Infographic: 4G LTE speeds, Verizon vs. AT&T

We’re witnessing the start of a long cold war between the two superpowers of the wireless industry.

Back in December 2010, Superpower No. 1 (Verizon) became the first to offer new super-fast 4G LTE service in the U.S., and today people in 258 cities can connect to it. Superpower No. 2 (AT&T) launched its own competing LTE service last fall. Now in 38 cities, that service is turning out faster speeds than Verizon's.

The infographic below shows each carrier’s average LTE speed in the cities we tested where both LTE services are offered. The cities are ranked according to a composite score of AT&T and Verizon LTE download speed.

Because the AT&T network is so new, it is not being used by a very large number of people. Its speeds, which routinely clock in at up to 20 Mbps, will likely cool off somewhat over the next year as LTE subscriber numbers climb. For now, our tests show, AT&T LTE is roughly 25 percent faster than Verizon’s in cities where both services are offered. Yes, it appears we have a wireless “broadband gap”—just the thing to heat up a cold war.

That little nugget was just one of the things learned in PCWorld’s national wireless speed test, conducted in February and March. We also found that LTE service, for whatever reason, is way faster in some cities than others. In San Francisco, for example, both AT&T and Verizon services are considerably faster than they are in Los Angeles.

For the speed scores of all four major wireless carriers, you can read the PCWorld feature. To see the speed results of all four carriers’ 3G and 4G services at each of the 130 locations in which we tested, click any of the pins on this map.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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