Verizon Remains Top Mobile Performer in Seattle, According to RootMetrics Testing

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The company’s 4th survey of the local mobile landscape shows carriers continue to improve data speeds since RootMetrics first tested Seattle in March 2011.

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Seattle RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. Complementing consumer-generated results from the RootMetrics CoverageMap app, the RootMetrics scout team professionally tests how carriers perform in cities across the country. The Seattle report, the fourth published by RootMetrics for this city in the last 14 months, analyzed results from 22,767 real-world data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks.

RootMetrics most recently evaluated Seattle in January 2012. The company previously reported on mobile performance here in March and October 2011. “It’s been illuminating to see how the networks have evolved since we first began testing,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “The change in network speeds here in Seattle over the last 14 months is a reflection of what’s happening in the industry, notably the expansion of 4G networks.”

Observed Changes in Seattle
While no carrier saw a dramatic change in data speed since RootMetrics last tested Seattle in January 2012, there were some small shifts worth noting. Verizon’s LTE network showed marginal change in their average upload speed, improving by 1.9 Mbps from earlier this year. However, their average download speed decreased by 1.3 Mbps.

Tested with an HSPA+42 enabled device, T-Mobile’s network delivered an average download speed that increased from 7.8 Mbps to 9.7 Mbps, while their average upload speed remained unchanged. Sprint’s average download speed decreased by 0.5 Mbps, while their average upload speed stayed the same. AT&T’s network provided average download and upload speeds that were comparable with those seen during our January testing in the Seattle area.

Of more significance was the increase in average download speed since March 2011. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all markedly increased their average download speed in that span, though Sprint’s average speed decreased from 3.8 Mbps to 1.9 Mbps.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Seattle?    
RootMetrics sorted the test results in order to share with consumers which carrier provided the fastest and most reliable data network, which carrier had the fewest blocked and dropped calls, and which carrier offered the fastest text service.

  •     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.

Verizon’s LTE network continued to be the top performer in the market, with an average download speed of 12.5 Mbps and an upload speed of 7.8 Mbps, significantly faster than others in the market. T-Mobile offered the next fastest average upload speed at a distant 1.6 Mbps.

T-Mobile’s average download speed of 9.7 Mbps, however, was the fastest speed recorded by the carrier to date. Sprint placed last in all speed measures.

  •     Seattle 4G Comparison and Potential Seattle Slowdowns:

To give consumers a more complete picture of how the carriers performed in Seattle, RootMetrics compared how often the carriers recorded speeds greater than 5 Mbps, a threshold they believe easily qualifies as “4G” speed.

While T-Mobile trailed Verizon when comparing average download speed, these carriers recorded very similar percentages of their download tests at speeds greater than 5 Mbps (71.5% for T-Mobile vs. 71.6% for Verizon.) Thus, while T-Mobile might offer a lower average speed, the network was just as effective as Verizon at sustaining “4G” speeds.

Sprint recorded the greatest percentage of download speeds below 1.5 Mbps, doing so in 63.3% of tests. In mid-July, Sprint introduced LTE service in 15 markets, but Seattle was not included.

  •     Data Reliability: In the Seattle area, AT&T placed 1st in data reliability (97.6%). Sprint delivered last place results in data reliability.
  •     Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). With AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all recording strong performances, RootMetrics was unable to declare a clear victor in the call category.
  •     Text Performance: In testing, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to receive a single text message. Verizon earned the top spot, recording the fastest overall receive time of 3.3 seconds. Sprint recorded the slowest time of 19.7 seconds. Verizon also delivered texts in less than 10 seconds 84.4% of the time. Conversely, Sprint delivered texts in more than one minute 32.1% of the time.
  •     Overall: With the strongest overall performance, Verizon ranked first in the combined standings for Seattle. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (89.3)
2—T-Mobile (73.6)
3 – AT&T (61.1)
4 – Sprint (47.7)

The July 2012 Seattle 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

To evaluate the Seattle area, RootMetrics conducted 22,767 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, from June 15 – June 21, 2012. The real-world tests were conducted using the RootMetrics CoverageMap app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones from carriers’ stores. To ensure that testing aligns with the consumer experience, and to provide each carrier with the chance to rate as highly as possible, RootMetrics utilizes the most advanced smartphones available at the time of testing. Tests are conducted on activities that consumers perform most often: making phone calls, uploading and downloading files from the Internet, and sending and receiving texts.

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 and via the Cell Phone CoverageMap app, allow people to make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.

About RootMetrics™
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.

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