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iPhone 4S Users' Best Choice: AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint?

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In February, when Verizon finally announced it would be welcoming the iPhone into its device flock, analysts predicted a mass exodus from the much-maligned AT&T network as customers head toward greener cellular pastures. And just last month, when Sprint joined the iPhone team, some expected AT&T to experience even more customers to break ties and join a network with "unlimited data" plans.

But, as it's been seen since February, AT&T hadn't suffered the losses folks expected it would. Glenn Lurie, AT&T's president of emerging devices, reports, "Churn has not moved at all."

Even though the majority of AT&T customers decided on staying put, what about new customers interested in buying an iPhone 4S? With three national carriers to choose from, which is in their best interest to join? (Incidentally, a question far easier than "Which Android should I get?")

Performance analytics company Metrico Wireless Inc. conducted a series of tests to determine which provider is best for the iPhone 4S crowd.

Its findings: Well, it depends. There's a different answer for those who like faster speeds, those who like call reliability, and those who like having a reason to complain.

According to Metro, AT&T provided the fastest data download speeds of the three carriers, topping 6,047Kbps at its maximum with an average of 3,210Kbps. Verizon couldn't meet half those speeds, hitting a mere 2,371Kbps and a 1,071Kbps average. Sprint suffered the worst with a terrible 1,767Kbps top speed and a mean speed of 581Kbps.

When it comes to call reliability, however, AT&T suffers. No surprise there.

Verizon tops the list with only 2.1% of test calls having failed. AT&T fared slightly worse with a 2.8% fail rate. And Sprint finds itself at the bottom again with 3.7% of its calls getting dropped.

So from the looks of those results, it appears that stateside iPhone 4S customers are still only left with two choices.

(See also: 10 Ways to Improve Google Music and Google Engineer Calls Google+ a Complete Failure)

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