Kevin Hunt: Is AT&T Now Hartford Area's Fastest Wireless Network?

Comment: AT&T wins this upload/download race. In the pre-LTE October report, AT&T registered download speeds of 3.7 megabits per second and upload speeds of 0.9 Mbps.

In the March study, AT&T downloaded at 20 megabits per second and uploaded at 9.1 Mbps, ahead of Verizon (13, 6.6), T-Mobile (7.5, 1.6) and Sprint (2.5, 0.7).

At these speeds, it would take a Sprint or T-Mobile subscriber up to 45 seconds to post a Facebook photo and less than a second for an AT&T subscriber to post the same photo. AT&T and Verizon subscribers can stream a high-definition video with a 30-second buffer — the process or downloading data before starting the video to prevent disruption — where a Sprint subscriber would need a 2-minute buffer and expect some dropped frames.

AT&T, in RootMetrics' tests, downloaded 10 emails in two seconds, slightly faster than Verizon (2.8 seconds). T-Mobile (5.9) and Sprint (7.0) were the laggards. AT&T (0.4 seconds) and Verizon (0.3) also loaded Web pages and apps much faster than Sprint (1.6) and T-Mobile (1.8)

Texts

1.AT&T (99)

2.Sprint (99)

3.Verizon (99)

4.T-Mobile (99)

Comment: Each of the carriers downloaded texts in less than 10 seconds at least 90 percent of the time.

Home Phone:The Best Service

A reader survey in the May issue of Consumer Reports rated two phone services that make calls over the Internet — Ooma and Vonage — over any cable or satellite service available in this state.

The rankings, with services available in the area that finished among the 25 rated services:

Ooma (Voice over Internet Protocol)

4. Vonage (VoIP)

8. Cablevision (cable)

10. Cox (cable)

15. AT&T U-verse (fiber-optic/copper cabling)

18. Charter

19. Comcast (cable)

24. AT&T (landline)

Comment: Ooma is a Bottom Line favorite, too, that requires only two things: an Ooma Telo base station ($150, sometimes discounted to $120 and even $100 for a refurbished unit) and broadband Internet service.

The free basic service includes calls in the United States, caller ID/call waiting and voicemail. Monthly taxes should run less than $4. If you want to keep your current phone number, porting it to the Ooma system costs $40. After that, your phone service is free.

It's a better deal than Vonage, where the most popular service costs $9.99 a month for three months, then $26 a month. Because these VoIP services are linked to your broadband connection, when you lose Internet in the house you also lose phone service.

Consumer Reports notes that buying a "triple play" package from a cable or satellite provider that includes television, phone and Internet services still might be cheaper. Not in this case: After buying an Ooma base station, TBL's cable bill dropped more than $30.

Some households save even more money by dropping in-home phones altogether while using mobile phones exclusively.

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on ctnow.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

CONSUMER COLUMNISTS

Kevin Hunt - The Electronic Jungle

Kevin Hunt: Review: Grace Digital Bluetooth Amplifier - April 18, 2014 - If you and Bluetooth are like this (fingers crossed), the next step in your relationship could be a little trinket like either of Grace...

Gail MarksJarvis

Tech's troubles stoke fear of market correction - April 16, 2014 - Now you see it; now you don't.

David Lazarus

When health insurers play games, patients lose - April 17, 2014 - Dr. Theodore Corwin, a plastic surgeon in Thousand Oaks for the last 30 years, has had run-ins with insurers before, but never one so...

Korky Vann

Vacationers Can Travel With Lighter, Smarter Luggage This Season - April 20, 2014 - Vacation season is just ahead, and for many of us, that means hitting the road or flying off in search of adventures. But if your travel...

Advertisement

...