Carrier Shootout: Web browsing speed test between BlackBerry Bold 9900 running on AT&T and Verizon BlackBerry Bold 9930!

By Adam Zeis on 18 Aug 2011 12:10 pm EDT

More than a few people have emailed in asking for us to do a carrier speed comparison between the BlackBerry Bold 9900 running on AT&T and BlackBerry Bold 9930 running on Verizon. Since I have both in my arsenal at the moment, I figured, why not? As you can see I have pretty much full signal on both devices (Verizon was down a bar-ish) and turned Wifi off on both. So I'm running purely on the networks. The browser history, cache and all that stuff was cleared so it was a clean slate on both. I personally don't think there is too much of a difference between the two (or not enough to matter in the long run at least) but you be the judge.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

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Carrier Shootout: Web browsing speed test between BlackBerry Bold 9900 running on AT&T and Verizon BlackBerry Bold 9930!


I believe it supports HSPA+ which is the "faster" 3G of AT&T and TMO. VZ's 4G is LTE, which is a different chipset.

IMHO, since VZ wants this to be a "world phone" - it needs to accept a SIM card and have a GSM chip on board. They just can't fit (today) a CDMA, GSM and LTE chip in a device this size. Plus, LTE eats battery today.

So, the AT&T is being marketed as "4G" because of HSPA+.

Would be nice to see both of those hit and use their BW test (non flash) and see what the real throughput is.

Hopefully this shows users how ridiculous the droid vs. ios vs. bbos rendering competitions are. The time to render a page is moot because the actual time waiting is getting the data from the server.

fanboy: "My smartphone browser is faster than yours by .5 seconds. Do you know how much time that saves me in a day?"

informed user: "Really? What network are you on?"

There was an additional tab open on the 9930.. They may have been exactly equal and the image rendering problem could have been due to the open tab as well.. If the image processing was tied up in the other tab..

can you try a full site like Since it is more data-intensive the H+ will surely win, but I kind of want to see that difference.


Verizon EVDO Rev A vs. ATT HSPA+... I would have thought the H+ would have been noticeably faster due to its higher theoretical max speed..

You are correct. I want to switch to vzw for reliablity and I'm glad I saw this. Not a big difference at all. Like the guy said up there, if it only saves .5 seconds and you do it 360 times a day that would only save you 3 min a day.

"...between the BlackBerry Bold 9990 running on AT&T and BlackBerry Bold 9930 running on Verizon."

I believe this is a typo. Isn't it the 9900?

I think its the signal because I did the exact same sites with cleared cache and my phone was just as fast as the 9900 if not faster by a few seconds. (I'm using Verizon 9930)

What about the next test should be AT&T's Bold 9900 vs T-Mobile's Bold 9900. Which is really faster of them both???

I am a T-Mo customer and by what I see either way the end user goes (H+ or 3G) the differences in speed are not that much of a big deal. On a different note, T-mobile has the 9900 posted on their site (as coming soon) and apparently is claiming a 8.1 hour talk time which I found interesting.
Not believable as of yet, but interesting...

this is the most useless test. so many factors effect the speed through networks. distance to tower, network traffic usage...

I ran the same tests in sync with the video using my Torch 9800 (made sure wifi was off) and it was right on par with the 9900 give or take a second. I am using the MaxHybrid V9 Hybrid OS that has some OS7 cods embeded but not bad for an inferior OS6.

That is exactly why I am waiting for Dam ATT to get the 9900!!! not to mention simultanuous voice and data!

T-Mobile has never claimed the ability of simultaneous Voice and Data but my 9780 does it just fine. When I first got it I used to always do it while on Wi-Fi. Now I simultaneously use both while on the 3G network. This could be something old and I just found out about it. lol

i think he was referring AT&T v Verison. GSM networks allow for voice and data at the same time CDMA does not

Just to clarify, simultaneous voice and data is possible on CDMA. EVDO does not, SVDO does. Currently there is only one SVDO device available on Verizon - the HTC Thunderbolt. On 3G or (real) 4G, the Thunderbolt can do both.

"So it isn't just att persay".... That is exactly what I was trying to say!

Hopefully mooda understood you better :o)

Thanks for the video! The test results seemed about right.All other things being equal, GSM's HSPA+ should be noticeably faster than CDMA's EVDO Rev.A data. The bigger question is: In how many areas is AT&T's signal equal to or better than Verizon's? As a sequel I'd like to see T-Mobile's 9900 go into the "Data Octagon" aginst both Verizon's 9930 and AT&T's 9900.

Unlocked Bell 9900 on at&t here. If i go to, run the 7MB test, I get 14.2Mbps download speed. VZ 3G will get 3+mbps max.

A little off subject, but does anyone know if the 9930/9900 series BB's are going to have wi-fi hotspot capability with OS7?

quick question...cuz i really dont know what to do

i'll buy the 9900, need the GSM version (germany here), now.. my carrier (O2) doesnt offer HSPA+ (14,4mbps), O2 only supports up to 7,2mbps (their maximum) -> normal 3G

tmobile supports HSPA+ (14,4mbps)

1) was the 9930 CDMA speed comparable to the 9900 on 3G, about the same?
or is a 9900 on 3G completely different than a 9930 on 3G ?

also, i really like my contract on O2, but i would like HSPA+.... but tmobile only offers 24month contracts, but i wanna upgrade when the first QNX physical keyboard phone gets released (even tho i'll LOVE the 9900 !! 24 months is quite long)

so currently i'd pay full price for the phone and keep my awesome contract on O2..

2) but im not sure, would tmobiles HSPA+ be way faster than O2's 3G ?
(14,4mbps vs 7,2mbps.. you'd assume it'd be twice as fast, but that cant be, right?)

also i currently use a 9700 on 3G (7,2mbps)

so, a few more questions:

3) will the HSPA+ be way faster in everything it does, not just browsing, but also in opening and using apps and all that? well, i think.. i know the answer to that myself - yes - but will it be significantly faster?

4) also, the 9900 on normal 3G should still be WAY faster than the 9700 on 3G, is that correct?
because i think the 9700 only supports up to 3,6mbps (not sure about that) and the 9900 also has a way better processor, better browser and new OS and all that
so the 9900 3G should still be significantly faster than the 9700 3G, right?

i really dont know what to do... quite a dilemma : P
love o2, but i kinda want HSPA+ as well : (

if anyone has the knowledge and has the time to answer me, i'd really really appreciate it !
thanks in advance !!!!

(put numbers before the questions, so you dont forget any :P)

I'm not 100% sure but gsm 3G is faster than cdma 3G. So you should be able to use the faster 3G in germany. That's about all the extent I know on the speed for the 2 different technologies

Interestingly, I did the exact same test alongside you doing them in the video at 2:10 pm EST (so I assume the web pages have not changed much to affect load times). I am 9900 on Rogers. Rogers was ever so slightly faster than both for NY Times and way faster (by a couple of seconds) on

Not exactly a fair comparison since other variables were not the same (coverage, bars, etc), but interesting to note all the same.

Ok... Ummmmm... Please repeat when the Blackberry LTE devices hit. Droid Charge tested at over 8Meg on LTE here. Yes, 8Meg on a phone...

I just tested along with the video on my Bold 9650 on Verizon with only 2 bars of 3G (wifi turned off) and loaded ESPN one second slower than the 9930, loaded CNN faster than the 9930 (no missing images either), and loaded the NYT about 2 seconds slower than the 9930.

Stopped watching at 2:10. When you say Verizon wins and it does not render fully that IS NOT A WIN. The idea in these types of tests is that the ENTIRE page loads and which does it the fastest NOT which quits first. Come on Adam you should know better. Continued watching to the end. So for ALL FOUR tests AT&T wins. What does this mean, NOTHING it depends on location, signal strength, how busy the cell is, and backhaul.

As many people have said, it really is very difficult to compare speeds like this, it depends on so much.

I ran the same 3 tests on my 9930 on Verizon. Mine was slower than the 9900 but faster than the 9930 at than both phones as tested for than 9900 but faster than 9930 at Run the same tests again and I'm sure I'll get different results again.

I work in the tower industry, which gives a bit of insight into why speeds can vary so much. Oftentimes it's not the phone which determines the speed of data, but the tower you are connected to. How far away is the tower, how many other people around you are using data on your network at that exact moment, has the carrier upgraded that particular tower to a fiber backhaul yet etc etc.

Just my tuppence worth. As a side note, I also wish AT&T would stop advertising their '4G' network, which is just silly!

This needs to be done with the 9900 on HSPA, not HSPA+... I wish the 9930 was LTE, but really in the long run it won't be very different since all of the internet services run through RIM's servers. I notice maybe a half second difference on my 12mbit wifi vs ev-do rev.a on my Storm 2.

Do this test anywhere but a MAJOR city and the test may be different. In northern Michigan ATT doesn't have 3G all that built up, but I can drive hundreds of miles with Verizon with 3G on Verizon. I will not pay handsomely for the "speed" of EDGE networks.

wow .... excellent review.
You did at&t there pretty good.

see ..... it's not the devices.
It's the carrier.

Don't blame the device!!!

I have Verizon and had less bars (3) on my signal and went to the same sites just now along side the video and my sites came up much quicker then the verizon phone and the att phone

are you on an at&t&t tower?
dropped them as i couldn't get a signal in a major metro area - dropped more calls in the 9 mos than ever dropped w/sprint- went back to sprint when my i-brick wouldn't recv txts or calls - this sunday i will be sporting a new bold w/unlimited data!!

am i the only one watching this who thinks this is a totally unfair and pointless test?

2 cars in a drag race, one with 500bhp and the other with 50, but both look the same dont stand a cat in hell's chance of being compared fairly!

also: - wouldnt it also be down to network contention and traffic?

Any chance of running this same test but adding Sprint to the mix? After all shouldn't we strive for the truly "fair and balanced" approach to evaluating network vs network (as opposed to certain television news networks...)

I followed along with my 9650 and split the difference in time on all those websites except On that website my 9650 was behind both newer Bold phones by about 3 seconds. I should point out I am on Sprint and did not have full bars.