Cellular Data Speed: Expectations VS. Reality

Posted by Alex Kotler on January 6, 2021

Cellular Data Speed: Expectations VS. Reality

What is the cheapest wireless service provider? How can I save money on my wireless bill? Why pay $65 per month when I can get the same thing from another provider for just $35?

These are the questions that everyone has, but the answer is not easy to find. With all the noise and various marketing gimmicks, it is incredibly difficult to understand the difference between one service provider over another. With that in mind, the breakdown is extremely simple.

Cellular data speed test.


All mobile service providers use 4G LTE and High Speed in their marketing. But, just because you are using a 4G LTE network it does not mean that you get the full benefit of its speed. A premium provider that is charging you $65 gives you the maximum download and upload speeds available (over 200 Mbps) up to your high-speed allowance. While the one charging you $35 will bring your phone data speed to just 10 Mbps up to your high-speed allowance.

Even though they are using the same network, the user experience will be significantly different. With a simple internet speed test, you can verify that you are getting what you are paying for. Speed tests are available through various sites like speedtest.net and fast.com.

 Keep in mind that my mobile internet speed test will be different from yours even though we are using the same phone on the same network. Every cellular data speed test will be unique. So keep an eye on the mobile data speed meter, as it will show you how your internet service is fluctuating. A phone data speed test checks the speed of your mobile data at that very moment.

Think of it as a picture, not a movie. Mobile internet speed can vary quite a bit based on a number of conditions, such as network congestion and distance from the cell phone tower. So your speed test result will vary.

Another thing to keep in mind--a cell phone data speed test uses the same process as your home internet. So you can check the download speed of your WiFi network at home and in real-time.

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Fine Print.

Every provider has a plethora of fine print. These extensive difficult to comprehend terms and conditions make it impossible to understand what you are getting. These limitations are hidden by industry tech jargon making it impossible for an average person to just find the restrictions, let alone understand what they mean.

The terms HD, 720p and 480p are references to video quality. The lower-cost plans will block your ability to stream in HD and deprioritize your data session. Thus, leading to increased buffering.

Other providers will throttle you so much that streaming is just not a viable option, yet you are still utilizing 4G LTE. Given that data consumption is on the rise, it makes it more expensive for network operators. They will go to great lengths to inhibit your use.

Is There Value in a Discount Carrier

If your use case is limited, meaning you don't stream, live in a big city, and never travel then, yes it's a good choice. On the other hand, if you travel internationally or even throughout the country, having a robust plan from a reliable provider will make all the difference. Thus making the $30 difference a month insignificant.

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