RootMetrics Report: AT&T and Verizon in Neck-and-Neck Tie as Leading Networks in San Francisco

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AT&T and Verizon now share the honor of being named the top-performing mobile network in San Francisco.

AT&T and Verizon now share the honor of being named the top-performing mobile network in San Francisco. In five of the six RootMetrics RootScore Reports on mobile performance in San Francisco, Verizon has either shared the top honor with AT&T or won outright. The exception was during the previous round of testing in October 2013, when AT&T shared this recognition with T-Mobile. 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.

The Overall performance category includes results across data, call, and text testing. A good Overall RootScore means strong overall coverage and a good consumer experience. AT&T and Verizon shared first place in Overall performance, while T-Mobile took third place and Sprint trailed in fourth place.

The final Overall Performance RootScore rankings for San Francisco:

1 – AT&T (97.3)
1 – Verizon (97.0)
3 – T-Mobile (94.6)
4 – Sprint (79.0)

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 Overall RootScores offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience in San Francisco.

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

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (99.6)
1 – Verizon (99.3)
3 – T-Mobile (96.4)
4 – Sprint (83.2)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (90.1)
2 – AT&T (89.4)
3 – Verizon (88.5)
4 – Sprint (61.8)

"In San Francisco, the story we’re seeing unfold is the critical importance of reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Speed is obviously great, but it’s meaningless if you can’t connect to a network wherever you are. All four major networks are showing improved scores on our network reliability index, which is great news for consumers in the Bay Area.”

T-Mobile Serves Up Fastest Data Speeds in San Francisco

There was a three-way tie between T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon in the data category in San Francisco, and all four networks had higher Data RootScores compared to October testing. These scores factor in each network’s reliability and speed when downloading and uploading data, performing email tasks, and handling files that represent elements of a webpage. T-Mobile recorded the fastest median download and upload speeds in San Francisco, while Sprint’s median download and upload speeds were significantly slower than those of the other the carriers.

Median download and upload speeds by network
T-Mobile: 13.5 Mbps download/13.2 Mbps upload
AT&T: 12.2 Mbps download/9.8 Mbps upload
Verizon: 11.4 Mbps download/7.8 Mbps upload
Sprint: 0.7 Mbps download/0.7 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.

Making the call
Making calls in San Francisco should be a smooth experience on any of the four networks. AT&T and Verizon lead the charge and shared the Call RootScore Award, with scores of 99.1 and 98.8, respectively. T-Mobile is in third place with a score of of 93.1, and Sprint ranked fourth with a score of 84.6.

Text me
AT&T won the Text RootScore Award outright for the first time in San Francisco, with a score of 96.7. However, with Text RootScores above 93 for all four networks, text performance was strong across the board.

More than 25,500 tests in San Francisco

To evaluate the mobile experience in San Francisco, RootMetrics conducted 25,597 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 March 26 to April 1, 2014. 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 indoors (at 33 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,179 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 San Francisco. For details about the results, see the methodology section of the RootMetrics website.

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 network 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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Ann Marie Ricard
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