Research From GWS Highlights Which Operators Offer The Best Performance At Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

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GWS Reveals AT&T and Verizon Bring The Magic Needed For Superior Mobile Connectivity At The Happiest Place On Earth

Today Global Wireless Solutions (GWS), the leading independent network benchmarking firm, releases its Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom testing data revealing that AT&T and Verizon offer the best mobile connectivity, while Sprint and T-Mobile lagged behind. Millions of Walt Disney World visitors every year rely on their mobile devices for everything from checking on ride wait times, to downloading park maps or uploading selfies to social media, and this testing examines which operators are able to deliver the mobile experience they expect on their smartphones.

Overall, AT&T ranked as the top-performing network throughout the park, with Verizon a close second, both sharing first or second rankings in each of the six Lands that make up the Magic Kingdom. T-Mobile consistently ranked as the third best performing network in each Land, with one exception where it ranked last. Sprint was the lowest performing of the four major operators, scoring lowest for overall connectivity, reliability and data speeds in all the Lands except one where it ranked third, trading places with T-Mobile. However, for the most part all carriers performed extremely well with a combined average of 99.5 percent in task reliability at Magic Kingdom.

On basic tasks, like sending a tweet or posting a status update, all the carriers were able to complete 100 percent of the tasks attempted. For the average visitor’s needs, AT&T performed the best throughout the park for tasks like clicking on a link, downloading an image or map or even downloading a song. It was also the top network for any heavy streaming tasks like watching YouTube or Netflix. AT&T and Verizon tied for number 1 in terms of small tasks in line with making a status update (minus the photo/video). Depending on where mobile customers are in the park, when posting a selfie, T-Mobile customers may experience some hiccups; for example in Frontierland the carrier completed just 93 percent of the attempted tasks tested. For park goers looking to stream video, those on Sprint may struggle, as the operator was able to complete just 94 percent and 95 percent of these types of tasks tested in Adventureland and Frontierland respectively.

Dr. Paul Carter, CEO at Global Wireless Solutions, commented: “Disney World is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the US, so it’s critical that operators are in a position to provide good service. With so many customers on the ground looking to do anything from tweeting an update to sharing a photo or video of their experiences via social media, it’s integral that the mobile operators have a robust network in place. Our carefully controlled tests examined a variety of metrics, including upload and download speeds, task attempts and completions, to determine just how successful these mobile networks are when it comes to uploading a selfie or watching a video. The results highlight that AT&T and Verizon customers will clearly enjoy the best performance when updating their Facebook or Twitter friends about the magical time they’re having at the park.”

SOCIAL MEDIA PERFORMANCE
Magic Kingdom averages nearly 53,000 daily visitors making it the most visited theme park in the world. All of these happy and excited visitors in one venue can really stress the wireless operators’ networks. Can you imagine the impact as visitors throughout the day are energetically tapping away on their mobile devices to share their experiences of the park with their friends and family via social networks, whether it’s Instagram or Snapchat. GWS performed multiple social media simulation tests to gauge the experiences visitors could expect, whether they want to just send a tweet or live stream their visit via Periscope. Findings include:

  • AT&T was ranked as the best network for visitors that want to browse their social feeds, which can be one of the most common social media activities for users while they’re waiting in line for the next ride – clicking on links in Facebook or general browsing in Instagram and Twitter
  • AT&T and Verizon tied top for the best operators for tweeting (without images or video) your way through your magical visit, though all carriers performed admirably on simulations for status updates on sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Verizon was the most robust network for sharing a selfie or video via social media, edging out AT&T for the top spot for uploading a selfie on social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat
  • AT&T was by far the best network for downloading heavy streaming media. For parents turning to Netflix or YouTube videos to calm down a little one or when stuck waiting for the kids to get off the rides, those with AT&T will find the best performance with these kinds of tasks

LAND-BY-LAND COMPARISON
GWS tested a range of key indicators for mobile performance in developing these rankings– including download speed, upload speed and task success reliability. These metrics were combined to determine both the overall mobile experience for visitors of the park and a land-by-land comparison. The latter of which are as follows (from best to worst):
1. Main Street
2. Tomorrow Land
3. Adventure Land
4. Fantasy Land
5. Liberty Square
6. Frontier Land

WHAT ABOUT THE WIFI
The Magic Kingdom also offers visitors access to its own Wi-Fi network, though our testing shows the mobile operators are the most reliable way of accessing your smartphone. The WiFi performed its best in the social posting and photo tests GWS performed, completing 88% of those tasks when tested.

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Methodology
GWS conducted this series of tests in order to evaluate mobile network performance at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. More than 25,000 task tests were conducted in order to evaluate network performance of Tier 1 carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) throughout the 6 lands that make up Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on November 10 - 13, 2015. The tests were conducted using the GWS Mobile Diagnostic App running on Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.
Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers standardized, high-quality network data and engineering analysis to its customers through a suite of benchmarking products, services, and diagnostic apps that includes drive, venue, and in-building testing.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, GWS provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve. Founded in 1996, GWS is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, GWS has driven more than 9 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit http://www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.

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