RootMetrics Report: Verizon is Best Mobile Network in Chicago

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In a new report released today, Verizon won the title of top-performing mobile network in Chicago.

In a new report released today, Verizon won the title of top-performing mobile network in Chicago. Since RootMetrics last tested Chicago in April 2014, Verizon deployed its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in the area. And since April, Verizon’s median download speed increased from 18.9 Mbps to 22.8 Mbps and Verizon’s median upload speed increased from 10.1 Mbps to 13.3 Mbps. Big Red also ranked highest in both network reliability and 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 Chicago:

1 – Verizon (98.3)
2 – Sprint (97.2)
3 – AT&T (96.6)
3 – T-Mobile (96.3)

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 Chicago.

Reliability Index rankings:

1 – Verizon (99.6)
2 – Sprint (99.1)
3 – AT&T (98.4)
4 – T-Mobile (97.5)

Speed Index rankings:

1 – Verizon (93.4)
2 – T-Mobile (93.1)
3 – AT&T (91.4)
4 – Sprint (90.7)

“In our latest visit to Chicago, we’re seeing excellent results when it comes to network reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “All four carriers scored above 97 on our network reliability index, but we’re also seeing improvements in data speed as well. The good news for consumers in Chicago is that there are options for choosing a carrier that’s both reliable and fast.”

Data Performance: Verizon is Hands Down Fastest Data Network in Chicago
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. Verizon also recorded the fastest median download and upload speeds at 22.8 Mbps and 13.3 Mbps, respectively. And since the last round of testing in April, three of the four networks in Chicago delivered improved download speeds; only T-Mobile saw a decrease in download speed.

Median download and upload speeds by network
Verizon: 22.82 Mbps download/13.25 upload
AT&T: 15.18 Mbps download/10.19 Mbps upload
T-Mobile: 14.59 Mbps download/10.26 Mbps upload
Sprint: 10.54 Mbps download/6.49 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 Chicago should be a positive experience on any of the four networks. Verizon won the RootScore Award for call performance outright with a score of 99.3. Sprint came in second, with a score of 98.4, while AT&T and T-Mobile tied for third place with scores of 96.4 and 95.9, respectively.

Text me
Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile tied for the Text RootScore Award, with Verizon ranking fourth. With Text RootScores above 96 for all four networks, texting in Chicago should be a smooth experience for all of the wireless carriers.

More than 103,000 tests in Chicago
To evaluate the mobile experience in Chicago, RootMetrics conducted 103,479 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 September 5 through September 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 130 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 4,222 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 Chicago.

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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