RootMetrics Report: AT&T and Verizon Share Recognition for Top-performing Carrier in LA; T-Mobile Narrows the Speed Gap

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After four consecutive Verizon wins, AT&T and Verizon now share recognition as the top-performing networks in Los Angeles.

After four consecutive Verizon wins, AT&T and Verizon now share recognition as the top-performing networks in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service significantly boosted the carrier’s data speeds. That’s according to independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics™, which conducts mobile performance tests designed to replicate real-world consumer behavior.

With the strongest overall performances in Los Angeles, AT&T and Verizon shared the top spot in the combined performance category, which includes results from data, call, and text testing of the four national carriers. The RootMetrics combined performance score, or RootScore, is synonymous with coverage: a good Combined RootScore means good overall coverage and a good consumer experience.

“Our findings in Los Angeles reflect a shift in the industry. A year ago, Verizon was ahead of the game. In the first half of 2013, AT&T made strides. Now we're seeing T-Mobile’s LTE network close the gap on the competition with fast data speeds,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In the LA market, we observed that Verizon was the most reliable network and AT&T was the fastest. This is positive for consumers; as carriers improve performance, people in Los Angeles have more choices for quality mobile service.”

The final combined performance RootScore rankings for Los Angeles:

1 – Verizon (94.1)
1 – AT&T (93.5)
3 – T-Mobile (91.8)
4 – Sprint (74.3)

While reliability and speed have always been part of how RootMetrics tests, the company recently introduced two standalone indices within RootScore Reports that give consumers a clear view of each network’s performance in these key areas. The new Reliability Index is based on a combination of results from data, call, and text tests, while the Speed Index includes data and text results.
In Los Angeles, Verizon ranked the highest in network reliability, and AT&T was the leader in network speed.
Reliability Index rankings for Los Angeles:
1 – Verizon (95.8)
2 – AT&T (94.4)
2 – T-Mobile (93.9)
4 – Sprint (71.4)

Speed Index rankings for Los Angeles:
1 – AT&T (90.0)
2 – Verizon (88.1)
3 – T-Mobile (84.1)
4 – Sprint (70.5)

Looking at the network reliability and speed indices in conjunction with Combined RootScores offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience in Los Angeles.

T-Mobile gains speed in Los Angeles market
All four major carriers now offer LTE service in Los Angeles. T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE should result in faster data speeds for consumers, especially when uploading files. Its average upload speed increased from 1.6 Mbps to 6.1 Mbps since previous testing in May of 2013.

Data speeds affect how quickly consumers can perform various tasks online. For example, in an ideal situation, uploading medium-sized pictures (1 MB) to Facebook or other online albums typically takes 25 to 45 seconds at speeds below 3.0 Mbps. At speeds above 6.0 Mbps, uploading a similar picture generally takes less than 1 second.

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
AT&T: 14.1 Mbps download/6.9 Mbps upload
Verizon: 11.8 Mbps download/7.4 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 9.2 Mbps download/6.1 Mbps upload
Sprint: 4.3 Mbps download/2.3 Mbps upload

Los Angeles, you’ve got mail. How long does it take to get it?
RootMetrics measured the average time it took each carrier to download a set of 10 emails. AT&T had the fastest time at 2.6 seconds, with Verizon and T-Mobile close behind at 2.9 seconds. People using the Sprint network could be waiting longer than others for their email to download, with an average download time of 5.5 seconds.

Making the call
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all had strong, statistically comparable call results in Los Angeles. As a result, there was no clear winner in the category. The three carriers had statistically comparable call failure rates below 1.3% on average. To provide perspective, only about 1 in 100 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate.

Text me
Los Angeles has plenty of great options for texting services. T-Mobile had the strongest texting results and won the category. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon tied for the most reliable texting performance, with send failure rates of 0.2% on average. All four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 93% of the time.

Nearly 77,000 tests in Los Angeles
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Los Angeles area, RootMetrics conducted 76,628 call, data, and text tests on the networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon during all hours of the day and night from September 25 – October 2, 2013. The tests were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScout app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones purchased from carrier stores. Tests were conducted both indoors (at 102 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 3,372 miles). Mobile performance varies depending on where people live, work, or otherwise spend time. Because a variety of factors can influence performance, examples that show what data speeds mean while performing various mobile activities are a general look at data speeds for illustrative purposes and aren’t specific to Los Angeles. For details about the results, see the methodology section of the online report.

About RootMetrics™

Based in Bellevue, WA, RootMetrics is an independent mobile analytics firm that offers unparalleled, actionable insights into the consumer mobile experience. An advocate for consumers, RootMetrics provides data and reports free to the public to help them make more informed mobile decisions. 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. The end result: a better mobile experience for consumers.


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