With Captira, it is not clear what steps customers had to take to access the service. Got a tip?
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Today, Captira does not explicitly mention the cell phone locator service on its website, but the company does offer a number of other products, including the ability to comb through images captured by nationwide license plate readers , potentially letting a user trace the historical movements of a particular vehicle across the country. But a source who has followed the industry of phone location products told Motherboard that several companies stopped advertising their geolocation products in around and , perhaps due to increased concern that the services may have been illegal. Motherboard granted the source anonymity to talk about industry developments.
We don't know how Captira obtained data to track phones across all major telcos. LocationSmart, the company that provided location information to Securus, told Motherboard Captira did not obtain its telco data from LocationSmart, nor was Captira a customer of Locaid, a company that LocationSmart acquired in Zumigo, another location data company, and which Verizon recently mentioned as one of their main middlemen vendors, told Motherboard Captira was not a customer.
In tweets, Captira said it had obtained approval for its cell phone location service from both Verizon and T-Mobile. Neither telco responded to questions on whether they gave Captira customer location data.
Same number. Better network.
While Sprint may have placed last among the Big Four carriers, it posted the biggest improvement, doubling its average download speed from the last time we tested. It also performed dramatically better in our app download test, narrowing down the gap with T-Mobile to 7 seconds. It's clear that Sprint's efforts to improve its 4G capabilities are paying off. Updated, Oct. But Straight Talk, which lagged other carriers in previous tests, turned in a stellar performance when using a SIM card tied to Verizon's leading network.
Straight Talk uses other carriers' networks, too, and when we tested with different SIMs, the speeds weren't as fast. We tested eight popular carriers. In our past tests, we've included Virgin Mobile, but during our test period, Virgin was positioning itself as an iPhone-focused carrier, and we use Samsung Galaxy phones in our testing to ensure a level playing field — iPhones use different modems, depending on the carrier you select.
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We conducted our testing using the Galaxy S9. Seven of the carriers we tested supplied us with a test unit tied to their network. In the case of Boost, we bought an S9 directly from the company tied to its network. We used the same phones to test the different networks in eight cities. We conducted our testing from June to August In each of the cities, we selected six test sites based on geographic diversity and popularity. Those test sites included an equal mix of outdoor and indoor testing.
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We ran Ookla's Speedtest. We also downloaded Discord a 40MB file from Google Play and timed how long the app took to install; if the app didn't download after 5 minutes, we stopped the test and listed its download time at for that location. After determining average download and upload speeds for each location in each city, we used those results to come up with an average performance number for all six cities. To determine our final rankings, we looked at both download and upload averages as well how close the gap was between different carriers; we also considered how carriers fared when downloading mobile apps.
Same number. Better network.
Average Download: It's no mystery why Verizon has tightened its grip on the top rank in our network testing. It had both the fastest download and upload averages across our eight test cities. It also turned in the fastest average time on our app download test, with a blazing-fast second average. In fact, in only one city did it take longer than a minute to download Discord on Verizon's network. Verizon was the top-performing network in more than half of the cities where we tested.
In three of the cities where Verizon didn't take the top spot Dallas and San Francisco , it was the runner-up. The only city where Big Red missed the mark was Philadelphia, where it had the worst download speeds of any of the Big Four carriers.
Verizon's best performances were recorded in New York and Chicago, the country's two largest cities. The carrier not only had the best download speeds in both those cities but also finished well ahead of the next-fastest carrier. In New York, Verizon's In Chicago, Verizon's It was the only carrier not to struggle when we tested in the Haight-Ashbury district, where it trounced the competition; and it also fared well at tests in Golden Gate Park and the Duboce Triangle neighborhood.
Bring your phone to T-Mobile.
It split that honor with Sprint in the Windy City. T-Mobile just missed out on finishing second in our rankings. Its average download speed of If you live in Dallas, T-Mobile has the top network with the best download speeds in that city. Metro's average download speed of If there's a gap between Metro and T-Mobile, we found it in our app download test. Metro's average time of 1 minute and 22 seconds was more than 30 seconds off T-Mobile's pace. Blame bad results in Houston and Chicago, where Metro's app download performance was significantly slower than T-Mobile's. One of the risks of using a wireless provider that relies on another carrier's network is that your data may get slowed down when there's a lot of traffic.
That seems to have been the case in Houston when we tested and to a lesser extent to Chicago. For the most part, though, Metro's results were closely aligned with T-Mobile's upload and download speeds, with Metro actually finishing ahead of its parent company in some test locations.
Sprint still lags its other Big Four rivals in our speed testing, as it has the previous two years we've tested LTE networks. Only Sprint subsidiary Boost was slower. But Sprint was noticeably more competitive in this round of testing. The carrier turned in the top performance in Philadelphia, winning our app download tests and turning in the best average download speed.
Only Boost had a better average in Philly, and it uses Sprint's network. On our app download test, Sprint finished with the fourth-best average time, taking 57 seconds to download Discord. That's 7 seconds slower than T-Mobile. Straight Talk has brought up the rear when we've previously tested speeds on wireless carriers. That wasn't the case this time around, however: Its download speeds were within shouting distance of Metro and Sprint, and its average upload speed of We think Verizon's network deserves much of the credit, though.