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New study finds Verizon iPhone is slower than AT&T iPhone for data downloads

Verizon AT&T iPhonesUnder certain conditions, Verizon’s iPhone 4 is significantly slower than AT&T’s, according to a new study released this week by mobile analysis firm Metrico.

Metrico looked at several iPhone handsets running in five U.S. cities on both of the wireless providers’ networks. The study confirmed what some had already suspected: on overage, the Verizon iPhone downloads data at about half the speed of AT&T’s iPhone.

Metrico qualified that finding by adding that even though AT&T’s iPhone may be faster, the average speed for loading Web pages is about the same on both provider’s devices. There are several factors that determine Web speeds including operating system and network latency.

Metrico found that AT&T’s iPhone was particularly speedy when moving, completing 10 percent more downloads in a moving vehicle than Verizon’s iPhone did. But when the phones were stationary, the opposite was true, with Verizon outperforming AT&T by a 10 percent margin.

Curiously, Metrico’s study also indicated that Verizon’s iPhone 4 performed “below average” in data download speeds when compared to other smartphones offered on the company’s network. Metrico didn’t offer any explanation whether this might be due to Verizon’s network or Apple’s hardware. One possibility is that Verizon might be throttling iPhone data to avoid overwhelming its network.

Verizon’s iPhone performed decently in the voice call category, where it ranked the highest in noise-canceling and average in voice quality.

While its findings are sure to be controversial, Metrico’s analysis of the two iPhones appears to be the most comprehensive study we’ve seen so far. The company tested devices in New York City, Baltimore-Washington, Seattle, Chicago and Dallas and ran tests that included more than 10,000 Web page downloads, 2,000 data upload and download tests and nearly 4,000 voice calls.

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