AT&T Edges Out Verizon in Overall Mobile Performance in Houston, RootMetrics Testing Shows

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Rigorous testing of the mobile landscape shows continual improvement in data speeds for four of the five major wireless carriers in the Houston market since 2011.

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Houston 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 Houston report, the third published by RootMetrics for this city, analyzed results from 39,518 data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, Cricket, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks using technology RootMetrics designed to replicate real-world mobile usage.

RootMetrics previously evaluated Houston’s mobile coverage in January 2012 and March 2011. “We’re witnessing a rapidly changing mobile landscape, as carriers continue to update their networks and new devices become available to consumers,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In particular, the expansion of 4G around the country means that many consumers are seeing faster data speeds and more mobile options than ever before.”

Observed Changes in Houston
As in RootMetrics’ January 2012 testing, AT&T won both the data and combined RootScore Awards in the Houston market. While AT&T’s average download speed decreased by 1.5 Mbps, their average upload speed increased by 2.0 Mbps.

T-Mobile increased their average download data speed from 3.9 Mbps to 6.9 Mbps, and Cricket’s average download data speed increased when compared to January, jumping from 0.3 Mbps to 0.6 Mbps.

Sprint’s and Verizon’s networks showed average download and upload data speeds that were consistent with results RootMetrics found in their previous visit.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Houston?    
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.

AT&T placed first in the average download speed category with an average of 15.6 Mbps, while Verizon placed first in the average upload speed category at 8.4 Mbps.

In fact, AT&T and Verizon offered average upload speeds that were higher than any other network’s average download speed, making these carriers ideal for consumers uploading data via their mobile phone.

  •     Houston 4G Comparison and Potential Houston Slowdowns:

To give consumers a more complete picture of how the carriers performed in Houston, RootMetrics compared how often the carriers recorded speeds greater than 5 Mbps, a threshold they believe easily qualifies as “4G” speed.
While Verizon trailed AT&T when comparing average download speed, these carriers recorded a similar percentage of their tests above the “4G” threshold: Verizon recorded speeds faster than 5 Mbps in 84.3% of data tests, while AT&T surpassed this speed in 76.7% of data tests.

Cricket recorded the greatest percentage of download speeds below 1.5 Mbps, doing so in 92.2% of tests.

  •     Data Reliability: In Houston, Verizon placed 1st in all data reliability measures. Sprint placed last in overall data reliability.
  •     Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). All carriers displayed strong performances in the Houston market, but Verizon and AT&T were leaders in the category.
  •     Text Performance: In testing, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to receive a single text message. Verizon recorded the fastest overall receive time (3.4 seconds), while Sprint recorded the slowest (11.6 seconds). Verizon was also the most reliably swift, delivering texts in less than 10 seconds 73.9% of the time. T-Mobile delivered texts under 10 seconds 73.3% of the time, and AT&T followed closely, delivering texts under 10 seconds 72.2% of the time. Conversely, Cricket delivered texts in more than one minute 24.0% of the time.
  •     Overall: With the strongest overall performance, AT&T ranked first in the combined standings for Houston. The final results are:

1 – AT&T (97)
2 – Verizon (92)
3—T-Mobile (66)
4 – Sprint (58)
5 – Cricket (52)

The July 2012 Houston 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 mobile experience in the Houston area, RootMetrics conducted 39,518 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, from June 25 – July 1, 2012. The tests, which mimic real-world mobile phone behavior, were conducted using the RootMetrics CoverageMap app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones purchased from carrier stores in Houston. 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 performs compared to other carriers 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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Ann Marie Ricard
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