RootMetrics Report: AT&T Named Top-Performing Network in Austin for Fourth Consecutive Time

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AT&T is once again the top-performing carrier in Austin, but T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service boosted the carrier’s data speeds.

AT&T is once again the top-performing carrier in Austin, but T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service 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 Austin, AT&T took the top spot in the combined performance category, which includes results from data, call, and text tests for the four national carriers. The RootMetrics combined performance score, or RootScore, is synonymous with coverage: a good Combined RootScore means good overall coverage and a good customer experience.

The final combined performance RootScore rankings for Austin:

1 – AT&T (98)
2 – Verizon (97)
3 – T-Mobile (89)
4 – Sprint (76)

While reliability and speed performance have always been part of how RootMetrics tests, the company recently introduced two new, standalone indices within the RootScore Reports that give consumers an easy, clear view of a network’s reliability and speed performances. The new Network Reliability Index is based on a combination of results from data, call, and text tests, while the Network Speed Index includes data and text results.
In Austin, Verizon edged out AT&T in network reliability, while AT&T ranked highest in network speed.
Network Reliability Index for Austin:
1 – Verizon (98.9)
2 – AT&T (97.9)
3 – T-Mobile (89.1)
4 – Sprint (75)

Network Speed Index for Austin:
1 – AT&T (98.9)
2 – Verizon (88.5)
3 – T-Mobile (85.2)
4 – Sprint (75.6)

Looking at the network reliability and speed indices in conjunction with Combined RootScores offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience in Austin.
“Fifteen years ago, we were just happy that our phones worked,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “Now, cell phones are a fundamental part of our lives. Mobile network speed and reliability are key to people being able to do what they want, when they want, with their phones. The new indexes offer another way for people to see beyond the hype to how the carriers are really performing.”

T-Mobile picks up data speed as AT&T slows down

T-Mobile’s recent launch of LTE service in Austin should result in faster data speeds for consumers, particularly while uploading files. T-Mobile’s average download speed increased from 10.1 Mbps to 12.2 Mbps since previous testing in April, and its average upload speed more than doubled, jumping from 2.1 Mbps to 4.9 Mbps.

Meanwhile, AT&T’s average download speed decreased from 20.5 Mbps to 18.3 Mbps since the last round of testing.

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 seconds 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
AT&T: 18.3 Mbps download/10.8 Mbps upload
Verizon: 13.7Mbps download/7.4 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 12.2 Mbps download/4.9 Mbps upload
Sprint: 6.5 Mbps download/3.3 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 had the fastest time in Austin at 2.8 seconds. T-Mobile and Verizon trailed behind AT&T at 3.3 seconds and 3.5 seconds, respectively. With an average time above 5 seconds, people using the Sprint network could be waiting slightly longer than others for their email to download.

Making the call
AT&T and Verizon had the strongest call results in Austin and shared a victory in the category. The two carriers tied as the most reliable in our call tests, with failure rates below 0.5% on average. To provide perspective, only about 1 in 200 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate.

Text me
Austin has plenty of great options for texting services. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon had the most reliable text results, with fewer than 0.1% of text messages failing to send during testing. All four carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 95% of the time.

More than 26,000 tests in Austin
To evaluate the mobile experience in the Austin area, RootMetrics conducted 26,326 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 17 – August 24, 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 38 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,234 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 Austin. 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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