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Is 3g on other providers that much better?

Discussion in 'Virgin Mobile' started by pigwalk, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. pigwalk

    pigwalk Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Just wondering, been contemplating getting away from VM for a while now. Even at 5 bars, it tends to run under 1mb down. I know we get throttled down from Sprint custs (more or less) but is their 3g much faster than ours?

    According to sensorly there is some WiiMax in my area, and even some LTE, but I don't trust going for a S3 if LTE will be spotty here, and if it's a fraction of the speed normal Sprint 4g would be.

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  2. 7Priest7

    7Priest7 Guest

    Depends on your area, but the general consensuses is that sprints 3g network is the slowest.

    You should consider T-Mobile's 4G.
    Do check your coverage first though, T-Mobile's 4G is the widest 4G coverage, however it has it's trouble areas.
    If you do not get throttled, You should consider staying with VM.
    The cost of a new phone would not be justified if you use less than 2.5GB a month.
  3. RealFastOne

    RealFastOne Well-Known Member

    I have been trying to get a handle on what Sprint is planning with the improvements in their network. I am under the impression that 4G LTE rollout is ahead of the announced schedule. I think the original plan was to dump Virgin Mobile and Boost into the Wimax network. Now I think they are going to phase out Wimax completely (or as much as possible - especially 4G Wimax) and bring Virgin Mobile and Boost into the 4G LTE as their only 4g option.

    This may not be news to some. Any one know what Sprint's plans and strategies are? Any thoughts and ideas on this subject would be appreciated.
  4. Rxpert83

    Rxpert83 Dr. Feelgood

    Wimax will be dead within a few years. They plan to have it down by 2015 I believe
    RealFastOne likes this.
  5. RealFastOne

    RealFastOne Well-Known Member

    That is what I thought, but I could not find any confirmation of this. Even though I can quit Virgin Mobile at any time, I want try and anticipate changes at Sprint and their competitors. AT&T buying Leap Wireless (Cricket) has got to stir the pot a little.

    In other words, I would rather live with my current level of service than invest in a device that would only use the Wimax system, especially if Sprint decides to phase out Wimax sooner than 2015.
  6. greenghost2212

    greenghost2212 Android Enthusiast

    Virgin has lte phones also like the victory and the s3.
  7. mogelijk

    mogelijk Android Expert

    Sprint does have the worst 3G speeds of the four major carriers. Of course, YMMV, so much with cell networks depends on coverage in your city, particularly the areas where you are using your phone.

    There seems to be evidence that Virgin Mobile is even worse, as it appears that Sprint gives the traffic from their MVNOs a lower priority. I'm not quite sure how it is done; I've seen some claim it is because Sprint limits the towers that Virgin Mobile customers can use and other claims that say they give a lower priority to Virgin Mobile users. There appear to be no admissions by Sprint or Virgin Mobile that this occurs; the sole evidence is largely based on speed tests done in the same locations on both Virgin Mobile and Sprint phones. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on LTE.

    GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile) have the fastest "3G" speeds because of the technology. The US CDMA carriers (Verizon and Sprint) never expanded their 3G standards; instead Sprint quickly moved to Wimax and Verizon became an early adopter of LTE. GSM 3G standards were improved using HSPA+, which you could call 3.5G. AT&T has maxed out their network at HSPA+ 21 (theoretical maximum speed of 21 Mbps) and T-Mobile has gone up to HSPA+42 (theoretical maximum of 42 Mbps) -- in the real world, maximum speeds are about half of the theoretical maximum. So, in terms of 3G, T-Mobile has the fastest 3G data network (to the point they marketed it as "4G", since their network download speeds are similar to what most LTE users are getting) but, like Sprint, they are a smaller network (compared to AT&T and Verizon), located mostly in population centers and with poor coverage in rural areas.

    I quit Virgin Mobile a little over a year ago because I just couldn't take the data speeds any longer -- and Wimax was too spotty in the areas I use my phone. With T-Mobile I am getting download speeds (on an HSPA+ 21 phone) that range between 3-8 Mbps. It has been a huge improvement for me and I have solid coverage in most areas. If I had an HSPA+42 phone, my data speeds likely (based on results in my area I've seen) would be a bit more than twice as fast (so between 7 and 17 Mbps). Again, your experience will depend on coverage in your area.

    Last, one good tool that might give you an idea of the speeds between the various providers is PC Mag's Fastest Mobile Networks article. Just remember that many of the cities the tested that do not show T-Mobile and/or Sprint having LTE do now have LTE coverage (or likely will by the end of the year).
    RealFastOne likes this.
  8. RealFastOne

    RealFastOne Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but not relatively cheaper ones -- yet. :dong:
  9. MLSS

    MLSS Android Expert

    I'm on Boost and although my Data speeds suck and Sprint has spotty coverage in S.E. Ohio (I lived in Central Kentucky when I got Boost and coverage rocks there.) I only pay 40 bucks a month and I have WiFi at home so I never have to worry about getting throttled after 2.5gb.

    Boost and Virgin do have slower speeds than contract Sprint customers but I can live with it. I will stay on 3G another year before I upgrade to a phone with LTE.
  10. ragnarkar

    ragnarkar Well-Known Member

    When I was using 3G on my Samsung Intercept, it felt slower at times than my 28.8 modem in the 90s..

    The running joke is that VM's Wimax is 3.5G.. meaning it's only marginally faster than 3G with other providers. You do the math..

    I've gotten as fast as 10Mbps on Wimax.. but speeds suffer as soon as the signal is less than perfect (full bars).
    Rxpert83 likes this.
  11. Rxpert83

    Rxpert83 Dr. Feelgood

    I imagine that's at least part of the reason sprint is spending $$$$$ to make the switch. As a technology, wimax was one of the first to market but turned out not to be the best.
  12. mrnyjet

    mrnyjet Android Enthusiast

    the new issue of pc world did a test and the results were at&t for lte, t mobile for 3/4g, and sprint was last in all catagories. In fact, t mobile was faster than sprint lte.
  13. tunaman2

    tunaman2 Newbie

    Well, my GF finally got a smartphone a few months ago - a Verizon phone on Straight Talk - and I can categorically say that although her overall coverage is 1000x better than mine, her download speeds are laughably slow compared to mine.

    I haven't done an actual speed test yet, but if we're somewhere with similar bars, I can download a 10 MB file (like, say, a Facebook update from Play) in a minute or two, while hers takes 8-10 minutes. And it's consistently like that, too so it's not just a fluke with Play or anything.

    So our phones are usually: mine, with 1 or 2 bars, but decent speed as long as I don't move an inch; or hers, with 5 bars, but slower than a 56k modem.
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