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Philly Mobile Broadband Speeds Lag Behind Most Major Cities, Study Shows

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Are you getting what you pay for when it comes to mobile broadband? One company says Philadelphia is hitting speed bumps much more than other big cities when it comes to 4G LTE.

"You see these great claims that it's going to be this quick, it's going to be that fast."

Of course, they can't all be the "best," says Samuel Johnston with OpenSignal, who makes a mobile network coverage app for Android.

"We're seeing speeds as they're really experienced by users," Johnston said.

In Philadelphia, wireless networks are dragging.

"We're seeing very slow Sprint download speeds. But even AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are below their US averages."

At 5.5 Mbps versus 7 Mbps on average in the rest of the country, you likely wouldn't notice much of a lag -- though T-Mobile's 4G in Phoenix, Dallas, and San Diego is getting three times the speeds we're seeing here. It's even faster in San Jose -- think two seconds to download a song, instead of eight.

"People like talking about speeds, but it doesn't give you the whole picture."

Johnston says that T-Mobile likely is clocked as quickly as it is out west because the network is newer and not as many phones are using it to hop online. And, he says, the speed test doesn't account for a network's reliability -- also a selling point.

"According to the latest figures in the UK, we average around 18 Mbps download. But again, it's a much newer network in the UK with less adoption. My hunch is the US has a very well-served 4G LTE network -- and, in a way, what's more important -- having an 18 Mbps connection, or having that 7 Mbps connection a lot more of the time?"

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