Fastest Wireless Network 2019: It’s Not Even Close

San Francisco: A Stroll in the Park for AT&T

AT&T continues to set the pace when we test LTE network speeds in San Francisco. And it's not just because the carrier enjoys a considerable home field advantage at the baseball stadium that bears its name.

We recorded an average download speed of 57.3 Mbps for AT&T, topping runner-up Verizon's 44.9 Mbps average. While Verizon bested AT&T on average upload speed — 16.7 Mbps to AT&T's 13.2 Mbps result — AT&T fared the best on our app download test. Its 22-second average was 15 seconds better than the time Verizon turned in.

To be sure, AT&T benefits from the fact that we test at AT&T Park, where the carrier posts a staggering download speed of 155.6 Mbps. (Verizon's otherwise blazing 85.9 Mbps average at the ballpark is a distant second.) But AT&T fared well at other sites where its rival carriers faltered.

Average Download Speed, San FranciscoAverage Upload Speed, San FranciscoAverage App Download Time (Min:Sec)
AT&T57.3 Mbps13.2 Mbps0:22
Verizon44.9 Mbps16.7 Mbps0:37
Straight Talk31.7 Mbps10.2 Mbps2:23
Metro18.8 Mbps10.2 Mbps1:20
Sprint17.7 Mbps2.8 Mbps1:58
Boost16.2 Mbps2.7 Mbps2:30
T-Mobile16.1 Mbps11.1 Mbps1:03
Cricket7.5 Mbps5.9 Mbps0:44

Inside a Haight-Ashbury district restaurant, it was the only carrier whose download speed topped 10 Mbps (and by a healthy margin at 40.7 Mbps). AT&T enjoyed similar spreads when we tested in Golden Gate Park and inside a neighborhood grocery store.

AT&T-owned Cricket wasn't so peppy, with the carrier's 8 Mbps data speed cap limiting downloads to a 7.5 Mbps average in the City by the Bay. Sprint and Boost struggled, too, with the slowest average upload speeds and app download times around the 2-minute mark. Straight Talk also had trouble with downloads, averaging 2 minutes and 23 seconds on its Discord download even though it was using Verizon's fast network.

Our results reflect an average of five tests conducted at six sites around San Francisco. At each test site, we also downloaded the 40MB Discord app from the Google Play store onto Galaxy S9 phones tied to each carrier.

AT&T may have won in San Francisco, but it was only runner-up nationally. Verizon captured our overall ranking for the fastest wireless network, topping both AT&T and T-Mobile. Check out our full national results.