If you are planning a trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and on posting hundreds of selfies and pictures of you with your favorite Disney princess, it might be worth evaluating your wireless provider. As it turns out, on average Verizon users can upload three selfies in the time it take Sprint users to upload one in the amusement park.
Of the four major wireless carriers—AT&T T -3.03%, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint—the latter had the worst overall performance rate in the Disney park in three-day test of the carriers’ signal strengths and upload and download success rates in the Most Magical Place on Earth. The study, which was conducted by Global Wireless Solutions—a wireless network analysis and benchmarking company—found that AT&T had the best service in the park, followed by Verizon. T-Mobile managed the grab the third spot in the rankings.
The GWS team completed about 25,000 tests over the three days in approximately 80 different locations. These tests simulated various tasks such as posting a photo to Instagram or streaming a Netflix video on the four wireless networks.
“We sent different file sizes to download and upload to simulate different use cases. The reason for that was a primary focus on understanding the social media process, such as uploading a selfie or sending something to Twitter or Facebook Paul Carter, CEO and president of GWS, explained.”
So for instance, to simulate a video upload to a social media site the GWS team uploaded a two-megabyte file on a series of devices connected to the four different wireless networks at various locations throughout the park. Similarly, they would download a 20 megabyte file to simulate video streaming.
Then GWS ranked the carriers based on a combination of the downloading and uploading throughputs (a measure of how many units of information the network could process in a given time) and the task success rate. Of the four, AT&T and Verizon really separated themselves from the other two carriers. The duo nabbed either first or second rankings for each type test except two. AT&T received a third place ranking in both video call/video streaming and video uploads. It is not surprising that AT&T came out on top in the GWS’s test considering that the telecommunications company is the official wireless sponsor of Disney World. The GWS team found similar results in terms of the carriers based on signal strength throughout the park with AT&T and Verizon out in front. Carter stressed, however, that at a certain point signal strength stops mattering as much.
“Signal strength is important. If you don’t have signal strength or have very poor signal strength then you obviously are unlikely to connect to the network and then the performance will be generally poorer but there is not always a direct correlation between signal strength and performance within a certain range,” he said. “It is a little like gas in the car. If you don’t have any gas in the car you aren’t going to go anywhere, but if you have more gas in your car that doesn’t mean anything. If you want to just go a short distance, more gas isn’t going to help you.”
In terms of Wi-Fi in the Magic Kingdom—you are better off taking your chances on your network alone. The GWS team also tested Wi-Fi throughout the park and found that the average task success rate in the Magic Kingdom on Disney’s Wi-Fi network was a dismal 54.7%–compared to well over 90% on average across all four wireless carriers.