RootMetrics Report: Verizon and T-Mobile Tie for #1 Network in Washington, D.C.

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In a new report released today, Verizon and T-Mobile were named the top-performing mobile carriers in Washington, D.C.

In a new report released today, Verizon and T-Mobile were named the top-performing mobile carriers in Washington, D.C. This marks the third consecutive time Verizon and T-Mobile have tied for honors as the best overall carrier in the nation’s capital. Also for the third consecutive time, T-Mobile ranked highest in network speed. 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 Washington, D.C.:

1 – Verizon (97.9)
1 – T-Mobile (97.3)
3 – AT&T (94.3)
4 – Sprint (91.3)

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 Washington, D.C.

Verizon ranked highest in network reliability, and T-Mobile again secured the top spot outright for network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (99.5)
2 – T-Mobile (98.5)
3 –AT&T (97.5)
4 – Sprint (96.2)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (93.7)
2 – Verizon (92.1)
3 – AT&T (84.3)
4 – Sprint (75.4)

“In Washington, D.C., we’re seeing how close the competition is between the four carriers – especially when it comes to reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Verizon occupies the top spot on our network reliability index, but all four carriers scored above 96. Reliability in Washington, D.C., was outstanding. And across the board – for data, text, and call performance – consumers in Washington, D.C. have multiple options for choosing a carrier with both reliability and speed.”

Data Performance: T-Mobile Clocks Fastest Data Speeds in Washington, D.C.
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 Washington, D.C., with a score of 97.6. T-Mobile and Verizon recorded the fastest median download speeds in Washington, D.C., at 15.2 Mbps and 14.7 Mbps, respectively, while T-Mobile had the fastest median upload speed at 15.5 Mbps. Verizon closely followed T-Mobile in the data category with a Data RootScore of 97.1.

Median download and upload speeds by network
T-Mobile: 15.16 Mbps download/15.51 Mbps upload
Verizon: 14.69 Mbps download/7.38 Mbps upload
AT&T: 8.91 Mbps download/3.52 Mbps upload
Sprint: 6.25 Mbps download/2.70 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 Washington, D.C., should be a pleasant experience on any of the four networks. Verizon won the RootScore Award for call performance, with a score of 99.1. T-Mobile and AT&T shared second place with scores of 97.2 and 95.2, respectively, and Sprint came in fourth place at 94.0.

Text me
T-Mobile won the RootScore Award for text performance for the first time since April 2011. Verizon ranked second, with Sprint and AT&T sharing third place. With Text RootScores above 95 for all four networks, texting in Washington, D.C., should be a smooth experience for all four networks.

More than 51,000 tests in Washington, D.C.
To evaluate the mobile experience in Washington, D.C., RootMetrics conducted 51,882 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 67 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 2,154 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 Washington, D.C.

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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