AT&T’s Upgrade to LTE Challenges Verizon’s LTE Speeds in RootMetrics’ Return to San Jose

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Nearly 9,000 Real-world Data, Call and Text Tests Conclude that AT&T’s LTE Network Upload Speeds are 7.6 Times Faster than in July 2011

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"People should still look closely at how carriers perform in all areas – data, text and calling – to determine which carrier works best for an individual’s mobile needs and usage patterns." - RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore

RootMetrics™, the first independent service to measure mobile experience from a consumer’s point of view, announced today the latest San Jose RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. This is the second RootMetrics report on mobile carriers’ performance in San Jose. The report analyzes results from nearly 9,000 real-world data, call and text tests on the AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon networks. RootMetrics found significant changes compared to prior reports.

Since the last San Jose RootScore report in July 2011, AT&T introduced LTE service, rocketing the carrier’s data speeds into a close competition with Verizon in the San Jose market. AT&T’s download speeds were more than quadruple that of last year, and average upload speeds were a whopping 7.6 times faster than in 2011.

In markets across the country where RootMetrics has performed tests, the company is increasingly seeing Verizon and AT&T compete for the claim of fastest data network. In San Jose it was no different, as the two carriers recorded comparable average download speeds. Verizon edged just ahead of AT&T when looking at average upload speed, earning Verizon the honor of the top data network in the area at this time. RootMetrics will continue to compare the LTE performance of Verizon and AT&T whenever possible.

With the exception of Sprint, all of the national carriers recorded faster average download speeds during this round of testing than they did when RootMetrics first visited. In the case of T-Mobile, average download data test speeds jumped significantly, as RootMetrics was able to test using a device enabled for HSPA+42 service during this visit. In addition, 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 upgrades on mobile networks make for dramatic increases in download and upload speeds, as we’re seeing in our tests,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “But people should still look closely at how carriers perform in all areas – data, text and calling – to determine which carrier works best for an individual’s mobile needs and usage patterns.”

Which Carrier Did Best in San Jose?
To evaluate the San Jose area, RootMetrics conducted nearly 9,000 call, data and text tests during a five-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, from March 13-17, 2012. The real-world tests were conducted using the RootMetrics CoverageMap 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 analyzed 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.

Though AT&T and Verizon averaged nearly the same download speeds (16.9 Mbps for Verizon, 15.2 Mbps for AT&T) Verizon’s LTE more consistently offered high speeds. Verizon recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps in 93.1% of tests, while AT&T did so in 73.1% of tests.

T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 service continues to be an excellent alternative for those who aren’t looking for LTE, taking third place ahead of Sprint and MetroPCS. While Sprint recorded faster average download speeds than MetroPCS, MetroPCS nearly doubled Sprint’s average upload speed.

Verizon provided the most reliable data network in San Jose, recording a failure in only 0.8 percent of tests.

  • Call Performance: Call performance continues to be strong in San Jose. As in the first round of testing in 2011, all carriers delivered statistically equal performances, resulting in a draw. Verizon did not drop any calls during testing, while MetroPCS did not record a blocked call (the inability to place an outgoing call).
  • Text Performance: All five carriers delivered statistically equal performances in the San Jose market, leading to a draw in this category.
  • Overall: With a strong showing in all three categories, AT&T and Verizon split the top spot in the combined standings for San Jose. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (96.2)
1 – AT&T (87.5)
3—T-Mobile (64.9)
4 – MetroPCS (51.4)
4 – Sprint (40.3)

The April 2012 San Jose 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 his or her individual needs. Review all RootScore reports at http://www.rootmetrics.com.

Consumers who are interested to see how their network coverage measures up can download the free RootMetrics Cell Phone CoverageMap 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 http://www.rootmetrics.com and via the Cell Phone CoverageMap app, 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 http://www.rootmetrics.com.

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Ann Marie Ricard
RootMetrics
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