“Hold on, it’s loading. It’s still loading. Now it's refreshing. OK, I got it."
Phew. Your email finally arrived after a three-second delay. That wait can elicit sailor-like utterings in today’s insta-delivery world. At a Rockies game, stuck in I-25 traffic, or in the Whole Foods checkout line, chances are that your smart phone slows down even more. Who's to blame?
Probably your carrier.
A study recently released by RootMetrics, a company based in Bellevue, Washington, compared download speeds and various other stats (including dropped calls) in Denver. The study looked at 30,000 data, text, and call tests over AT&T, Cricket, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks. The conclusion: Things move a little more slowly at a mile high.
More specifically, the study concluded that Verizon had the best combined and data performance, while T-Mobile had the fewest dropped calls, and the texting speed differential was negligible from carrier to carrier. Posting a selfie on Facebook may take up to 45 seconds with Cricket or Sprint, the slowest uploading networks in the area (it'll take just about 10 seconds or less with Verizon).
So, you should sign up with Verizon, right?
Maybe not. In another study, PC Magazine sent drivers out with smart phones and tablets to 30 major cities across the U.S. to test the 4G networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Overall, they concluded that AT&T and Verizon lead, but that T-Mobile and Sprint are catching up.
In Denver, AT&T narrowly beat out Verizon (Verizon’s network was more reliable for webpage downloads). PC Magazine also determined that Denver lacked the speed seen elsewhere in the nation and blamed the, wait for it, thin air.
PC Magazine also noted that in Denver, as well as across the nation, if you are still on a 3G network, smoke signals travel faster. Upgrade now. (Then again, you probably can't see this article; you're still waiting for it to load.)
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock