RootMetrics Report Finds Significant Differences in 4G Networks in Chicago, Names Verizon the Top Scoring Carrier

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Despite LTE Network Outage, Fastest Data Speeds Lead to a Hands-down Victory for Verizon in Chicago

RootScore Award

RootMetrics™, the first independent service to measure mobile experience from a consumer’s point of view, announced today the results of the Chicago RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. This comprehensive report ranks Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon on call, data and text performance. Due to the strong results on Verizon’s LTE network, it received the highest combined score of 89.4 out of a possible 100. Sprint (49.5) and AT&T (45.3) had a statistical tie for second place.

“Each of the four national mobile carriers promotes 4G coverage in the Chicago area, but people are wondering which carrier is truly the fastest and which one is the most reliable,” said Paul Griff, CEO of RootMetrics. “At RootMetrics, we developed a new way to measure mobile performance from the consumer’s point of view, helping people find answers to those questions. These RootScore Reports, combined with our detailed coverage maps, allow people to make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs based on the metrics that matter to them.”

Are All 4G Networks in Chicago Created Equal?
To evaluate the Chicago market (defined as the Chicago Urbanized area according to the U.S. Census Bureau), RootMetrics performed thousands of call, data and text tests during a seven day period, covering all hours of the day and night, in April 2011. The tests centered on activities that consumers perform most often: making phone calls, uploading and downloading files from the Internet, and sending and receiving texts. It’s important to note that during the testing period, Verizon’s LTE network experienced an outage on April 27. As network outages impact consumer experience, RootMetrics included results of the outage in its findings.

•Data Performance: Hands down, even with the network outage factored in, Verizon’s LTE network delivered the fastest data speeds in the area. RootMetrics recorded download speeds on average nearly 3 times faster than the second-fastest download network (Sprint) and 4 times faster than the second-fastest upload network (T-Mobile). During data collection, RootMetrics found that AT&T’s network was the most reliable, successfully connecting to the data network nearly 97 percent of the time. Chicagoans on T-Mobile’s network may experience more trouble, as RootMetrics measured a data success rate of only 76 percent.

•Call Performance: In Chicago, although call experience across networks varied, Sprint and Verizon’s call networks performed similarly well and both were awarded the RootScore Award – Call for Chicago. During the measurement, RootMetrics experienced failed calls on T-Mobile’s network eight percent of the time, over four percent of the time with AT&T, just over one percent of the time on Verizon and less than 0.5 percent of the time on Sprint. Compared to other markets measured (Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Washington, D.C.), dropped calls rates in Chicago were relatively low. No carrier measured dropped calls more than two percent of the time.

•Text Performance: Average text delivery times amongst the four carriers ranged from 13.5 seconds (T-Mobile) up to 25.3 seconds (Sprint). T-Mobile ranked at the top of most measurements and was awarded the RootScore Award – Text for Chicago. T-Mobile’s network delivered texts to customers within its own network between two times to eight times faster than other carriers.

•Overall: RootMetrics has developed an algorithm that incorporates the results for Call, Data and Text Performance measurements into a combined score. In Chicago, due to the strong results on Verizon’s LTE network, it is the recipient of the RootScore Award – Combined for Chicago.

The Chicago RootScore Report is the fifth in a series of performance measurement reports and corresponding RootScore Awards from RootMetrics. Earlier reports covered Seattle, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Miami. The company will publish additional reports on U.S. wireless markets to help consumers make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.

Mobile performance varies depending on where people live, work or otherwise spend time.
The results of this report combined with the geographical coverage maps at or via the Cell Phone Coverage Map Apps for iPhone or Android allow people to make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.

About RootMetrics™

Bellevue, Washington-based RootMetrics is building a movement to create a more open mobile market that democratizes mobile performance data. Deploying a sophisticated smartphone application, RootMetrics partners with consumers to collect network signal strength and data throughput speeds, aggregating collected metrics into easy-to-understand maps that rate each carrier’s performance. This comparative data provides transparency into comparative carrier performance down to the most granular levels. For more information, please visit


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