AT&T Surpasses Verizon as Top Performing Wireless Carrier in Baltimore

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RootMetrics Report: AT&T Continues to Increase Data Speeds

RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Baltimore 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 Baltimore report analyzed results from 24,536 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.

RootMetrics has previously tested Baltimore twice: October 2011, and most recently in April 2012.

Observations since Previous Test in Baltimore
This report marks the second time RootMetrics has tested the Baltimore area since AT&T launched its LTE service. For the second consecutive time, AT&T’s average data speeds increased significantly. AT&T’s average download speed increased from 10.0 Mbps to 19.3 Mbps and its average upload speed jumped from 3.5 Mbps to 9.7 Mbps. AT&T’s recent improvements allowed them to overtake Verizon and win both the combined and data categories for the first time in Baltimore.

In August 2012, Sprint introduced the initial rollout of LTE service in the Baltimore area. Sprint’s average data speeds increased significantly as a result of this upgrade: Sprint’s average download speed increased from 3.2 Mbps to 5.4 Mbps. Likewise, Sprint’s average upload speed jumped from 0.7 Mbps to 2.4 Mbps.

Cricket, T-Mobile, and Verizon delivered average data speeds that were comparable to those found during the previous test cycle in April.

Cricket’s and Sprint’s text delivery times improved considerably since the last cycle: The percentage of texts that Cricket delivered in less than 10 seconds increased from 55.0% to 84.3%. Sprint’s percentage of texts delivered in less than 10 seconds increased from 51.4 to 80.8%. In addition, the percentage of Sprint’s text messages delivered in more than one minute decreased from 38.8% to only 0.5%.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Baltimore?    
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 consistently a customer could successfully connect to a data network.

AT&T’s and Verizon’s average download and upload speeds were significantly faster than those of the other carriers in Baltimore

AT&T’s LTE network delivered the fastest average download speed in Baltimore at 19.3 Mbps, as well as the fastest average upload speed at 9.7 Mbps. Verizon’s average download and upload speeds of 15.4 and 7.1 Mbps, respectively, trailed only those of AT&T.

T-Mobile recorded an impressive average download speed of 9.6 Mbps on its HSPA+42 network.

Sprint’s LTE network delivered an average download speed of 5.4 Mbps, which was significantly faster than that of Cricket.

Cricket placed last in both average data speed measures.

  •     Baltimore 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 Baltimore:

o    AT&T 88.8%
o    Verizon 77.9%
o    T-Mobile 74.7%
o    Sprint 35.7%
o    Cricket 0.0%

AT&T and Verizon recorded upload speeds above 5 Mbps in 73.2% and 57.7% of speed tests, respectively. Sprint was the only other carrier to record upload speeds above 5 Mbps during testing, doing so 19.8% of the time.

RootMetrics has found that data speeds slower than 1.5 Mbps often result in poor experiences when downloading or uploading files.
Cricket recorded the greatest volume of download and upload speeds below 1.5 Mbps during testing, doing so 90.9% and 100.0% of the time, respectively.

  •     Data Reliability: AT&T and T-Mobile provided the most reliable networks in Baltimore, as each carrier recorded comparable network connection success rates over 98.0%. Sprint, meanwhile, placed last in all network reliability measures, with an overall network success rate of 89.9%.
  •     Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). All carriers delivered strong call performances, but T-Mobile placed 1st 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. T-Mobile delivered the strongest texting performance in Baltimore and won the category.
  •     Overall: With the strongest overall performance in Baltimore, AT&T won the combined performance category. The final results are:

1 – AT&T (107)
2—Verizon (94)
3 – T-Mobile (78)
4 – Sprint (64)
5 – Cricket (55)

The January 2013 Baltimore 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 Baltimore area, RootMetrics conducted 24,536 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, December 1-December 8, 2012. The tests, which replicate real-world mobile behavior, were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScout ™ app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones purchased from carrier stores. To ensure that testing aligns with the consumer experience, RootMetrics conducts tests 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 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 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
RootMetrics
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