PC World Says AT&T 3G Network Fastest Overall: Is AT&T Just Upgrading Major Cities?

I run my little unscientific 3G speed tests for my AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon services any time I am in a different area (even a few miles apart) and have the time to do so. I don’t always report the results of these tests. But, I did so last week while visiting Bellevue Washington…

Unscientific 3G Speed Test in Bellevue Washington: T-Mobile Won This One

There are two things I’ve noticed in all of these tests:

1. Within a specific area speed tests are consistent over time in terms of speed within about + or – 100Kbps
2. AT&T’s 3G is never the fastest service

So, imagine my surprise reading this in PC World…

AT&T Roars Back in PCWorld’s Second 3G Wireless Performance Test

Their tests were conducted in 13 U.S. cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. AT&T’s 3G network won the smartphone race in 9 of those cities. And, it took the crown in 11 cities when using a notebook to test 3G. PC World also notes that AT&T’s 3G network performance improved significantly since the Spring 2009 tests were carried out.

I don’t see the kind of numbers for AT&T reported in the few areas I’ve visited with my little 3-phone test setup. I wonder if AT&T is only upgrading major cities. That would be reasonable from a business point of view. But, what about the rest of us? I didn’t get anywhere near the 1751Kbps downstream seen in Seattle when I was in nearby Bellevue and Redmond.