Verizon Recognized as Top Mobile Performer in Kansas City

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New report from RootMetrics includes data on Sprint’s LTE rollout.

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Kansas City 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 Kansas City report analyzed results from 14,915 data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, Cricket, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks using smartphone technology RootMetrics designed to replicate real-world mobile usage.

This is RootMetrics’ third report on the Kansas City area. The company scouted the city in August 2011 and April 2012.

Sprint’s New LTE Technology
Sprint launched its LTE service in Kansas City, along with 13 other markets, in July 2012. This new RootScore report includes RootMetrics’ analysis of the typical performance that people in Kansas City can currently expect from this new technology. With help from the recently launched LTE service, Sprint delivered an average download speed that increased from 3.1 Mbps to 6.2 Mbps. Sprint’s average upload speed also increased, moving from 0.9 Mbps to 3.2 Mbps, which is more than 3.7 times faster than previous RootMetrics findings in April 2012.

“We’re encouraged by early test results of Sprint’s new LTE technology in Kansas City,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “We’re looking forward to seeing how Sprint’s LTE service performs in the future.”

Notable Changes Since First Kansas City Test in August 2011
While the focus of this report is to provide the most recent picture of wireless coverage in Kansas City, RootMetrics also included additional historical data to demonstrate the rapidly changing mobile landscape, since carriers continue to update their networks and new devices become available to consumers. The most significant changes were:

•AT&T’s average download speed increased from 4.1 Mbps to 18.5 Mbps, and their average upload speed jumped from 1.5 Mbps to 9.5 Mbps.

•Verizon’s average download speed moved from 1.2 Mbps to 17.5 Mbps, and their average upload speed increased from 1.0 Mbps to 10.2 Mbps.
•T-Mobile recorded a greater percentage of failed calls in this round of testing, increasing from 2.0% to 5.3%.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Kansas City?    
RootMetrics sorted the test results to show 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.

o    AT&T and Verizon were statistically equal and shared 1st-place performances in both average download and upload speeds.
o    Sprint’s network delivered a 3rd-place performance in all data speed measures.
o    RootMetrics tested T-Mobile’s network with an HSPA+42-enabled device, and the carrier delivered 4th-place results for both average download and upload speeds.
o    Cricket placed last in all data speed measures.

•Kansas City High Speed Data Comparison and Potential Slowdowns:
The standard for what constitutes LTE or “4G” speed is debatable, 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 Kansas City, RootMetrics compared how often carriers recorded speeds greater than 5 Mbps.

The following details the percentage of tests that each carrier recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps:
o    Verizon 89.1%
o    AT&T 86.5%
o    Sprint 39.6%
o    T-Mobile 36.7%

AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon were the only carriers to record upload speeds above 5 Mbps.

Network Reliability: AT&T and Verizon delivered statistically comparable 1st-place network reliability results, though all carriers performed strongly in reliability tests.

Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). The race in Kansas City was too close to call, as Sprint, Verizon, and Cricket each delivered statistically indistinguishable 1st-place results.
Text Performance: RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to receive a single text message. AT&T and Verizon performed strongly and shared 1st place honors in the text category. T-Mobile wasn’t far behind, and Sprint performed strongly, despite a 4th-place finish.

  •     Overall: Verizon earned the top score in combined performance in Kansas City. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (106)
2—AT&T (103)
3 – Sprint (72)
4 – T-Mobile (55)    
5 – Cricket (52)

The September 2012 Kansas City 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 for 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.

To evaluate the mobile experience in the Kansas City area, RootMetrics conducted nearly 15,000 data, call, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, August 17 – August 23, 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. 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 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™
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
RootMetrics
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