RootMetrics Report: AT&T and Verizon Tie as Top-performing Network in Kansas City; For First Time, AT&T Wins in Data Performance

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AT&T and Verizon now share recognition as the top-performing networks in Kansas City.

AT&T and Verizon now share recognition as the top-performing networks in Kansas City. Meanwhile, T-Mobile is closing the performance gap, with significantly faster data speeds during the latest 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.

AT&T and Verizon tied 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 Kansas City:

1 – AT&T (96.9)
1 – Verizon (96.7)
3 – T-Mobile (93.4)
4 – Sprint (91.2)

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 Kansas City.

AT&T and Verizon shared the highest rank in network reliability, while T-Mobile and AT&T shared top rank in network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (97.8)
1 – Verizon (97.7)
3 – Sprint (93.8)
4 – T-Mobile (91.6)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – T-Mobile (94.7)
1 – AT&T (94.0)
3 – Verizon (92.1)
4 – Sprint (77.2)

T-Mobile and AT&T accelerate in Kansas City, while Verizon and Sprint slow down
For the first time, AT&T earned the top spot in the data category, but T-Mobile’s lightning-fast LTE speed accounted for the fastest average upload and download rates, a notable improvement since last testing in June 2013. In fact, T-Mobile’s average download speed rocketed from 11.0 Mbps to 17.5 Mbps, and its average upload speed increased from 6.4 Mbps to 8.3 Mbps. Inversely, Verizon’s average download speed decreased from a quick 19.9 Mbps to 16.3 Mbps and its average upload speed decreased from 10.1 Mbps to 7.3 Mbps, while Sprint’s average download speed fell from 8.1 Mbps to 6.1 Mbps and its average upload speed dropped from 4.0 Mbps to 3.4 Mbps.

"It’s an interesting story in Kansas City, as we’re seeing quite a contrast in data performance from our last testing,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “In this case, two carriers are showing improvements in data speeds, while two are decreasing.”

Average download and upload speeds by carrier
T-Mobile: 17.5 Mbps download/8.3 Mbps upload
AT&T: 16.7 Mbps download/8.0 Mbps upload
Verizon: 16.3 Mbps download/7.3 Mbps upload
Sprint: 6.1 Mbps download/3.4 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 seconds 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 2.4 seconds, but AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint were just behind, with 2.6 seconds, 3.1 seconds, and 3.6 seconds, respectively.

Making the call
Making calls on any of the four networks in Kansas City should be a smooth experience. Sprint and Verizon tied in this category. All four networks registered stellar, and statistically comparable, call failure rates below 0.6% on average. Approximately 1 in 175 calls would fail (drop or block) at this rate on average.

Text me
Kansas City has plenty of fast and reliable options for texting, and this category was a draw. All four networks provided reliable texting services during testing. Each carrier delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 97% of the time.

More than 26,000 tests in Kansas City
To evaluate the mobile experience in Kansas City, RootMetrics conducted, 26,553 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 November 15–November 23, 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 36 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,274 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 Kansas City. 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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