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In iPhone 4S speed marathon, Sprint finishes last

by Howard Wolinsky

The iPhone marathon finally can be run with all the major players now that Sprint has joined the other big boys, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, in offering an iPhone for the first time.

In its ads, Sprint claims “blazing speed” and unlimited data. Maybe the unlimited data part is true, but the blazing part is in dispute.

Several sites ran speed tests for the iPhone 4S, which went on sale on sale for the Big Three on Friday. Generally, but not always, Sprint finished last.

Charles Starrett at iLounge reported: “AT&T has a significant edge in 3G cellular data speeds and believes that customers will need to wait for LTE-supporting iPhones before Sprint and Verizon will be able to bridge the gap.”

iLounge found in Buffalo, NY, that AT&T had the fastest data speeds, between 2.41 and 2.99 Mbps for downloads and 0.68 to 0.81 on the uploads.

With one exception, Verizon beat Sprint. Verizon had download speed ranging between 0.55 and 0.69 for downloads and 0.04 to 0.26 Mpbs for uploads, Sprint ran 0.33 to 0.58 Mpbs for the downs and 0.11 to 0.22 Mpbs on the ups.

Brent Rose at Gizmodo tested iPhone 4S along with some Android phones running true 4G, Gizmodo said: “No surprise, perhaps, the 4G phones massacred the iPhones, beating them by nearly 1,000 percent. AT&T's faster theoretical speeds with its iPhone 4S are indeed faster in real life, beating Verizon and Sprint on the iPhone 4S.”

Don’t rule out Sprint, though. Gizmodo said: “Sprint seems to average out the best of the iPhone 4Ses, with the second fastest downloads and fastest upload. Plus you get unlimited data. If all you care about is downstream and you've got good AT&T service, that's going to be your best bet.”

Still, speed may not be everything, CNET concludes in its review of Sprint’s 4S: “Call quality on the Sprint model is admirable, and the data speeds, while certainly not 4G, get the job done.”