RootMetrics Report: Verizon Remains Top-Performing Carrier in Los Angeles, but AT&T’s Expanded LTE Service Levels Playing Field

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Verizon named top-performing mobile carrier in Los Angeles, but AT&T showed big improvements in its LTE data speeds.

For the fourth time in two years, Verizon was named the top-performing mobile carrier in Los Angeles, but AT&T showed big improvements in its LTE data speeds. That’s according to independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics™, which conducts mobile performance tests designed to replicate real-world consumer behavior.

Verizon won the data and combined performance categories in Los Angeles for the fourth consecutive time, but AT&T’s recently expanded LTE network gave Verizon a run for its money in both categories. AT&T’s LTE upgrade is great news for consumers, as both AT&T and Verizon now provide blazing-fast data speeds. In fact, AT&T’s speeds were twice as fast as the speeds found during November testing and were neck-and-neck with those of Verizon.
The final RootScores for combined performance:
1 – Verizon (96)
2 – AT&T (93)
3 – T-Mobile (89)
4 – Sprint (75)

Combined performance rankings are calculated based on results from data, call, and text tests.

AT&T’s LTE upgrade improves data speeds in Los Angeles
AT&T and Verizon, both offering LTE service, provide consumers with lightning-fast download and upload speeds, while T-Mobile continues to offer a very fast non-LTE average download speed. While still the slowest of the four carriers, Sprint’s recent LTE expansion in L.A. led to considerable improvements to its data speeds.

Data speed affects 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 takes less than 1 second.

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
Verizon: 13.2 Mbps download/8.3 Mbps upload
AT&T: 13.5 Mbps download/6.7 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 7.2 Mbps download/1.6 Mbps upload
Sprint: 3.7 Mbps download/ 1.9 Mbps upload

You’ve got mail — how long does it take to get it?
RootMetrics measured the average time it took the carriers to download a set of 10 emails. Verizon and AT&T were in a dead heat for the fastest email downloads at 2.7 seconds. T-Mobile clocked in at 5.1 seconds, and Sprint lagged behind with an average time of more than 7 seconds.

Which carriers can you count on?
Verizon and AT&T led in network reliability testing, with scores of 99.5 and 99.0, respectively. T-Mobile closely trailed the two leaders at 98.8 and Sprint brought up the rear at 94.9. The scores are based on how often each carrier successfully connected to the network and how reliable each carrier was in completing tasks.

Making the call
Call performance was strong for all carriers. Verizon topped the others with a stellar call failure rate of only 0.6%, while AT&T and T-Mobile had strong, and statistically comparable, average call failure rates below 1.1%. For perspective, roughly 1 in 100 calls would fail at this rate. Los Angeles consumers have great choices when it comes to text service as well; all carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 96% of the time. T-Mobile and Verizon each had only 0.1% of their texts fail to send during testing.

More than 81,000 tests in Los Angeles
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Los Angeles area, RootMetrics conducted 81,230 call, data, and text tests during all hours of the day and night from May 10 to May 17, 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 109 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 3,380 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, Wash., RootMetrics™ is an independent company that provides accurate and unbiased mobile performance data with market-specific RootScore Reports, geographical coverage maps, and a free downloadable CoverageMap 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.

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Ann Marie Ricard
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