AT&T in Dead Heat with Verizon as Top-performing Carrier in Seattle

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RootMetrics Report: AT&T’s Newly Launched LTE Service Shows Significant Improvement in Data Speeds from July 2012 Report

Independent mobile analytics firm and consumer advocate RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Seattle RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. The company provides free mobile performance information to help consumers make more informed decisions and improve their mobile lives. For the first time, AT&T is tied with Verizon as the top-performing carrier in Seattle.    

To mirror a typical consumer’s mobile experience in the Seattle area, RootMetrics measured performance both indoors and outdoors, across all hours of the day and night, undertaking nearly 49,000 tests based on how people use their smartphones most frequently.

The Seattle Wireless Scene
AT&T launched its LTE service in Seattle in September 2012. RootMetrics observed significant improvements in average download and upload speeds compared to the July 2012 report. These improved speeds helped AT&T share first place with Verizon in data and combined performance categories for the first time in Seattle. In the last four test periods, Verizon came out on top. In good news for Verizon customers, Verizon’s LTE network provided faster average download speed compared to RootMetrics last visit to Seattle. For Sprint and T-Mobile, RootMetrics noted solid strides in text testing; each carriers’ rate of delivered texts in less than 10 seconds improved significantly.

AT&T Leverages LTE to Share Victory with Verizon in Seattle
RootMetrics analyzed the test results in order to share real-world data with consumers on 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.

Carrier Speeds
The RootMetrics data performance tests analyzed how fast each carrier’s network was able to download and upload files, as well as how fast and reliably each network could download email and load webpages and apps.

AT&T and Verizon tied for first place in the data category, with strong performances in the RootMetrics tests of network speed, email delivery, and webpage and app loading.

AT&T’s LTE network delivered the fastest average download speed in Seattle at 16.4 Mbps, with a fast average upload of 7.7 Mbps. Verizon, which also offers LTE in Seattle, recorded a speedy 14.6 Mbps average download speed, and the fastest average upload speed in Seattle at 8.7 Mbps. T-Mobile, a carrier yet to introduce LTE in Seattle, delivered an average download speed of 9.5 Mbps, with an average upload speed of 2.4 Mbps. Sprint had the slowest speeds in the market, with an average download speed of 2.7 Mbps and a slow average upload speed of 0.6 Mbps.

Downloading Emails the Fastest in Seattle
To provide some context around these data speeds, RootMetrics measured the average time it took to download a set of 10 emails during its testing in Seattle. With an average time above 6 seconds, Sprint and T-Mobile customers could be waiting longer than friends on other networks for emails to download. Verizon and AT&T, on the other hand, provided the fastest email services, with a time of 2.4 seconds and 2.5 seconds, respectively.

Browsing the Web or Using Apps
In tests to load a typical webpage or app, RootMetrics found that Verizon and AT&T were fastest, tied at 0.4 seconds. T-Mobile was just behind those two carriers, at 0.9 seconds. Sprint was the slowest of all carriers at 2.1 seconds.

If consumers decide to load an app to check the weather, Sprint customers might be waiting longer than other Seattleites.

Network Reliability Score
RootMetrics looks at two factors during its network reliability testing: 1) how often each carrier successfully connected to the network and 2) once connected, how reliable each carrier was at completing the speed tests, successfully downloading emails, and loading webpages and apps. AT&T achieved the highest Network Reliability Score at 99.1, with Verizon close behind at 99.0. T-Mobile’s score was 98.3, and Sprint trailed with a score of 95.0.

Call Performance
RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). Call performance was strong across all carriers, and AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile had stellar, statistically comparable call failure rates of 0.8% or below. To put that in perspective, about 1 in 150 calls would drop or fail.

Text Performance
To replicate the most typical user experience, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to send and receive text messages. Seattle has great options when it comes to carriers with strong text performance. All carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 93% of the time. AT&T and Sprint didn’t have any texts fail during testing.

Overall
With the strongest overall mobile performances in Seattle, AT&T and Verizon tied for first place in the combined performance category. The final results are:
1 – Verizon (95)
1 – AT&T (95)
3 – T-Mobile (88)
4 – Sprint (78)

The June 2013 Seattle 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 markets to help consumers make better decisions about the right carrier for his or her individual needs. Consumers who are interested to see how their network performs compared to other carriers in Seattle or elsewhere can download the free RootMetrics CoverageMap app for iPhone or Android devices. Review all RootScore reports at http://www.rootmetrics.com.

To evaluate the mobile experience in the Seattle area, RootMetrics conducted 48,441 call, data, and text tests, covering all hours of the day and night from March 10 - 16, 2013. The tests, designed to mirror a typical consumer’s mobile experience, 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, browsing the web and using apps, downloading email and sending and receiving texts. To reflect how consumers’ use their phones on a daily basis, tests were conducted both indoors (at 68 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 2,048 miles).

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 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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