RootMetrics Report Names Verizon #1 Network in Atlanta; Sprint and T-Mobile Close the Gap on Competition

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In a new report released today, Verizon is noted as the top-performing carrier outright in Atlanta for the first time in two years.

BELLEVUE, Wash. (September 9, 2014) – In a new report released today, Verizon is noted as the top-performing carrier outright in Atlanta for the first time in two years. But perhaps the most notable results came from Sprint. Although Sprint still ranks last in overall performance among the four carriers in Atlanta, Sprint appears to be closing the gap on the competition. Sprint advanced through the ranks to join Verizon as the leaders in Network Reliability. Also noteworthy, T-Mobile joins Verizon in a tie for highest-ranking carrier on the Network Speed Index. This is the first time T-Mobile has ranked highest in Network Speed in Atlanta. 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 Atlanta:

1 – Verizon (98.1)
2 – AT&T (96.9)
2 – T-Mobile (96.8)
4 – Sprint (95.9)

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 Atlanta.

Sprint leapfrogged from the last-place position in testing performed in January 2013 to join Verizon in a tie for the top rank in network reliability. And T-Mobile and Verizon shared first place for network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Sprint (99.4)
1 – Verizon (99.2)
3 – AT&T (98.7)
4 – T-Mobile (97.9)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – T-Mobile (94.2)
1 – Verizon (94.1)
3 – AT&T (91.4)
4 – Sprint (83.2)

“The story we’re seeing unfold in Atlanta is positive for consumers with all four carriers keeping a focus on reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “Sprint’s jump from last place to a tie for first place on our network reliability index is a strong improvement since previous testing in January. And with scores for all four carriers above 97, reliability in Atlanta was outstanding. We also found fast data speeds, but speed doesn’t mean much if you can’t reliably connect to your network. In that respect, consumers in Atlanta have multiple options for choosing a carrier with both reliability and speed.”

Data Performance: Verizon Clocks Fastest Data Speeds in Atlanta
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. Verizon won the RootScore Award for data performance outright for the second consecutive time with a score of 98.1. Big Red recorded the fastest median download and upload speeds in Atlanta. Verizon’s median download speed increased from 25.9 to 31.4 Mbps and its median upload speed improved from 13.4 to 20.7 Mbps. T-Mobile’s improved data speeds contributed to a second-place ranking for data performance and a RootScore of 97.6. AT&T’s Data RootScore of 96.4 ranked third, and Sprint placed fourth at 92.4.

Median download and upload speeds by network
Verizon: 31.38 Mbps download/20.66 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 24.49 Mbps download/12.82 Mbps upload
AT&T: 15.49 Mbps download/12.38 Mbps upload
Sprint: 6.82 Mbps download/4.44 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 Atlanta should be a pleasant experience on any of the four networks. Sprint and Verizon shared the RootScore Award for call performance, with statistically indistinguishable scores of 99.1 and 98.5. AT&T and T-Mobile shared third place with scores of 97.1 and 95.8, respectively.

Text me
T-Mobile and AT&T were in a neck-in-neck tie for the Text RootScore Award, with scores of 97.7 and 97.6, respectively. With Text RootScores above 96 for all four networks, text performance in Atlanta should be a smooth experience for all four networks.

More than 102,300 tests in Atlanta
To evaluate the mobile experience in Atlanta, RootMetrics conducted 102,300 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 July 25 through August 2, 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 131 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 4,904 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 Atlanta.

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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