Verizon's network based on CDMA technology is not as fast from a pure technology standpoint as HSPA 7.2 networks - like AT&T's. Based on utilization, average speeds will vary but on average AT&T's HSPA network is faster than Verizon's 3G CDMA network.
AT&T is using this difference to differentiate itself from Verizon, particularly now that VZ will soon have the iPhone. Highlighting this difference is a wise move by AT&T for both customer acquisitions but also for customer retention.
Interestingly, a slower networkhelps Verizon manage overall utilization. Why - customers will simply not use their phone as much if they are not receiving data fast enough. This may seem trivial but anyone on a PC knows that if a video does not load fast enough or is constantly stopping and starting, you quit viewing the video. The same affect occurs with mobile. Measuring this affect on network utilization is hard to do - but it can help manage customer mobile data usage.
Who wins with a faster network? If greater utilization does not create overall network problems,a faster network is desirable. But if themajority of application usageon a slower network is acceptablefrom a user's perspective, thena slightly slower network will not harm customer adoption and retention and offer some network utilization benefits.
At some point it will be interesting to see a comparison of application speeds foriPhone used on the Verizon 3G CDMA network and AT&T's HSPAnetwork. Then based on the results - who wins......or does it really matter with both operators moving to 4G.