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What is Salt Lake County's quickest cell phone network when you want to download music?

Published March 12, 2012 10:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Salt Lake Tribune has just put the top four cell carriers in Utah to the test, searching for the quickest network when you want to download music (or do other things).

Using six smartphones, The Tribune traveled to 114 random locations around Salt Lake County, from Bluffdale to Rose Park, to test the 3G and 4G networks of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

See the interactive map (http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home3/53599322-200/network-speeds-mobile-verizon.html.csp) to see how well each network fared. By clicking on each dot on the map where The Tribune tested, readers can see the speeds for each carrier and service. There is also an intensity map that breaks down the results by network.

People can test their phones and upload the results to this map: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/53693677-80/iframe-mobile-network-results.html.csp

In a nutshell, here were our results, compiled by Vince Horiuchi of the Tribune:

Verizon's 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network, which was turned on countywide June 21, was by far the fastest network in Salt Lake County, averaging a download speed of just over 8 megabits per second (Mb/s). With that speed, a user can download a five-minute song in about five seconds or stream a high-definition movie to a television without any need for buffering.

Network speeds are measured in bits per second, while file sizes are measured in bytes. Eight bits are equal to 1 byte, and you would need about 8,000 kilobits of data to transmit a typical 1 MB cellphone picture. This would take less than two seconds to upload on average with Verizon 4G, but nearly 13 seconds on average to upload with Verizon 3G.

The second-fastest download speed was T-Mobile's 4G network (5,281 Kb/s), followed by Sprint's (3,412 Kb/s). Meanwhile, Verizon's 4G upload speeds — the ability to send data from your phone — also was far and away the fastest, with an average speed of 5.5 Mb/s. With that, a person could upload a typical 1- to 2-megabyte picture in about two to five seconds.