RootMetrics Report: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in Three-way Tie for #1 Mobile Network in San Francisco

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In a new report released today, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile were locked in a three-way tie, sharing the title of top-performing mobile carrier in San Francisco.

In a new report released today, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile were locked in a three-way tie, sharing the title of top-performing mobile carrier in San Francisco. And 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 RootMetrics 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 San Francisco:

1 – Verizon (96.4)
1 – AT&T (95.7)
1 – T-Mobile (95.4)
4 – Sprint (86.2)

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 San Francisco.

Verizon and AT&T shared the top spot in network reliability, and T-Mobile secured the top spot for network speed for the third consecutive time.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (98.7)
1 – AT&T (97.5)
3 – T-Mobile (96.9)
4 – Sprint (91.4)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (92.0)
2 – AT&T (90.9)
3 – Verizon (88.3)
4 – Sprint (70.4)

“In San Francisco, our latest testing shows a very tight the race between the four carriers, especially when it comes to reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Verizon and AT&T ranked highest for network reliability, but all four carriers scored above 91. Network reliability in San Francisco was very strong. Our testing also showed some fast data speeds; the good news for consumers in San Francisco is that there are options for choosing a carrier with both reliability and speed.”

Data Performance: T-Mobile #1 for Data Performance for First Time in San Francisco
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 San Francisco, with a score of 96.6. During the previous round of testing, T-Mobile shared the award with AT&T and Verizon. AT&T significantly increased its median download speed since RootMetrics testing in March 2014. AT&T recorded the fastest median download speed at 20.6 Mbps, up from 12.6 Mbps in March. T-Mobile recorded the fastest median upload speed at 12.8 Mbps.

Median download and upload speeds by network
AT&T: 20.56 Mbps download/11.41 upload
T-Mobile: 15.14 Mbps download/12.78 Mbps upload
Verizon: 11.23 Mbps download/8.36 Mbps upload
Sprint: 4.03 Mbps download/2.11 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 positive experience on any of the four networks. Verizon won the RootScore Award for call performance outright for the first time since July 2012, with a score of 97.7. In March, Verizon and AT&T shared the award for call performance. AT&T and T-Mobile shared second place with scores of 94.9 and 94.0, respectively, and Sprint placed fourth at 87.5.

Text me
T-Mobile and AT&T shared the RootScore Award for text performance, with Sprint coming in third place and Verizon ranking fourth. With Text RootScores above 95 for all four networks, texting in San Francisco should be a smooth experience for all four networks.

More than 26,000 tests in San Francisco
To evaluate the mobile experience in San Francisco, RootMetrics conducted 26,223 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 11, 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 33 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,162 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 San Francisco.

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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