AT&T 3G | The Fastest Mobile Broadband Network?
If you’re interested in AT&T, please refer to the 2012 AT&T 4G Review. This review is dated.
Beyond claiming the fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T 3G falls within industry averages for most categories. At $60/month for 5 GB of data and average 3G coverage, they supplement their service with complimentary WiFi at a variety of locations.
Formerly Unlimited. Now 5 GB for $60/month.
Unlike Alltel, AT&T offers only one 3G plan. At the industry standard of $60/month, the difference with their service is what you get.
Up until January 2008, it was marketed as unlimited mobile broadband. Like other major carriers with the exception of Alltel, they began capping usage at 5 GB (Gigabytes) per month. Citing the reason of discouraging excessive use, the true benefit to the carrier was revenue maximization.
The Fine Print
AT&T legal terms state that their LaptopConnect cards can only be used for:
(i) Internet browsing
(iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email, and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force, and field service automation).
For less restrictive service at the same price and quantity of data, a better option may be Verizon as they encourage VoIP usage.
The Fastest Mobile Broadband Network?
AT&T 3G speed tests show average download speeds ranging from 600-1400 kbps and upload speeds ranging 500-800 kbps.
Following recent upgrades, speed bursts in certain areas now reach 1.7 Mbps. While close to the speeds of Sprint and Verizon networks in EVDO Revision A areas, it doesn’t make them the fastest mobile broadband network.
Nationwide Coverage + 17,000 WiFi Hotspots.
AT&T 3G coverage works best in their advertised ‘top 300 cities’ of the United States. With projections of growth to 350 cities by the end of the year, it’s the kind of coverage that could eventually give Sprint & Verizon a run for their money.
Additionally, AT&T also provides complimentary WiFi access at 17,000 Starbucks locations nationwide to supplement their 3G coverage.
AT&T “offer[s] use of its hotspots for free to Laptop Connect [AT&T Mobile Broadband] and smartphone users”.
– AT&T Press Release
For Laptop Connect users, it started on May 20th, 2008. As an extra benefit, speeds at WiFi hotspots will surpass those of their 3G service areas.
Not Sure About AT&T?
Check out our Postpaid Mobile Broadband Comparison