Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) May 10, 2012
RootMetrics™, the first independent service to measure mobile experience from a consumer’s point of view, announced today their new report, “Catch Me if You Can: A Quarterly Review of Data Performance,” looking at carrier performance from January 2012 through May 2012. This report analyzes more than 320,000 drive and indoor location data tests collected from 42 U.S. markets, using off-the-shelf Android phones to experience what consumers can truly expect from carriers. Based on the results, RootMetrics observed that, when looking at national carriers, Verizon’s LTE network continues to dominate, but AT&T’s transition to LTE places it squarely in second place. T-Mobile is close on the heels of AT&T, and Sprint is falling behind the other carriers. For regional carriers, MetroPCS showed interesting opportunities with a history of innovation but Cricket recorded the lowest speeds in all tests.
“This year, we’ve continued to crisscross the country, comparing carriers and putting their data networks to the test,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In the end, numbers are powerful and the end results speak for themselves. They provide people with a clearer picture of what to expect from their carriers in real-world conditions.”
To that end, RootMetrics established the following benchmark criteria:
•Upper Threshold. A carrier delivers download speeds above 3 Mbps in at least 70% of tests for a given market.
•Lower Threshold. The carrier dips below download speeds of 1.5 Mbps in at least 60% of tests for a given market.
•Middle Path. The percentage of markets in which a carrier neither exceeded the upper threshold nor fell below the lower threshold.
The Upper Tier – Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile
While AT&T is making a strong push with LTE this quarter, Verizon remains on top when it comes to data speeds. Verizon surpasses the upper threshold in 36 out of 42 markets tested. AT&T did so only half as often as Verizon, surpassing the upper threshold in 18 out of 42 markets. Verizon never fell below the lower threshold in any city, leaving 14% of their markets as middle path markets. Similar to Verizon, AT&T never fell below the lower threshold in any market, with the remaining 57% of its cities classified as Middle Path markets.
Although T-Mobile hasn’t yet rolled out LTE (expected in 2013), RootMetrics tests show that the carrier continues to perform well. While AT&T exceeded the Upper Threshold in 18 markets, T-Mobile did so in 13 markets. This threshold was never surpassed by the remaining carriers (Cricket, MetroPCS and Sprint). Moreover, T-Mobile only fell below the Lower Threshold in one market. With the rest of their cities falling into the Middle Path territory, T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network might present an interesting choice for those looking for an alternative to AT&T or Verizon.
Better LTE than Never
By comparison, Sprint has not kept pace with the other national carriers in the 2012 tests. They are especially uncompetitive in markets where Sprint does not have Wi-MAX available. Even in cities where Wi-MAX is offered, RootMetrics isn’t seeing marked improvements when comparing this year’s speeds to what RootMetrics found during 2011 tests. Sprint expects to introduce LTE in mid-2012. RootMetrics expects a competitive race, if Sprint’s LTE speeds are comparable to what the company has seen from AT&T and Verizon.
The Regional Divide
To give consumers the most comprehensive view of mobile performance possible, RootMetrics includes results for regional carriers MetroPCS and Cricket, when possible. These carriers are not available in every market. RootMetrics was able to test MetroPCS in 17 of the 42 markets this year, and Cricket in 19 of 42.
The drop off in performance between national carrier Sprint and the smaller MetroPCS, surprisingly, was not as large as expected. Sprint fell below the lower threshold in 23 out of 42 markets (55%). MetroPCS recorded tests below the lower threshold in 10 out of 17 available markets (59%). The regional carrier didn’t exceed the Upper Threshold in any market, and 41% of their markets fell in Middle Path territory. RootMetrics is keenly observing what MetroPCS plans in the future due to its penchant for innovation. After all, MetroPCS was the first LTE network in the U.S., and plans to be the first carrier to move to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) later this year.
The difference between MetroPCS and Cricket, is quite considerable. Cricket recorded the lowest speeds in RootMetrics’ tests, falling into the low speed bucket in every market. If consumers are interested in fast data speeds, Cricket’s data network presents a challenge.
The Quarterly Review of Data Performance is one of a series of performance measurement reports 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 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 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.
Based in the Seattle area, RootMetrics is a fiercely independent data company dedicated to helping improve the daily mobile experience of consumers. Numbers are powerful and helping the mobile consumer is our #1 priority. We’re a facilitator between consumers and carriers, using technology on smartphones to gather independent data so that the carriers hear real-world concerns, can make smarter decisions on how to upgrade their networks, and connect with consumers. We’re gathering accurate, trusted data that helps consumers find the products and services that best fit their unique needs so that they can get the most out of their mobile lives. RootMetrics: making mobile work better for consumers.