RootMetrics Report: Verizon and T-Mobile Both Named Top-Performing Network in Washington, D.C.

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Verizon and T-Mobile tied as the top-performing carrier in Washington, D.C., but T-Mobile’s LTE service delivered the fastest data speeds in the nation’s capital.

Verizon and T-Mobile tied as the top-performing carriers in Washington, D.C., but T-Mobile’s LTE service delivered the fastest data speeds in the nation’s capital. That’s according to independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics®, which measures mobile performance of the four national carriers, with tests designed to replicate real-world consumer behavior.

Verizon and T-Mobile had the strongest overall results in Washington, D.C., and shared the top spot in the combined performance category, which includes results across data, call, and text testing. The RootMetrics combined performance score, or Combined RootScore, is synonymous with coverage: a good Combined RootScore means good overall coverage and a good consumer experience.

The final combined performance RootScore rankings for Washington, D.C.:

1 – Verizon (93.0)
1 – T-Mobile (92.4)
3 – AT&T (91.2)
4 – Sprint (76.2)

Network reliability and speed have always been part of how RootMetrics tests, but 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. Looking at the network reliability and speed indices in conjunction with Combined RootScores offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience in Washington, D.C.
In Washington, D.C., Verizon ranked highest in network reliability, and T-Mobile had the highest rank in network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (94.4)
2 – AT&T (90.9)
3 – T-Mobile (89.6)
4 – Sprint (76.7)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – T-Mobile (99.2)
2 – AT&T (92.3)
3 – Verizon (86.3)
4 – Sprint (64.1)

"T-Mobile's LTE rollout is starting to change the competitive landscape, and we see that clearly in Washington, D.C. In fact, with its impressive LTE speeds, T-Mobile shared our Combined RootScore Award with Verizon during this visit,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Consumers are getting better options in D.C. and that’s good news.”

T-Mobile and AT&T speed up in the nation’s capital
T-Mobile’s average download speed jumped from 15.1 Mbps to 17.1 Mbps since previous testing in June 2013, and its average upload speed increased from 8.2 Mbps to 10.7 Mbps.

Likewise, AT&T’s average download speed rose from 13.5 Mbps to 15.9 Mbps since June.

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
T-Mobile: 17.1 Mbps download/10.7 Mbps upload
AT&T: 15.9 Mbps download/7.0 Mbps upload
Verizon: 11.5 Mbps download/5.9 Mbps upload
Sprint: 2.8 Mbps download/0.7 Mbps upload

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 on average at speeds below 3.0 Mbps. At speeds above 6.0 Mbps, uploading a similar picture generally takes less than 1 second.

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. T-Mobile had the fastest time in Washington, D.C., at 2.2 seconds, while AT&T and Verizon closely followed at 2.4 and 2.6 seconds, respectively. Washington, D.C., residents using Sprint might have to wait a bit longer than those on other networks for emails to download, with the carrier recording 7.0 seconds on average.

Making the call
Making calls on any of the four networks in Washington, D.C., should be a smooth experience, but Verizon had the strongest call performance during testing and won the RootScore Award for the category. The carrier had a strong call failure rate of 0.6%. Approximately 1 in 150 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate.

Text me
Washington, D.C., has plenty of fast and reliable options for texting. With near-perfect send failure rates, Verizon and T-Mobile had the strongest text results and both won the category. All four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 95% of the time.

Over 51,000 tests in Washington, D.C.
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Washington, D.C., area, RootMetrics conducted 51,828 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 October 6 – October 13, 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 74 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 2,138 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 Washington, D.C. 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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