San Diego

The Need for Speed: Which Mobile Network is Fastest in San Diego?

See how the top four wireless carriers rank in San Diego

Consumers depend on their cell phones more than ever. They not only rely on their smartphones to make calls but also to download music and upload videos and photos to social media sites.

"Internet speeds nowadays are so important," says San Diego resident, John Deleon. "You can't have the kids waiting for the videos to load."

That makes having a fast and reliable network very important to consumers.

In a new report, PC Mag, conducted a study to find the fastest mobile networks in cities across the country. To get those results PC Mag looked at the four largest wireless carriers - T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T - and drove nearly 10,000 miles in 30 cities across the country while running speed tests on cell phones. 

As was the case nationally, AT&T was the big winner in San Diego County. PC Mag found AT&T had almost double the average download speed compared Sprint, the second highest carrier. 

In terms of upload speeds, AT&T finished at the top as well, however not much higher than the next best carrier, T-Mobile.

And lastly, in regards to network speed, AT&T finished with a score of 100 out of 100. T-Mobile finished second in speed with a score of 78, followed by Verizon with 77, and Sprint came in fourth with a score of 69.

PC Mag
PC Mag

“AT&T made some major upgrades and has the best performance in San Diego this year,” says PC Mag’s lead analyst, Sascha Segan.

“The company really got its act together over the past two or three years,” added Segan. “Some of that has to do with new cell sites, some of it is adding new lanes of spectrum, which is similar to adding extra lanes on a freeway.”

Segan says most carriers had strengths in specific areas.

For instance Sprint has focused on download speeds.

“Sprint does really well with downloads in San Diego but not so well with uploads,” said Segan. “This is characteristic of Sprint.”

A spokesperson for Sprint agrees.

“We are pleased to rank second in San Diego for download speeds because we know our customers download much more data than they upload,” said the spokesperson. “We’ve built our network to fit how customers use their devices, and our design gives customers a great data experience.

A spokesperson for Verizon told NBC 7 Responds that the company’s track record is more important. “What’s most important to our customers is the combination of unparalleled reliability, coverage and great speeds.That's what we provide customers and how we differentiate ourselves.”

The Verizon spokesperson said the reliability for customers in San Diego will only import when the 5G network is completed later this year.

A spokesperson for T-Mobile told NBC 7 Responds that the company's "LTE network has more than tripled in size since 2014 and now covers 99% of Americans. We’re adding even more coverage and capacity in the San Diego area to give T-Mobile and Metro customers even faster speeds.”

Consumers we spoke to said they need that speed now.

"We want our phones to watch videos on YouTube or take videos of the kids to send to Grandma and Grandpa," says San Diego resident Blake Beyer.

To see more on the survey visit

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