RootMetrics Report: Verizon and T-Mobile in Neck-and-Neck Tie for #1 Network in Portland

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In a new report released today, Verizon and T-Mobile are in a neck-and-neck tie as the top-performing carriers in Portland.

In a new report released today, Verizon and T-Mobile are in a neck-and-neck tie as the top-performing carriers in Portland. Since the last round of testing in February 2014, Verizon launched its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in the Portland area. Verizon’s median download speed improved from 9.8 Mbps to 15.6 Mbps, and its median upload speed increased from 6.6 Mbps to 9.4 Mbps. Also notable, the new report shows that T-Mobile is the highest-ranked carrier for Network Speed, a spot previously held by AT&T. 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 RootMetrics Overall Performance RootScore rankings for Portland:

1 – Verizon (98.2)
1 – T-Mobile (97.2)
3 – AT&T (96.3)
4 – Sprint (92.8)

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 Portland.

Verizon edged out the competition to secure top rank in network reliability. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint had a three-way tie for second place.
Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (99.6)
2 – AT&T (98.7)
2 –T-Mobile (98.0)
2 – Sprint (97.8)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (95.2)
2 – Verizon (92.8)
3 – AT&T (87.9)
4 – Sprint (75.5)

“In Portland, we’re seeing an increasingly tight competition between the four carriers – especially when it comes to reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Verizon currently occupies the top spot on our network reliability index, but all four carriers scored above 97. Reliability in Portland was outstanding. And across the board – for data, text, and call performance – consumers in Portland have multiple options for choosing a carrier with both reliability and speed.”

Data Performance: T-Mobile Clocks Fastest Data Speeds in Portland
Data Performance 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. T-Mobile won the RootScore Award for data performance outright for the first time in Portland with a score of 98.0. T-Mobile recorded the fastest median download and upload speeds in Portland at 30.9 Mbps and 13.9 Mbps, respectively. Verizon, with the launch of AWS, showed improved data speeds that contributed to a second-place ranking for data performance and a RootScore of 97.5. Despite being ranked last for data performance, Sprint also showed improved data speeds. Sprint’s median download speed increased from 1.7 Mbps to 4.0 Mbps, and Sprint’s median upload speed increased from 1.0 Mbps to 4.4 Mbps. Only AT&T showed a decrease in median upload speed.

Median download and upload speeds by network
T-Mobile: 30.9 Mbps download/13.9 Mbps upload
Verizon: 15.6 Mbps download/9.4 Mbps upload
AT&T: 11.1 Mbps download/4.0 Mbps upload
Sprint: 4.0 Mbps download/4.4 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.

Making the call
Making calls in Portland should be a pleasant experience on any of the four networks. Verizon and AT&T shared the RootScore Award for call performance, with statistically equal scores of 99.2 and 97.7, respectively. Sprint and T-Mobile shared third place, with scores of 96.7 and 96.4.

Text me
T-Mobile won the RootScore Award for text performance for the first time since August 2011. Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon all sat squarely in the second-place position. With Text RootScores above 96 for all four networks, text performance in Portland should be a smooth experience for all four networks.

More than 25,000 tests in Portland
To evaluate the mobile experience in Portland, RootMetrics conducted 25,627 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 4 through August 10, 2014. The tests were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScout app running on Android-based, consumer smartphones purchased off-the-shelf from carrier stores. Tests were performed indoors (at 30 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 804 miles). For details about the results, 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 Portland.

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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