Verizon Tops National Awards in Latest Mobile Network Performance Review; Other Carriers Make Solid Improvements, Including at State and Metro Levels

New second-half 2016 US report from RootMetrics, an IHS Markit company, shows competition increasing across network performance categories

Bellevue, Washington, UNITED STATES

  • Verizon earns awards outright in every category at the national level
  • AT &T continues to display strong performance on a national scale
  • Sprint makes significant gains at both the state and metro levels
  • T-Mobile consistently delivers fast speeds and high reliability in metro areas

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RootMetrics®, an IHS Markit (Nasdaq:INFO) company, today announced the release of its second-half 2016 review of Mobile Network Performance in the US report, the most comprehensive summary of mobile network performance across the entirety of the country as well as at the state and metro levels.

With consumers turning to their mobile devices for an ever-increasing number of daily tasks, RootMetrics, the standard for independent mobile performance information, issued its seventh edition of this report to provide mobile users with a holistic look at network performance across all the spaces of a consumer's mobile life. The latest report summarizes results from the RootMetrics comprehensive, scientific testing methodology, building the most unbiased picture of mobile network performance across three complementary levels: the entire United States, each of the 50 states, and the 125 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

During the second half of 2016, RootMetrics scouters drove 249,935 miles, visited 4,283 indoor locations and conducted nearly 3.7 million tests across all 50 states and 125 metro areas using the same phones consumers can buy from the carriers' stores, statistically reflecting performance across 100 percent of the US population.

Performance at the National Level

According to the latest RootMetrics report, Verizon continues to lead when it comes to mobile performance at the national level. In fact, Verizon took the RootScore Awards outright in every category of RootMetrics mobile network performance testing for the second consecutive time. Meanwhile, AT &T continues to provide excellent network reliability with significant LTE spectrum deployment during the second half of 2016. Sprint also made strides at the national level, most notably improving in the text performance category, while T-Mobile is the first carrier to deploy nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

"Today's connected consumers use their smartphones for almost everything," said Annette Hamilton, director at RootMetrics. "While mobile networks continue to compete in order to determine how they stack up against each other, the real question is how they perform against their subscribers' needs. With increased focus on data performance and network speed, the carriers are working quickly to expand their LTE footprints and implement technologies that allow consumers to easily enjoy their favorite series on Netflix or rapidly upload a video to Facebook. Based on the latest RootMetrics mobile network performance results, it's clear that all four major mobile carriers are racing to provide an excellent mobile experience – which makes consumers the real winners."

Overall performance scoring is broken down in two ways. First, RootMetrics offers two holistic categories that give consumers a clear view of each network's performance in the key areas of Network Reliability and Network Speed. Network Reliability is based on how reliably calls could be made and texts delivered, as well as how often RootMetrics was able to make a data network connection and then stay connected throughout testing of all performance categories. Network Speed includes how quickly a network can download and upload files, send email and perform typical web and app-related tasks.

Scoring is further broken down into call, data and text RootScores. Looking at all the RootScore categories together offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience; since not everyone uses their phones in the same way, RootMetrics also offers the ability for consumers to slice the data in the way that helps them most.

State Performance Summarized

At the state level in the second half of 2016, Verizon took the most RootScore Awards at 278, outright or shared, across all six categories tested. This is up from the 274 awards the carrier earned during the last round of testing. Meanwhile, AT &T won or shared 92 awards at the state level (across all six categories), up 10 from the previous testing period.

Sprint showed significant award gains at the state level, jumping from 11 RootScore Awards in the first half of 2016 to winning or sharing 34 awards (in the reliability, call, and text categories) in the second half. Notably, many of these additional awards were from Sprint's improvements in the call and text performance categories. T-Mobile earned 13 total awards (in the speed, data, call, and text categories), down from the 20 award-wins in the previous round of testing.

You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the second half of 2016 at the state level here.

Metro Performance Summarized

Mobile performance at the metro level is likely to have the greatest impact on a consumer's daily life and it is where carriers made the most significant gains, in awards and otherwise. According to this latest testing, Verizon earned 658 total RootScore Awards across all six categories tested and across the largest US cities in the second half of 2016, a jump from 563 awards during the first half and nearly twice as many as the next-closest competitor.

The runner-up in terms of total award-wins was AT &T, which won or shared 372 awards at the metro level (across all six categories), down somewhat from the 409 awards earned at the metro level during the previous testing period. Despite the slight dip in award count, AT &T increased the number of markets in the 20 Mbps-or-faster median download speed range from 31 this half from seven in the previous half.

T-Mobile won or shared 270 awards across all six categories during this latest round of testing, which is down from the 360 total awards earned in the first half of the year. However, despite the award tally decline, T-Mobile still earned the second most RootScore Awards in two categories of utmost importance to consumers: network speed and data performance.

Sprint showed improvements at the metro level, jumping from 166 total awards - outright or shared - to 246 (across all six categories) half-over-half, and earning the highest total Call RootScore Awards of any network. Sprint recorded median download speeds between 10-20 Mbps in 46 markets, up from 40 in the first half; in the 20+ Mbps median download speed range, Sprint increased its number of markets from two in the previous half to six in the second half of 2016.

You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the second half of 2016 at the metro level here.

For details on the RootMetrics testing methodology, visit:

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