RootMetrics Report: AT&T and Verizon Share Title for Best Overall Network in Houston

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For the first time, AT&T and Verizon shared the title of top-performing mobile network in Houston.

For the first time, AT&T and Verizon shared the title of top-performing mobile network in Houston. AT&T had won top honors for overall performance during the four previous RootMetrics tests in Houston, while Verizon won the award twice in 2011.This time, both carriers posted impressive and statistically similar results. 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; the top-performing network(s) is awarded the Overall RootScore Award. A good Overall RootScore means strong overall performance and a good consumer experience. AT&T and Verizon shared first place in Overall performance, T-Mobile followed in third, while Sprint trailed in fourth place.

The final Overall Performance RootScore rankings for Houston:

1 – AT&T (98.1)
1 – Verizon (98.0)
3 – T-Mobile (95.9)
4 – Sprint (85.5)

Network Reliability and Speed
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 Houston.

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

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (99.8)
2 – Verizon (99.5)
3 – T-Mobile (97.7)
4 – Sprint (90.4)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (92.5)
2 – AT&T (91.7)
3 – T-Mobile (91.2)
4 – Sprint (65.3)

"In Houston, we’ve typically seen tight competition for first place in the overall category,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “This time, results show a tie for first place in overall performance, but we’re seeing AT&T as the most reliable network, and Verizon as the fastest, though T-Mobile wasn’t far behind. This tells us that multiple networks can compete, which means consumers in Houston win.”

Verizon and T-Mobile Deliver Quickest Data Speeds in Houston

Verizon’s median download speed in Houston was lightning-fast at 16.7 Mbps, and T-Mobile clocked the fastest median upload speed at 9.5 Mbps. And while AT&T’s data speeds were a tick below those of T-Mobile, T-Mobile’s Data RootScore of 95.6 showed significant improvement compared to its 90.6 in October testing.

Median download and upload speeds by network
Verizon: 16.7 Mbps download/7.6 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 12.5 Mbps download/9.5 Mbps upload
AT&T: 11.6 Mbps download/8.9 Mbps upload
Sprint: 2.5 Mbps download/0.9 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 Houston should be a smooth experience on any of the four networks. AT&T didn’t record any dropped or blocked calls and led the pack in the call category with a score of 99.7. In a close second, Verizon posted a score of 99.0, and not far behind were T-Mobile and Sprint with scores of 95.1 and 93.1, respectively.

Text me
AT&T and T-Mobile shared the Text RootScore Award for the first time in Houston, with scores of 97.1 and 97.0, respectively. However, with Text RootScores above 94 for all four networks, text performance was strong across the board.

More than 74,000 tests in Houston
To evaluate the mobile experience in Houston, RootMetrics conducted 74,440 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 24 - 31, 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 both indoors (at 109 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 3,412 miles). For more information about RootMetrics testing, please visit the methodology section of the RootMetrics website. 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 Houston.

About RootMetrics®
RootMetrics® is an independent mobile analytics firm that offers insights into the consumer mobile experience. RootMetrics provides data on mobile network performance to help people make more informed mobile decisions. The company offers its RootScore® Report series for the nation, metropolitan markets, and airports, as well as its downloadable CoverageMap app. 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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