AT&T Speeds Past Verizon in Detroit Thanks to LTE Upgrade

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New Report from RootMetrics Shows AT&T Leading in 3 of 4 Test Categories

AT&T’s LTE network upgrade was, by far, the most compelling change since the last round of testing.

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Detroit 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 latest Detroit report analyzed results from 50,036 data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks using smartphone technology RootMetrics designed to replicate real-world mobile usage.

RootMetrics has previously scouted Detroit twice: December 2011, and most recently in January 2012.

Observations since Previous Test in Detroit
AT&T’s LTE network upgrade was, by far, the most compelling change since the last round of testing. AT&T’s data speeds improved significantly as a result of the upgrade: AT&T’s average download speed increased from 4.7 Mbps to 18.8 Mbps and its average upload speed jumped from 1.4 Mbps to 8.3 Mbps.

T-Mobile’s average download speed increased from 6.6 Mbps to 8.6 Mbps since the last test period.

All other average data speeds were comparable to those found during the January visit to Detroit.

Sprint’s text delivery times improved considerably since the last cycle: The percentage of texts that Sprint delivered in less than 10 seconds increased from 49.9% to 76.4%. In addition, the percentage of Sprint’s text messages delivered in more than one minute decreased from 27.3% to only 0.7%.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Detroit?    
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.

AT&T’s LTE network delivered the fastest average download speed in Detroit at 18.8 Mbps. Verizon’s average download speed of 16.3 Mbps trailed that of AT&T, but was much faster than those of the other carriers.

AT&T’s and Verizon’s average upload speeds of 8.3 Mbps and 8.9 Mbps, respectively, were significantly faster than those of the other carriers.

T-Mobile recorded an impressive average download speed of 8.6 Mbps on its HSPA+42 network, which was notably faster than the average download speeds delivered by MetroPCS and Sprint.

Sprint placed last in both average data speed measures.

•Detroit High Speed Data Comparison and Potential Slowdowns:
RootMetrics believes that “4G” labels or sheer data speeds aren’t necessarily the best indications of overall performance. A more important factor to consider is how often mobile users actually experience fast data speeds. Looking at the consistency with which a carrier offers speeds greater than 5 Mbps provides a good approximation of a fast mobile experience. The following shows how often each carrier recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps in Detroit:

o    Verizon 86.9%
o    AT&T 84.4%
o    T-Mobile 66.8%
o    MetroPCS 0.8%
o    Sprint 0.0%

AT&T and Verizon were the only carriers to record upload speeds above 5 Mbps during testing, doing so 62.1% and 68.1% of the time, respectively.

RootMetrics has found that data speeds slower than 1.5 Mbps often result in poor experiences when downloading or uploading files. Sprint recorded the greatest volume of download and upload speeds below 1.5 Mbps during testing, doing so 88.2% and 100.0% of the time, respectively.

•Data Reliability: AT&T provided the most reliable network in Detroit with an overall network success rate of 98.9%. Verizon followed closely with an overall network success rate of 97.9%.

•Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T delivered statistically comparable 1st place call performances. Therefore, RootMetrics was unable to declare a winner in the category.

•Text Performance: To replicate the most typical user experience, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to send and receive text messages. AT&T delivered the strongest texting performance in Detroit and won the category.

•Overall: With the strongest overall performance in Detroit, AT&T won the combined performance category. The final results are:
1 – AT&T (106)
2—Verizon (101)
3 – T-Mobile (71)
4 – MetroPCS (58)
5 – Sprint (55)

The January 2013 Detroit 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

To evaluate the mobile experience in the Detroit area, RootMetrics conducted 50,036 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, November 13-November 19, 2012. The tests, which replicate real-world mobile behavior, were conducted using the RootScout ™ 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 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 Bellevue, WA, RootMetrics is an independent company that provides accurate and unbiased mobile performance data to consumers via coverage maps, market-specific RootScore Reports, and a free downloadable app for use on either Android or iOS devices. To ensure that RootMetrics testing reflects a typical consumer’s mobile experience, testing is conducted based on where, when, and how consumers use their devices most often. With data that is accurate and trusted by consumers and carriers, RootMetrics provides tools that empower consumers to find products and services that best fit their unique mobile needs.

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Ann Marie Ricard
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