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TechHive's Wireless Week: Testing America's networks

Mark Sullivan | May 21, 2013
Our Internet experience has become irreversibly mobile, and the stakes couldn't be higher. It's not unusual for a family to pay $2000 a year in wireless-service bills alone. For anyone living in the United States, in fact, the cost of moving 1MB of data over a cellular network is among the highest in the developed world.

Wireless Week on TechHive
But new wireless technologies and coverage announcements mean little compared with the actual day-to-day availability and performance of the networks as they exist today. What really counts is how quickly and easily smartphone and tablet users can connect to the Web and get the information they want.

This week on TechHive, we'll be publishing the results of this year's study, which examined the 3G and 4G services of the four major wireless service providers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. We'll also look at how well the services work indoors versus outdoors, give you a glimpse inside the global network operation center of one of the major carriers, and tell you more than you ever wanted to know about testing wireless networks at street level.

Because this year's study yielded more data than we got from our studies in years past, we'll be presenting the data in a series of features, videos, infographics, and interactive maps that will run throughout the week here at TechHive.

Monday
We start off the week by explaining the methods and tools we used to test the wireless services. You can also see a video of OpenSignal's Gabe Scelta demonstrating how he moved about each city to conduct the tests.

Tuesday
Tomorrow we'll publish the results of our tests of the carriers' 3G networks in 20 U.S. cities, along with our analysis of which services are improving and which ones are languishing.

Wednesday
On Wednesday, we'll look at the speeds of the new 4G/LTE networks that are rapidly being built around the country. Accompanying this feature will be an infographic about the state of LTE in the United States.

Thursday
On Thursday we'll evaluate all of our testing results together, and declare some overall winners and losers based on the speed of the 3G and 4G services the carriers offer.

Friday
To wrap up Wireless Week, we'll take a look at how the wireless services perform when measured indoors versus outdoors. We'll also spotlight T-Mobile's freshly launched LTE service, which is pumping out some impressive speeds in the handful of markets where it's available.

We hope you'll find some useful information in the data we've collected over the past six weeks. And please let us know about your own wireless experiences in the comments section below this article or any of the other stories we post this week.

 

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