OnQ Blog

Modem vs. Modem event 4: 3G Download Speed Dodgeball

So far in our Modem vs. Modem series, we’ve seen how a phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon LTE modem stacks up against one from a competitor, whom we refer to as Team Blue. We’ve tested 4G LTE download speed (Snapdragon is 30 percent faster), dropped call frequency (0 percent for Snapdragon versus 13 percent for Team Blue), and talk time (30 percent longer).

The last event in the unique competition, which pairs man and modem as a team, is 3G Download Speed Dodgeball.

The rules are simple: two human competitors face off in a game of dodgeball, and each can recruit a team of people to help him triumph over his nemesis. The 3G download speed of the modem with which each player is paired determines how many additional players he can get.

Why does testing 3G performance matter in 2016? Because we still wind up using 3G networks in a number of situations. Many 4G LTE networks are still up-and-coming, so you may connect to an operator’s 3G towers more often than you realize. And, when traveling internationally, the phone you bought at home may not support the LTE bands used in the country you’re visiting, so you may end up on the local operator’s 3G network instead.

But, because 3G download speeds are, on average, slower than those of 4G LTE, you need to have a modem that will squeeze every ounce of performance out of the 3G network. In fact, as the data shows here, the difference modems make in 3G performance can be quite drastic.

How did we test modem performance for this event? Qualcomm Technologies ran industry-standard 3G performance tests under a variety of conditions, from a person standing still to a person riding in a car, from an ideal wireless channel to one that’s full of noise and interference, and from strong signal to very weak signal.

The Snapdragon modem had 90 percent to 186 percent faster 3G download speeds than Team Blue’s modem.

We found that the Snapdragon modem consistently outperformed Team Blue’s modem in the scenarios we tested. The Snapdragon modem had 90 percent to 186 percent faster 3G download speeds than Team Blue’s modem. In one test, the Snapdragon modem achieved an average download speed of about 10 Mbps, while Team Blue’s modem clocked only about 3.5 Mbps.

Numerically, the difference is massive. The Snapdragon modem’s download performance is nearly three times that of Team Blue’s modem; but the impact on user experience is more significant than mere numbers.

The difference between 10 Mbps and 3.5 Mbps can be the difference between smoothly streaming an HD video versus watching it buffer and stutter. It’s the difference between quickly scrolling through vacation photos versus waiting three times as long to view them. It’s knowing that you won’t have to wait long to download an attachment you need when visiting a client for a business meeting.

It’s the difference between having speeds that are comparable to LTE and living with speeds from a decade ago.

For superior Internet speeds—whether over 4G LTE or 3G—make sure your next phone has a Snapdragon modem.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

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