Verizon vs. AT&T

Disclaimer: I claim no expert knowledge in this field. I am posting in the hope of learning more on this subject.

I have AT&T and have been quite happy about the service in my area.... for the most part. During any normal weekday I get good service on their fauxG HSPA+ network. I live in Lexington, KY and can routinely download on my S3 at 10mbps, but I would say my average is an acceptable (to me at least) 3-5 Mbps at any given time. I long for the day we get LTE.

My issue, which I have read about, and I am sure most of the readers on this forum have also read about, is the terrible service that AT&T experiences when dealing with large crowds. Trying to browse the web during a football game (50,000ish spectators) is impossible, and data/txt is very hit or miss. My turmoil during these events is heartlessly mocked by friends with Verizon.

At first, I gave ma bell a pass and excused the few hours of cell service that I did not have during a game that I paid to be watching. This changed during a trip to Chicago when I took the 'L' to the loop and discovered that my phone should have stayed at the hotel. This, as well as the football season mentioned previously, was before I had the S3 so I was not able to use the LTE network. There is no excuse for such terrible service.

But, this got me thinking, one would hope that AT&T would be able to allocate the capital investment needed to build and maintain a functional network in a city such as Chicago. Is there a technical issue unique to the WCDMA that AT&T uses that attributes to the poor performance under load? Or, does AT&T neglect their network?

TL'DR?? Read: Is AT&T's WCDMA to blame for bad service under load, or just poor management?

Thank you all so much,

Matt