PC World tested 3G and 4G wireless data transfer speeds for the top four carriers —both indoors and outside with multiple devices across 13 major cities in 130 testing locations— and discovered some surprising results.

During average wireless speed tests for 3G networks with the smartphones pictured above, T-Mobile took home the fastest download and upload speed prize at 3.84 Mbps and 1.44 Mbps, respectively. AT&T landed the No. 2 spot with its 2.62 Mbps download speed and 0.85-Mbps upload speed.

The slower 3G network provider reclaimed its pride and rose to fame with its 4G wireless speeds, however. AT&T garnered 9.56 Mbps while downloading and 5.15 Mbps for uploads. Verizon debuted at second with its 7.35 Mbps download speed and 5.86 Mbps upload speed.

The overall winners are named below.

The overall results indicated T-Mobile as the top 3G provider due to its HSPA+21 service that appeared 4G-like in many areas of the world. AT&T won the 4G crown, though. It clocked the fastest speeds in all but four cities when compared to other 4G network providers.

So, which carrier is the biggest loser? Well, that would be Sprint. It delivered the slowest 3G CDMA speeds in every city tested, and its 4G WiMAX could not even stand in the same ring as some of the other 3G networks.

Go to PC World now for the full six-page breakdown equipped with fancy graphics.

This article is cross-posted at 9to5Mac.

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