Ask any person about the service from his or her cell phone provider and you'll usually get a variety of answers - often dependent on where that person lives and works. In Washington D.C., where I used to live, Verizon was king. You could actually make calls and surf the mobile web from the underground tunnels where the Metro subway trains operate. In California, my service has been better than fair but friends tell me that AT&T is best here. Hmmm...
For the most part, consumers still make their decisions based on call signals. But geeks like me think more about the data signal - especially now that everyone seems to be pushing the broadband-like 3G speeds. If you're waiting for the wireless carriers to give you a region-by-region comparison of their service against their competitors' service, you'll have a long wait. Thankfully, a team of bloggers over at Gizmodo took it upon themselves to conduct a somewhat-scientific test of coast-to-coast 3G data speeds, using data cards to connect to the web.
I call it scientific because these guys at least had a plan and some criteria set before they went out and started running tests. Their test cities were Austin, Boston, Chicago, New York, Portland, Raleigh, San Francisco and Seattle. It's tough to say that there was any one winner. Again, location is everything.
But what was surprising was that Sprint - the company that's been trailing the competition in recent times - consistently had some of the strongest signals across the country. Check out the Gizmodo post - which offers details on the test, as well as some granular data on the tests conducted within each city. How they did it is pretty interesting and the city-by-city results offer some great insight in case you'll be visiting or relocating to any of these areas.