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The large cellular service providers know how important cellular coverage is to air travelers. That's why the carriers often work with airports to install signal amplifiers in and around the terminals. Verizon, for example, launched its new 4G LTE service in 60 airports when the service debuted last year. As a result of this initiative, Verizon LTE service is faster in U.S. airports than the service from competing providers by a wide margin, though T-Mobile's service rivaled Verizon in many of the gates where we tested.

CARRIER Average download speed (mbps) Average upload speed (mbps) Average latency (milliseconds)1
1 Verizon 4.27 3.27 108
2 T-Mobile 2.57 1.03 115
3 AT&T 2.00 0.94 153
4 Sprint 1.58 1.03 186

CHART NOTES: Figures represent the 40-airport average upload speed, download speed, and latency time for each service. mbps = megabits per second. FOOTNOTE: 1Latency is the time delay between the transmission of data by a wireless device up to a server in the network, and its return to the device.

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