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The difference between the best and worst phone carriers at the SXSW tech festival is a staggering 1600% right now.
We have been measuring the signal all day from the convention center in Austin and it’s been surprising just how dominant T-Mobile 3G has been. Their signal has been the most consistent and fastest all day with download speeds at around 800kbps all day. When you compare that to how everyone else is doing it starts to look pretty impressive. AT&T has been wobbling all day with connectivity dropping to zero or periodically hitting 50kbps. Verizon is slow but consistent at around 100kbps. Sprint 3G is almost non existent while Sprint 4G is momentarily fast and then inaccessible.
We have been augmenting user data with a bank of phones just next to the coffee stand in the convention center which are feeding data back to us constantly throughout the day.
I guess it’s tough on anyone to try and deliver top class cell service here at SXSW with pretty much everyone hammering their data plans hard. You could almost see this as a kind of Olympics for the carriers with a lot of their best users all trying to use the carriers at once from a relatively confined space. It’s interesting to see how they are coping with 14,000 early adopter types all in the same place.
If you are at SXSW right now help us map the carriers by downloading the app for Android from the marketplace Or come and find us by the coffee stand at the northwest corner of the convention center and tell us your cell connection takes of joy and woe. We love to hear them.