where Verizon and ATT both have comparable signals.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:06 PM   #10
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In general, I find Verizon will provide the slowest speeds, especially recently with all the unlimited plans out there and prepaid unlimited plans. ATT usually does better (if it has a comparable signal) where Verizon and ATT both have comparable signals.
FWIW I've been seeing the same. Verizon once had a large lead and as a result held its nose in the air in terms of pricing, with their CFO once famously saying that Verizon would never provide rollover data (much less unlimited) because... 'we don't have to.' Corporate arrogance to be sure, but after a few quarters of having their heads handed to them by T-Mobile in terms of net adds they changed their tune. Now their pricing premium is gone along with their unquestioned lead in performance. They are still a good choice, but not always the best choice anymore.
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:35 PM   #11
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I was a Verizon customer when it was Cellular One here in the NW. Their pricing was just getting out of hand and where we did a lot of our local camping the data coverage was at best poor, phone was fine.
We went with T-Mobile and the data and phone were both great at the camping area and at home. I do think that Verizon still have the best coverage for phone signal but like everyone is saying, anymore it is the data more so than voice. I have noted the speeds with T-Mobile to seem to drop more with heavy use, more so than with Verizon.
We are going to Wellton AZ this winter for a couple of months, I guess I will see if T-Mobile's coverage map is accurate where we are staying! I hope so or it is going to be a long two months for the wife and in turn twice as long for me!!
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:48 PM   #12
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I'm on my 38th campground since April in 6 states + Canada. I have Verizon 40GB data plan + AT&T Mobley + HughesNet Gen 5 (sat Internet). I had some pre-conceived ideas that changed.

As of today, these are my results (BEST in BLUE):

Average Speed:
  • Campground WiFi = 12.9 Mbps
  • Verizon = 13.2 Mbps
  • AT&T = 12.5 Mbps
  • HughesNet Gen 5 = 10.6 Mbps

Availabilty (% of campgrounds with service):
  • Campground WiFi = 66%
  • Verizon = 89%
  • AT&T = 74%
  • HughesNet Gen 5 = 100% (untested, just predicted)

"Streamability" (% of campgrounds with service faster than 5 Mbps):
  • Campground WiFi = 37%
  • Verizon = 87%
  • AT&T = 58%
  • HughesNet Gen 5 = 57%
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:43 PM   #13
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I have both Verizon and ATT as well, and my experience was about the same as TechWriter. One thing I do that helps both is have a WeBoost signal booster. It made the difference between not having enough data to stream and having enough in a lot of areas.

Personally I only needed to boost 1 device at a time so I went with the under $ 200 WeBoost Drive Sleek Cradle 4G Booster.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:06 PM   #14
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TechWriter, it is hard to compare unless you used the same or close sister model MIFI units in each location. For example the Mobley is a bit long in the tooth hardware wise, and does not support carrier aggregation like newer units do, so connection speed tends to be a bit slower than you would see with something like a Netgear Nighthawk connected to AT&T from the same location.


I have done some side by side comparisons between a Mobley and an Netgear 815S, and every time the 815S will connect at speeds at least 20% faster than the Mobley when using fast.com testing. This is not to say anything bad about the Mobley, just that it is not the fastest option.
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