RootMetrics Report: AT&T Named Best Overall Carrier in Boston; T-Mobile Named Fastest

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In a new report released today, AT&T was named the top-performing mobile carrier in Boston.

In a new report released today, AT&T was named the top-performing mobile carrier in Boston. AT&T also earned the highest ranks in network reliability and data performance. This marks the fourth consecutive time that AT&T has won the RootMetrics awards for overall and data performance in Boston. That’s according to independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics®, which measures mobile performance of the four major 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 coverage and a good consumer experience.

The final Overall Performance RootScore rankings for Boston:

1 – AT&T (96.8)
2 – T-Mobile (95.6)
3 – Verizon (94.7)
4 – Sprint (91.4)

Network Reliability and Speed

RootMetrics measures network reliability and speed to give consumers a clear and holistic view of each network’s performance in these key areas of mobile usage. 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 Boston.

AT&T ranked first in network reliability, while T-Mobile earned the top rank in network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (99.0)
2 – Verizon (97.3)
2 – T-Mobile (96.8)
4 – Sprint (95.5)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (90.2)
2 – AT&T (89.1)
3 – Verizon (86.1)
4 – Sprint (79.1)

“Our recent testing in Boston highlights the carriers’ increased focus on reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “AT&T ranked first on our network reliability index, but with scores above 95 for all four networks, reliability in Boston was outstanding. We also found impressive data speeds, but speed doesn’t mean much if you can’t reliably connect to your network. Consumers in Boston have multiple options for choosing a carrier with both speed and reliability.”

Data Performance: T-Mobile Clocks the Fastest Data Speeds in Boston

Data RootScores 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. AT&T won the Data RootScore Award with a score of 95.8, but T-Mobile (93.6) recorded the fastest median download and upload speeds in Boston at 15.5 Mbps and 10.7 Mbps, respectively. AT&T’s data speeds trailed those of only T-Mobile at 14.4 Mbps for download and 9.5 Mbps for upload. T-Mobile and Verizon tied for second in the data category with Data RootScore of 93.6 and 93.5, while Sprint ranked fourth at 89.8.

Median download and upload speeds by network
T-Mobile: 15.5 Mbps download/10.7 Mbps upload
AT&T: 14.4 Mbps download/9.5 Mbps upload
Verizon: 12.3 Mbps download/3.8 Mbps upload
Sprint: 7.8 Mbps download/3.3 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
Call performance was strong across the board in Boston. All four carriers recorded dropped call rates below 0.9%, and blocked call rates for all four networks were below 1.2%. AT&T and T-Mobile shared the Call RootScore Award with scores of 98.1 and 97.5. Verizon followed in third place with a score of 95.7 and Sprint followed at 92.1.

Text me
T-Mobile won the Text RootScore Award with a score of 96.1, but the other networks weren’t far behind. With Text RootScores above 95.3 for all four networks, text performance in Boston should be a smooth experience on any of the four networks.

More than 77,000 tests in Boston
To evaluate the mobile experience in Boston, RootMetrics conducted 77,092 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 April 28 through May 5, 2014. The tests were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScout app running on Android-based smartphones purchased off-the-shelf from carrier stores. Tests were performed indoors (at 108 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 3,268 miles). For details about testing, see 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 list what data speeds mean while performing various mobile activities are a general look at data speeds for illustrative purposes and aren’t specific to Boston.

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
Rootmetrics
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