RootMetrics Releases Latest Review of Mobile Performance in the US
During the second half of 2017, RootMetrics scouters drove 246,190 miles; visited 8,191 indoor locations; and conducted more than 4.6 million tests to statistically reflect performance across 100 percent of the US population. All tests were conducted using unmodified, off-the-shelf phones purchased from carrier stores.
Performance at the national level
Verizon leads the network performance race at the national level during testing in the second half of 2017, earning its ninth consecutive award for overall mobile performance. The carrier takes outright RootScore Awards across five of the six categories tested, with the text performance category resulting in a three-way tie between Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint for the second time in a row. AT&T remains a strong competitor for top mobile performance, earning second place in the five remaining mobile performance categories.
“Smartphones are no longer just for sending texts – they have quickly become consumers’ go-to device for everything from posting to social media to streaming TV to sending emails for work. But these devices are useless unless the network behind them is up-to-par,” said Doug King, RootMetrics director. “While call and text performance are still critical aspects of a strong mobile experience, there is no doubt that consumers’ data demands have exponentially grown. For consumers to make the smartest possible decisions about which carrier best aligns with their mobile needs, they must look at scientific information that provides a comprehensive look at network performance where they spend their time most. And, unfortunately, marketing hype about new carrier offerings and deals can cloud their judgement. For this very reason, it is our goal at RootMetrics to provide a complete, unbiased picture of mobile performance that allows consumers to feel confident about the carrier they decide to subscribe to. And our most recent review of the networks in the US shows the competition is only growing, with notable speed and reliability improvements at the state and metro levels.”
Overall performance scoring is broken down in multiple ways. First, RootMetrics offers two holistic categories that give consumers a clear view of each network’s performance in the key areas of Network Reliability and Network Speed. Network Reliability is based on how reliably calls could be made and texts delivered, as well as how often the operators were able to make a data network connection and then stay connected during data testing. Network Speed factors in how quickly a network can download and upload files, send email and perform typical web and app-related tasks.
Scoring is further broken down into call, data and text RootScore categories. Looking at all RootScore categories together offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience.
You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the second half of 2017 at the national level here.
State performance summarized
At the state level in the second half of 2017, Verizon earns 249 State RootScore Awards out of a possible 300. While this is a slight dip from the carrier’s 268 awards in the first half of 2017, it is still much higher than that of any other network. Meanwhile, AT&T wins or shares 119 state-level awards, which is lower than the 140 awards the carrier took home during the last round of testing. Notably, AT&T and Verizon are neck-and-neck when it comes to network speed at the state level, earning 26 and 29 RootScore Awards in this category, respectively.
In this latest report, Sprint earns its first-ever State Overall RootScore Award, which the carrier shares with AT&T in West Virginia. In terms of total state-level awards, Sprint finishes third with 19, while T-Mobile earns 16; both carriers suffered slight declines since the last round of testing. However, Sprint increases its overall and network reliability awards by one, while T-Mobile increases its number of awards in data and text performance categories at the state level.
You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the second half of 2017 at the state level here.
Metro performance summarized
For mobile users, metro-level testing often provides the most accurate picture of network performance. This new report shows Verizon earning the most metro-level RootScore Awards at 601 out of a possible 750 awards across all six categories in the nation’s 125 most populated cities. While this is a slight decrease from the 617 awards Verizon earned in the first half of 2017, it is still higher than that of AT&T, which earns the second-most metro-level awards at 365. Notably, AT&T makes significant strides in this round of testing when it comes to speed, reaching topline speeds above 20 Mbps in 77 markets. Both AT&T and Verizon display excellent reliability at the metro level.
With strong reliability and fast speeds, T-Mobile improves its performance at the metro level to 301 awards, a jump from the carrier’s 271 metro-level awards in the first half of 2017. T-Mobile stands out for its speed improvements across US cities, recording median download speeds of 20 Mbps or faster in 97 markets, which is more than any other network. Furthermore, T-Mobile improves from 33 to 44 Data RootScore Awards at the metro level. Meanwhile, Sprint falls to 147 metro-level awards after previously winning 211, with declining call performance being a big factor in this drop.
You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the second half of 2017 at the metro level here.
For details on the RootMetrics testing methodology, visit: http://www.rootmetrics.com/en-US/methodology.