AT&T and T-Mobile just partnered with New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to roll out cellular service in multiple locations underground. We wondered just how fast we could clock data downloads from within one of NYC's crowded subway stations. We also measured performance inside moving train cars just for kicks.
In addition to asking what the average straphanger felt about using phones underground, we tested data speeds on AT&T and T-Mobile 4G handsets. At the 14th street A, C, and E station we pulled down a speedy average of 6.7 Mps on AT&T's network with uploads at 1.4 Mps.
T-Mobile throughput on the other hand was very sluggish by comparison. We logged average data downloads of only 0.5 Mbps at the same test location. Uploads were even lower, measured at a scant 0.1 Mbps. T-Mobile did explain to us that it is in the beginning of its subway service implementation and that underground users can expect data speeds "slower than 4G" at the moment. Higher throughput will occur once T-Mobile can install optical fiber lines in the future.
Most interesting was how we were able to hang onto a 4G signal on the platform, then inside a train car, even while traveling between the 14th and 23rd street A, C, E stations. Sound unbelievable? Watch our video below to see for yourself.