Verizon, AT&T Tops in Network Performance, Sprint ‘Solidifies’ Third Place

As more businesses embrace mobility, mobile network performance across data, call and text has never been more critical.

RootMetrics’ latest U.S. Mobile Network Performance Review ranks Verizon as the top carrier nationally in nearly all aspects of testing, but AT&T appears to be closing the gap. The report measured performance for the first half of 2015.

“Our reports give mobile consumers the ability to view unbiased, independent assessments of mobile network performance across the 125 most populated metros, 50 states, 50 busiest airports, plus venues, college campuses and more,” said Julie Dey, RootMetrics’ vice president, told Channel Partners. “Businesspeople can use our reports to make more informed mobile decisions.”

Verizon won the Overall Performance Award for the fourth consecutive time, in addition to RootScore awards for network reliability, network speed, data performance and call performance. The speed index considers how quickly a network could download and upload files, send emails, perform typical Web and app-related tasks, and send/receive texts.

AT&T won the Text Performance RootScore Award and finished a close second in every other category. Verizon and AT&T remain in a tier above their competitors.

“Perhaps the biggest story is that all the carriers continue to improve, albeit in different ways,” Dey said. “Verizon’s story is one of consistently strong performance. AT&T, which was already strong nationally, recorded the highest number of award gains on the metro level – and was the only carrier to increase award counts across all metro categories.”

Sprint and T-Mobile maintained third and fourth place in overall performance, although both carriers continued to make some inroads into the leads of Verizon and AT&T. Sprint showed strong progress in call performance, jumping into a second-place tie with AT&T in that category.

While T-Mobile finished fourth in overall performance, its data and network speed performances helped the carrier maintain its lead over Sprint in those categories. T-Mobile continued to offer its best performance in major metropolitan areas, especially in speed, but it still lacks the broad coverage outside those areas needed to make major gains in the national ranking, according to the report.

“Sprint solidified its grasp on third place nationally, and jumped into a tie for second place in call performance nationally – its highest ever ranking in that category,” Dey said. “And the story for T-Mobile revolves around speed gains: It recorded median download speeds of 20 Mbps or faster in 45 out of the 125 markets, second only to Verizon’s total of 51. For context, consider that AT&T reached topline speeds (those exceeding 20 Mbps) in 11 markets and Sprint did so in none.”

RootMetrics testers drove 237,506 miles, visited 7,323 indoor locations, and conducted 6.1 million tests across urban and rural areas in all 50 states and 125 metropolitan areas during the first half of 2015. They used the same phones consumers can buy from the carriers’ stores.

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