What Is the Speed of 3G & 4G?

By Christopher Tebbutt

Cellphone network providers developed 3G and 4G mobile wireless broadband networks to enable Internet connectivity on mobile devices. A 3G network refers to the fact that it is the third generation of this type of technology. It preceded 4G, which is the fourth generation. A network's capability is measured by its data download speed, but speed cannot be measured exactly. Download speed will depend on variables including the technology used by the broadband network developer, the mobile device's location and the number of people simultaneously using the network. Because of these variables, it is best to examine the approximate 3G and 4G download speeds of the main network developers.

Sprint 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband Download Speeds

Sprint's 3G network produces an average download speed of between 600 Kbps and 1.4 Mbps, whereas the Sprint 4G network produces an average download speed of between 3 and 6 Mbps.

Verizon 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband Download Speeds

Verizon's 3G network produces an average download speed of between 600 Kbps and 1.4 Mbps, whereas the Verizon 4G network produces an average download speed of between 5 and 12 Mbps.

AT&T 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband Download Speeds

AT&T's 3G network produces an average download speed of between 2 and 7 Mbps. The AT&T 4G network, which as of April 2011 hasn't been fully developed, produces a download speed of up to 6 Mbps. This is expected to significantly increase once AT&T's LTE 4G network is fully developed.

T-Mobile 3G and 4G Mobile Broadband Download Speeds

T-Mobile's 3G network produces an average download speed of between 600 Kbps and 1 Mbps. The T-Mobile 4G network, which as of April 2011 has not been rolled out throughout the U.S., is expected to reach peak download speed of up to 21 Mbps.