RootMetrics Report: Verizon and A&T in Dead Heat as Best Mobile Network in Boston

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In a new report released today, Verizon and AT&T are locked in a neck-and-neck tie for the title of top-performing overall mobile network in Boston.

In a new report released today, Verizon and AT&T are locked in a neck-and-neck tie for the title of top-performing overall mobile network in Boston. AT&T had earned this distinction outright during the previous four RootMetrics test periods in Boston. Since the most recent testing in April, Verizon deployed its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum in the area, but despite this upgrade, AT&T won its fifth consecutive Data RootScore Award in Boston. 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 Boston:

1 – Verizon (96.5)
1 – AT&T (96.5)
3 – T-Mobile (95.1)
4 – Sprint (92.9)

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 Boston.

Verizon edged past AT&T and Sprint to take the #1 position in network reliability with a score of 98.9. T-Mobile earned the top spot in network speed for the second consecutive time in Boston, scoring 92.8.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (98.9)
2 – AT&T (97.9)
2 – Sprint (97.2)
4 – T-Mobile (96.3)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – T-Mobile (92.8)
2 – AT&T (92.2)
3 – Verizon (87.9)
4 – Sprint (78.3)

“In our eighth visit to Boston, we’re seeing strong results across the board in network reliability,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “While Verizon edged past the competition to earn distinction as the most reliable network in Boston, it’s clearly a close competition among all four carriers. This is great news for consumers.”

Data Performance: A&T and T-Mobile Deliver Fastest Data Speeds in Boston
Data Performance RootScores factor in each network’s reliability and speed when downloading and uploading data, performing email tasks, and downloading files that approximate using typical webpages or apps. AT&T won the RootScore Award for data performance in Boston with a score of 96.7. AT&T and T-Mobile recorded the fastest median download speeds at 17.1 and 17.7 Mbps, respectively, while T-Mobile recorded the fastest median upload speed at 12.5 Mbps. Since previous testing in April, AT&T’s median download speed increased from 14.4 to 17.1 Mbps, and T-Mobile’s median download speed improved from 15.5 to 17.7 Mbps.

Median download and upload speeds by network
T-Mobile: 17.73 Mbps download/12.47 upload
AT&T: 17.10 Mbps download/8.09 upload
Verizon: 11.93 Mbps download/4.81 Mbps upload
Sprint: 7.59 Mbps download/2.95 Mbps upload

Data speeds impact 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 Boston should be a positive experience on any of the four networks. Verizon won the RootScore Award for call performance outright for the first time in Boston, with a score of 98.3. AT&T and Sprint shared the #2 spot, with scores of 96.4 and 95.7, and T-Mobile ranked fourth with a score of 93.4.

Text me
T-Mobile won the RootScore Award for text performance for the second consecutive time with a score of 97.0. With Text RootScores above 95 for all four networks, texting in Boston should be a smooth experience.

More than 75,000 tests in Boston
To evaluate the mobile experience in Boston, RootMetrics conducted 76,388 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 15 through September 22, 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 101 locations), outdoors, and during drive tests (covering 3,396 miles). For details about RootMetrics testing, 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 Boston.

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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