RootMetrics Report: Verizon Remains Top-Performing Carrier in Detroit, While T-Mobile Picks up Data Speed

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Verizon is once again the top-performing carrier in Detroit, but T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service dramatically boosted the carrier’s data speeds

Verizon is once again the top-performing carrier in Detroit, but T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service dramatically boosted the carrier’s data speeds. That’s according to independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics™, which conducts mobile performance tests designed to replicate real-world consumer behavior.

With the strongest overall performance in Detroit, Verizon took the top spot in the combined performance category, which includes results from data, call, and text tests for the four national carriers.

“Our testing in Detroit shows the contrast in data speeds between carriers who offer LTE and those who don’t. But we recognize that there’s more to mobile performance than speed,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “With our RootScore Reports, we’re focused on giving people a true picture of overall carrier performance to help them make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.”
The final combined performance RootScore rankings:

1 – Verizon (97)
2 – AT&T (95)
3 – T-Mobile (93)
4 – Sprint (83)

T-Mobile picks up data speed as Verizon slows down

T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service in Detroit should result in significantly faster data speeds for consumers, particularly while uploading files. T-Mobile’s average download speed increased from 11.2 Mbps to 18.4 Mbps since previous testing in April, and its average upload speed more than tripled, rising from 2.1 Mbps to 8.4 Mbps.

Meanwhile, Verizon’s average download speed fell from 19.2 Mbps to 16.3 Mbps, and its average upload speed fell from 11.1 Mbps to 7.4 Mbps.

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

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
T-Mobile: 18.4 Mbps download/8.4 Mbps upload
AT&T: 17.8 Mbps download/7.0 Mbps upload
Verizon: 16.3 Mbps download/7.4 Mbps upload
Sprint: 2.9 Mbps download/2.4 Mbps upload

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. AT&T was the fastest at 2.1 seconds, with Verizon and T-Mobile just behind at 2.8 and 2.9 seconds, respectively. With an average time above 5 seconds, Sprint customers in Detroit could be waiting longer than friends on other networks for their email to download.

Making the call
While call performance was strong for all four carriers in Detroit, T-Mobile and Verizon had stellar call failure rates below 0.4% on average. To put this in perspective, only about 1 in 250 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate.

Text me
Detroit has plenty of great options for texting services. Although T-Mobile and Verizon had the strongest texting results and won the category, all four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 96% of the time. T-Mobile had just 0.1% of texts fail to send during texting, and AT&T and Verizon recorded statistically comparable failure rates below 0.3% on average.

More than 51,000 tests in Detroit
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Detroit area, RootMetrics conducted 51,545 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 August 12 – August 20, 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 70 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,833 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 Detroit. 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
RootMetrics
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