RootMetrics Returns to San Francisco to Test 4G Networks, Verizon and AT&T Tie for Top Spot

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More than 14,000 Real-world Data, Call and Text Tests Show Verizon and AT&T in Tight Race; Two LTE Networks Tied as Fastest Data Networks in San Francisco

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"The information from our reports empowers consumers to make better decisions about the best carrier for their mobile habits," says CEO Bill Moore.

RootMetrics™, the first independent service to measure mobile experience from a consumer’s point of view, announced today the latest San Francisco RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. This is the second RootMetrics visit to the San Francisco market, having previously reported on the area in July 2011. This comprehensive new report analyzes results from more than 14,000 real-world data, call and text tests and ranks AT&T, Metro PCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon on their performance. The data reveals which carriers provided the fastest data network (both Verizon and AT&T shared the top spot) and shows that all five carriers deliver about equal call and text service. Overall, there was a statistical tie for first place between Verizon’s LTE network (94.3) and AT&T’s LTE network (87.3). MetroPCS (45.5), T-Mobile (43) and Sprint (42.3) all shared the third-place ranking.

There were notable differences between the March 2012 and July 2011 reports. In particular, AT&T now offers LTE service in the San Francisco area and, as a result of the upgrade, AT&T’s data speeds jumped dramatically. Additionally, RootMetrics was able to test T-Mobile’s network with a device-enabled for HSPA+42 service during this visit; however, their download speeds actually decreased compared to what RootMetrics recorded in July 2011. Sprint’s average download speed also decreased, moving from 2.4 Mbps to 1.6 Mbps. Lastly, RootMetrics was able to include scoring for MetroPCS in this latest report. RootMetrics will continue to test and add regional carriers whenever possible to provide the most complete picture of mobile performance.

“The mobile landscape in San Francisco continues to change and evolve, and we wanted to return to the city and experience the impact of the recent network upgrades and changes in device availability,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In San Francisco, we’re aiming to provide consumers with a true picture of the major carriers’ performance. The differences in our two San Francisco reports illustrate that carrier performance varies – and changes and upgrades can positively or negatively impact your mobile experience. The information from our reports empowers consumers to make better decisions about the best carrier for their mobile habits.”

Which Carrier Found Success in San Francisco?    
To evaluate the San Francisco area, RootMetrics conducted more than 14,000 call, data and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, from February 13-19, 2012. The real-world tests were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScore app running on off-the-shelf Android-based consumer smartphones from carriers’ stores. Tests centered on activities that consumers perform most often: making phone calls, uploading and downloading files from the Internet, and sending and receiving texts.

  •     Data Performance: The RootMetrics data performance tests analyze how fast each carrier’s network was able to download and upload files, and how often a customer could successfully connect to the data network. Verizon offered the fastest average download and upload speeds, narrowly beating out AT&T. The two national LTE carriers were so close, in fact, that they ended up within the same statistical range and shared the RootScore Award for data.

Since the last San Francisco RootScore Report in July, AT&T showed marked improvement. AT&T’s average download speed was more than 4X as fast as the last time RootMetrics was in San Francisco.

Verizon recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps in 85 percent of the tests, compared to AT&T’s 78.4 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, Sprint recorded download speeds below 500 kbps in 49.4 percent of tests, while T-Mobile recorded speeds below 500 kbps in 37.9 percent of tests.

Verizon offered the most reliable data service in San Francisco, recording a failure in 2.1 percent of tests. At 14.4 percent, Sprint recorded the highest data failure rate in the San Francisco area.

  •     Call Performance: When it comes to call performance in San Francisco, all five carriers delivered statistically equal performances, resulting in a draw.
  •      Text Performance: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile delivered statistically equal performances in the San Francisco market, and RootMetrics was not able to declare a clear victor in the category.
  •      Overall: With a strong showing in all three categories, Verizon and AT&T shared the top spot in combined standings. The final results are:

         1 – Verizon (94.3)
         1 – AT&T (87.3)
         3 – MetroPCS (45.5)
         3—T-Mobile (43)
         3 – Sprint (42.3)

The March 2012 San Francisco RootScore Report is the latest in an ongoing series of performance measurement reports and corresponding RootScore Awards from RootMetrics. The company will continue to publish additional reports on U.S. wireless markets to help consumers make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs. Review all RootScore reports at

Consumers who are interested to see how their network coverage measures up can download the free RootMetrics Cell Phone Coverage Map App for iPhone or Android devices.

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 and via the Cell Phone Coverage Map Apps, 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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Ann Marie Ricard
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