RootMetrics Puts LTE to the Test in Boston; Results Show Verizon’s LTE Outpaces AT&T

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After 37,654 Real-world Data, Call and Text Tests, Verizon Ranks First in Boston

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RootMetrics™ announced today the latest Boston RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. Complementing consumer-generated results from the RootMetrics CoverageMap app, the RootMetrics scout team professionally tests how carriers perform in cities across the country. The Boston report analyzes results from 37,654 real-world data, call, and text tests on the AT&T, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks.

This is RootMetrics’ second RootScore Report for Boston, having previously tested the area in May 2011. “With every city we test, we look to share relevant data that helps people find the best wireless network to suit their individual needs,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In our return to Boston, we wanted to find out how often LTE is accessible and let people know what speeds they will find when using their smartphones in real-world, day-to-day conditions. And although data is significant, we always include results for voice and text testing, because those matter as well.”

Notable Changes in Boston
Since the last time RootMetrics visited Boston, AT&T introduced LTE service to the market and increased its data download speeds dramatically. Though Verizon still proved faster, AT&T’s average download speed skyrocketed from 1.9 Mbps a year ago to 9.6 Mbps during this round of testing. AT&T also significantly improved its average upload speed, increasing from 1.1 Mbps a year ago to 4.4 Mbps in these most recent tests.

Also different from the 2011 tests in Boston, RootMetrics was able to include scoring for MetroPCS. When possible, RootMetrics will test and include results for regional carriers to provide the most complete picture of mobile performance.

Which Carrier Ranks First in Boston?    
RootMetrics sorted the test results to share with consumers which carrier provided the fastest and most reliable data network, which carrier had the fewest blocked and dropped calls, and which carrier offered the fastest text service.

  •     Data Performance: The RootMetrics data performance tests analyzed how fast each carrier’s network was able to download and upload files and how often a customer could successfully connect to the data network.

Verizon’s LTE network outpaced all other carriers’ networks, with an average download speed of 12.2 Mbps and an average upload speed of 5.6 Mbps.

AT&T’s LTE network earned second place, with an average download speed of 9.6 and an average upload speed of 4.4.

T-Mobile recorded an impressive performance in Boston, offering an average download speed of 8.0 Mbps, narrowly trailing the speeds recorded by the two LTE networks.

  •     Boston 4G Comparison and Potential Boston Slowdowns:

To give consumers a more complete picture of how the carriers performed in Boston, RootMetrics compared how often the carriers recorded speeds greater than 5 Mbps, a threshold they believe easily qualifies as “4G” speed.
Verizon recorded speeds above 5 Mbps in 67.5% of tests, while T-Mobile recorded download speeds above 5 Mbps in 65.2% of tests. AT&T managed to pass the threshold in 55.7% of RootMetrics’ tests.

MetroPCS, on the other hand, recorded download speeds below 1.5 Mbps in 90.5% of tests.

  •     Data Reliability: With a low 3.7% data failure rate, AT&T led all carriers as the most reliable data network in Boston. MetroPCS and Sprint were the least reliable carriers, recording a failure rate near 10%.
  •     Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). With all carriers recording statistically indistinguishable performances, there was no clear victor in this category.
  •     Text Performance: In testing, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to receive a single text message. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all delivered strong performances and tied for the top spot. At 3.0 seconds, Verizon recorded the fastest overall receive time. Sprint ranked last in overall receive time, recording 66.2 seconds.
  •     Overall: With the strongest overall performance, Verizon ranked first in the combined standings for Boston. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (92.8)
2 – AT&T (84.0)
3—T-Mobile (71.2)
4 – MetroPCS (43.7)
4 – Sprint (42.6)

The July 2012 Boston RootScore Report is the latest in an ongoing series of performance measurement reports and corresponding RootScore Awards from RootMetrics. The company will continue to publish additional reports on U.S. wireless markets to help consumers make better decisions about the right carrier for his or her individual needs. Review all RootScore reports at

To evaluate the Boston area, RootMetrics conducted 37,654 call, data, and text tests during a seven-day period, covering all hours of the day and night, from June 6- June 12, 2012. The real-world tests were conducted using the RootMetrics CoverageMap app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones from carriers’ stores. To ensure that testing aligns with consumer experience, and to provide each carrier with the chance to rate as highly as possible, RootMetrics utilizes the most advanced smartphones available at the time of testing. Tests centered on activities that consumers perform most often: making phone calls, uploading and downloading files from the Internet, and sending and receiving texts.

Consumers who are interested to see how their network coverage measures up can download the free RootMetrics Cell Phone CoverageMap app for iPhone or Android devices.

Mobile performance varies depending on where people live, work or otherwise spend time.
The results of this report, combined with the geographical coverage maps at and via the Cell Phone CoverageMap app, allow people to make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.

About RootMetrics™
Based in the Seattle area, RootMetrics is a fiercely independent data company dedicated to helping improve the daily mobile experience of consumers. Numbers are powerful and helping the mobile consumer is our #1 priority. We’re a facilitator between consumers and carriers, using technology on smartphones to gather independent data so that the carriers hear real-world concerns, can make smarter decisions on how to upgrade their networks, and connect with consumers. We’re gathering accurate, trusted data that helps consumers find the products and services that best fit their unique needs so that they can get the most out of their mobile lives. RootMetrics: making mobile work better for consumers.

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