Verizon Wireless has emerged as the top-performing cellphone service provider in the latest performance report from mobile analytics company RootMetrics. During the first half of 2014, Verizon took the lead not only on a nationwide and state-by-state basis, but in metro areas as well, where AT&T had dominated at the end of 2013.
The RootMetrics Midyear Mobile Network Performance Report identified Verizon as “the dominant award-winner in nearly all aspects of our testing across the U.S., states and metros.” Verizon ranked at the top nationally in overall performance, reliability, speed, data performance and call performance. The only category it did not lead in was in text performance, where it came in second to AT&T.
AT&T was a close second to Verizon in all the categories outside of text performance, the report found, while T-Mobile “emerged as a contender at the metro level with its focus on urban centers.” Sprint and T-Mobile “generally remain a step below the other two networks overall,” although both companies have shown improvements and could post a stronger showing in the second half of 2014, according to the report.
Two Tiers of Providers
Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. said they “wouldn’t last a day” without their smartphones, RootMetrics noted in the introduction to its latest report. At the same time, it said that mobile customers are finding it increasingly difficult to choose the best network as service providers upgrade and technology continues to change.
“At the national level, the competition is heating up, and it is an even tighter race than what we saw in the second half of 2013,” the new report stated. In general, however, when it comes to national performance, there are two tiers of providers, with Verizon and AT&T occupying the top tier and Sprint and T-Mobile in the second tier.
The latest performance measures from RootMetrics are based on tests conducted in the 125 largest metropolitan regions of the U.S., across all 50 states and nationwide. Those tests took more than 5.6 million samples across a range of 234,000 miles.
According to the firm, its testing methodology assesses the performance of the four leading wireless network providers “head-to-head” in real-world settings using the same mobile devices currently available to consumers. Tests covered mobile performance while driving, at various outdoor locations and from more than 6,400 indoor locations.
T-Mobile ‘Struggles’ at State Level
Verizon also dominated In performance at the state level, taking the top spot or tying for first in 48 out of 50 states, according to RootMetrics. By comparison, AT&T won or tied in 11 states.
“As was the case in our report from the second half of 2013, T-Mobile once more struggled at the state level," the report noted. “T-Mobile has made no secret that its upgrades are focused first on urban environments, and that prioritization is clear when looking at our state results, which factor in performance in more rural and less densely packed areas. While T-Mobile is making impressive strides at the metro level . . . those gains have not yet translated into a stronger showing at the state and national levels.”
Sprint not only outperformed T-Mobile at the statewide level, but increased its scores from the last report in 2013, RootMetrics noted.