RootMetrics Report: AT&T Named Top-Performing Network in Houston for Fourth Time in a Row

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AT&T was the top-performing carrier in Houston for the fourth consecutive time, and the carrier registered the fastest data speeds among the four national carriers.

AT&T was the top-performing carrier in Houston for the fourth consecutive time, and the carrier registered the fastest data speeds among the four national carriers. 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.

AT&T had the strongest overall results in Houston and clinched the top spot in the combined performance category, which includes results across data, call, and text testing. A good Combined RootScore means good overall coverage and a good consumer experience.

The final combined performance RootScore rankings for Houston:

1 – AT&T (98.1)
2 – Verizon (97.1)
3 – T-Mobile (94.1)
4 – Sprint (87.7)

T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Speed Up; Sprint Slows Down
T-Mobile’s recent LTE launch resulted in faster data speeds compared to those recorded during previous testing in June of 2013. In June, T-Mobile had the third-fastest data speeds in Houston, but in recent testing, its LTE network helped the carrier provide speeds that trailed only the speeds of AT&T.

T-Mobile’s average download speed jumped from 10.7 Mbps to 16.0 Mbps since June, and its average upload speed increased from 5.4 Mbps to 9.5 Mbps. AT&T also recorded faster speeds, as its average download speed increased from 17.0 Mbps to 18.2 Mbps, and its average upload speed increased from 8.6 Mbps to 10.4 Mbps.

By contrast, Sprint’s average download speed decreased from 5.5 Mbps to 5.3 Mbps since June, and its average upload speed remained at 3.1 Mbps.

“When we look at what’s been happening in Houston since we began testing here, AT&T’s consistent, strong performance stands out in this market. But similar to what we’re seeing in other markets across the country, T-Mobile’s LTE rollout is changing the competitive landscape when it comes to data speeds,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “Consumers in Houston are benefiting from these carrier improvements, and we see that as great news.”     

Average download and upload speeds by carrier:
AT&T: 18.2 Mbps download/10.4 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 16.0 Mbps download/9.5 Mbps upload
Verizon: 14.6 Mbps download/7.9 Mbps upload
Sprint: 5.3 Mbps download/3.1 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.

Reliability and Speed

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 Houston.

In Houston, Verizon ranked highest in network reliability, and AT&T had the highest rank in network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (98.6)
2 – AT&T (98.0)
3 – T-Mobile (93.3)
4 – Sprint (89.3)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (98.1)
2 – T-Mobile (94.3)
3 – Verizon (91.0)
4 – Sprint (75.4)

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. There’s good news for consumers in Houston, as all four carriers recorded times below 5 seconds on average. AT&T and Verizon tied for the fastest time in Houston at 3 seconds, while T-Mobile and Sprint followed with times of 3.8 seconds and 4.3 seconds, respectively.

Making the Call
Making calls on any of the four networks in Houston should be a smooth experience, but Verizon shined during call testing and earned the RootScore Award for call performance with a stellar call failure rate of 0.1%. To provide perspective, approximately 1 in 1,000 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate. Moreover, AT&T and Verizon didn’t record any dropped calls during testing.

Text Me
Houston has plenty of fast and reliable options for texting. With perfect send failure rates, AT&T and Verizon had the most reliable text results. All four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 97% of the time.

Over 76,099 Tests in Houston
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Houston area, RootMetrics conducted 76,099 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 117 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 3,401 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 Houston. For details about the results, see the methodology section of the online report.

About RootMetrics™
RootMetrics®, based in Bellevue, WA, is an independent mobile analytics firm that offers insights into the consumer mobile experience. With its downloadable CoverageMap app for Android or iOS, RootScore Reports for 125 U.S. markets, and an online CoverageMap, RootMetrics provides data on carrier performance to the public to help people make more informed mobile decisions. To ensure that RootMetrics testing reflects real-world mobile usage, testing is conducted based on where, when, and how consumers use their devices most often.

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