Verizon Continues to Set the Pace for Wireless Carriers in Philadelphia

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Extensive RootMetrics testing of six networks shows Verizon remains the top performer for data speeds, calling, and texting

“Philadelphia is a perfect example of how LTE is a game-changer when it comes to data speed.” - Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Philadelphia RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. Complementing consumer-generated results from the RootMetrics CoverageMap app, the RootMetrics scout team professionally tests how mobile carriers perform in cities across the country. The Philadelphia report analyzed results from 49,083 data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, Cricket, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks using smartphone technology RootMetrics designed to replicate real-world mobile usage.

RootMetrics has previously scouted Philadelphia twice, in May 2012 and August 2011.

“Philadelphia is a perfect example of how LTE is a game-changer when it comes to data speed,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “While Verizon remains the top performer at the moment, we’re continuing to evaluate cities as the carriers continue to roll out new devices and update their networks.”

Observations Since Previous Test in Philadelphia
For the third consecutive time, RootMetrics found that Verizon’s LTE network recorded the fastest average download and upload speeds in Philadelphia. Moreover, Verizon’s average upload speed of 6 Mbps was faster than the average download speed of all other carriers.

All carriers delivered average download and upload speeds similar to those recorded in May 2012.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Philadelphia?    
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 a data network.

Verizon was by far the top performer with an average download speed of 11.6 Mbps and an average upload speed of 6 Mbps.

T-Mobile placed 2nd in average download speed at 4.3 Mbps and 3rd in average upload speed at 1.1 Mbps.

AT&T placed 3rd in average download speed at 3.3 Mbps and 2nd in average upload speed at 1.2 Mbps.

Cricket and MetroPCS shared last place in average download speed.

•Philadelphia High Speed Data Comparison and Potential Slowdowns:
The standard for what constitutes “4G” speed is muddy, but looking at the consistency with which a carrier offers speeds greater than 5 Mbps gives a good indication of a “4G” experience. In order to give consumers a more complete picture of how the carriers performed in Philadelphia, RootMetrics compared how often carriers recorded speeds greater than 5 Mbps.

While Verizon offers a higher “ceiling” for average download speed, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile recorded download speeds higher than 5 Mbps in many cases. Verizon recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps in 66.2% of tests; T-Mobile surpassed 5 Mbps in 42.5% of tests; Sprint surpassed 5 Mbps in 30.1% of tests; AT&T surpassed 5 Mbps in 25.1% of tests.

Conversely, Cricket and MetroPCS recorded download speeds below 1.5 Mbps in 85.8% and 85.3% of tests, respectively, and upload speeds below 1.5 Mbps in 100.0% and 99.7% of tests, respectively.

•Data Reliability: AT&T and Verizon shared 1st place in Philadelphia reliability tests.

•Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). Although the race in Philadelphia was close, Verizon won first place in the call category through statistical differentiation. AT&T, Cricket, MetroPCS, T-Mobile, and Verizon all recorded call failure rates under 3.0%.

•Text Performance: 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 Cricket and Sprint shared last place in the measure, delivering texts in more than one minute 20.2% and 29.1% of the time, respectively. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 70% of the time.

•Overall: Verizon recorded 1st place results in all categories in Philadelphia. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (87)
2—T-Mobile (61)
3 – AT&T (60)
4—Cricket (53)
4 – MetroPCS (52)
6 – Sprint (49)

The August 2012 Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia area, RootMetrics conducted 49,083 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, July 28 – August 3, 2012. The tests, which mimic real-world mobile behavior, were conducted using the RootMetrics CoverageMap app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones purchased from carrier stores in Philadelphia. 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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