Sprint's WiMAX pitted against T-Mobile's HSPA+ in Phone Scoop tests

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: June 4, 2010

Phone Scoop 4G graph

Yesterday we brought you a post about PCMag's tests determining which carrier has America's fastest 3G, and today we have tests from Phone Scoop on 4G speeds.  Sprint is the only carrier in America with a 4G network up and running, using its WiMAX standard.  T-Mobile is currently in the process of upgrading its 3G network to support HSPA+, which they tout as being capable of "4G speeds" up to 21 Mbps.  The tests were conducted using a Sprint USB stick and a 3G/4G Overdrive and two different T-Mobile USB sticks: a WebConnect stick capable of 7.2 Mbps speeds and a WebConnect Rocket stick capable of 21 Mbps.

Phone Scoop's tests were conducted at six different locations throughout Philadelphia, PA, and the results may be somewhat surprising.  Sprint's WiMAX reached speeds ranging from 748 kbps down and and 60 kbps up all the way to 4,066 kbps down and 978 kbps up.  Sprint's average came out to 2,785 kbps down and 589 up.  T-Mobile and their HSPA+ network ranged from 976 kbps down and 938 kbps up to 5,442 kbps down and 1,888 up, averaging 2,960 kbps down and 1,283 kbps up.  Interestingly, Sprint has apparently capped upload speeds for the time being, for reasons unknown.

In the end, T-Mobile came out on top with faster speeds all around.  There are some things to remember, however: as stated previously, Sprint has capped upload speeds on WiMAX, and their 4G network is still being built.  While T-Mobile simply has to upgrade its existing towers to use HSPA+, Sprint must build entirely new towers to spread the WiMAX coverage.  Both Sprint and T-Mobile are slowly spreading their high-speed data networks, so go to your respective carrier's site to check coverage before you rush out to take advantage of the fast download speeds.

There is quite a bit more data from the tests available over at Phone Scoop and we urge you to read the full article right here and learn about everything that went into the tests and all of the extremely detailed results.  Do you have any experiences with Sprint's WiMAX or T-Mobile's HSPA+?  Share your thoughts with us!

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