RootMetrics Report: AT&T and Verizon Tie as Top-performing Network in Philadelphia

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

After four consecutive Verizon wins, Verizon and AT&T now share recognition as the top-performing carrier in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the recent launch of both T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s LTE services accounted for significantly faster data speeds compared to the last testing in June 2013. 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 AT&T had the strongest overall results in Philadelphia and shared 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 Philadelphia:

1 – Verizon (95.3)
1 – AT&T (94.9)
3 – T-Mobile (90.9)
4 – Sprint (82.8)

"Verizon has shown consistently strong performance in Philadelphia, but AT&T gained ground in 2013. And data speeds for both T-Mobile and Sprint have improved,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Choices for consumers in Philadelphia are improving across the board, and that’s a good thing.”

Speed and reliability
RootMetrics offers two indices within RootScore Reports that give consumers a clear view of each network’s performance in the key areas of network reliability and speed. The 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 Philadelphia.

Verizon ranked highest in network reliability, and AT&T had the highest rank in network speed.
Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (97.4)
2 – AT&T (96.2)
3 – T-Mobile (91.8)
4 – Sprint (82.9)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (89.9)
2 – Verizon (87.0)
3 – T-Mobile (84.7)
4 – Sprint (74.0)

T-Mobile and Sprint Gain Data Speed in Philadelphia
While AT&T earned the top spot in the data category, T-Mobile and Sprint registered notably improved data speeds since the last round of testing in June 2013. T-Mobile’s average download speed rose from 6.3 Mbps to 9.7 Mbps, and its average upload speed more than doubled from 2.5 Mbps to 5.6 Mbps. Likewise, Sprint’s average download speed jumped from 2.7 Mbps to 5.4 Mbps, and its average upload speed jumped from 0.7 Mbps to 2.7 Mbps.

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
AT&T: 14.0 Mbps download/6.9 Mbps upload
Verizon: 12.0 Mbps download/6.3 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 9.7 Mbps download/5.6 Mbps upload
Sprint: 5.4 Mbps download/2.7 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 was the fastest carrier in the category with an average time of 2.6 seconds, but Verizon and AT&T were immediately behind at 2.7 and 2.8 seconds, respectively. Residents using Sprint in Philadelphia might have to wait a bit longer than those on other networks for emails to download, with the carrier recording an average of 4.3 seconds.

Making the call
Making calls on any of the four networks in Philadelphia should be a smooth experience, but Verizon claimed the RootScore Award in the category. The carrier had a stellar call failure rate of 0.3% on average. Approximately 1 in 300 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate.

Text me
Philadelphia has plenty of fast and reliable options for texting. AT&T and T-Mobile tied for the strongest text results, with failure rates of 0.2% or lower. All four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 95% of the time.

Almost 80,000 tests in Philadelphia
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Philadelphia area, RootMetrics conducted 78,420 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 28 – November 5, 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 3,367 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 Philadelphia. 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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Ann Marie Ricard
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