Market Overview

RootMetrics® Releases New Assessment of Mobile Performance Across the US: Verizon Shines on the National Stage While T-Mobile Speeds Up at the Metro Level


RootMetrics® Releases New Assessment of Mobile Performance Across the US: Verizon Shines on the National Stage While T-Mobile Speeds Up at the Metro Level

-Verizon sweeps mobile performance awards at the national level, including the carrier's tenth straight outright win for overall performance

-AT&T remains a strong competitor at the national level, sharing the Text Performance RootScore® Award with Verizon for the third consecutive report

-Sprint showcases data speed and reliability improvements at the metro level

-T-Mobile heats up the mobile competition across U.S. metros due to lightning-fast speeds while also increasing its state-level awards

PR Newswire

BELLEVUE, Wash., July 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- RootMetrics by IHS Markit, the gold standard for mobile performance benchmarking, today announces the release of its first half 2018 Review of Mobile Network Performance in the US, providing the most comprehensive and accurate picture of mobile network performance across the country. This is the tenth time RootMetrics issues its nationwide results, including a breakdown of network performance across all 50 states and the 125 most populated metropolitan areas. This latest report combines scientifically-based data with real-world mobile performance insights to offer consumers a completely independent view of each carrier's performance where they live, work, and play.

RootMetrics logo (PRNewsfoto/RootMetrics)

During the first half of 2018, RootMetrics scouters drove 227,689 miles, visited 8,068 indoor locations, and conducted nearly four million tests to statistically cover 100 percent of the US population. All tests were conducted using unmodified, off-the-shelf phones purchased from carrier stores.

Performance at the national level

When it comes to mobile performance at the national level, Verizon continues to lead the pack during the first half of 2018, earning its tenth consecutive outright United States Overall RootScore Award. Notably, Verizon takes outright wins across five of the six categories tested, only sharing the award for text performance with AT&T. Meanwhile, AT&T remains a strong competitor at the national level, earning second place in the five remaining categories.

"Today's mobile world is noisy, and consumers are bombarded with carriers claiming they offer the 'best,' 'fastest,' or 'most reliable' service; but mobile performance isn't black-and-white," said Doug King, RootMetrics director. "A top-notch mobile experience for one consumer in downtown Los Angeles may not translate for another in a suburb outside of Indianapolis. The key is in understanding where each mobile network excels – both in terms of geographical location and the aspects of the mobile experience that matter most. RootMetrics is committed to creating completely objective reports that offer an accurate characterization of the consumer mobile experience across the country."

Overall performance scoring is broken down in multiple 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 the operators were able to make a data network connection and then stay connected during data testing. Network speed factors in 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 RootScore categories. Looking at all RootScore categories together offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience.

You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the first half of 2018 at the national level here.

State performance summarized

Verizon continues to lead the mobile performance race at the state level in the first half of 2018, earning 259 awards (outright and shared), which is 10 more than the carrier earned in the previous report. Notably, Verizon's biggest state-level improvement is in the data performance category, where the carrier jumped from 35 to 42 awards. Meanwhile, AT&T increases its state-level awards to 127, as compared to the 119 awards earned in the second half of 2017.

In this latest report, T-Mobile makes measurable strides at the state level, finishing with the third-most awards and doubling its award count since the last round of testing. The carrier's tally of 32 awards marks its highest state-level award total in RootMetrics testing history, with most improvements taking place in the network speed category. However, Sprint sees performance declines in this round of state testing, dropping from 19 awards to 8 in the first half of 2018.

You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the first half of 2018 at the state level here.

Metro performance summarized

Drilling into metro-level testing provides the strongest depiction of mobile experience for consumers where they spend most of their time. According to this new report, which measures performance across six mobile categories in the nation's 125 most populated cities, Verizon earns the most metro-level awards of any carrier, at 602 outright or shared awards out of a possible 750. Verizon continues to excel in U.S. metros with consistently fast speeds, increasing the number of markets in which it delivers a median download speed of at least 20 Mbps from 71 to 106 in the first half of 2018.

However, T-Mobile is heating up the metro-level competition, jumping from 301 awards to 454 during this round of testing. T-Mobile's top-notch network speed is a big reason for this jump, delivering fast median download speeds (20 Mbps or faster) in 101 cities and recording the fastest median download speed of any network at 61.6 Mbps in Flint, MI.

Meanwhile, AT&T dipped from 365 awards in the second half of 2017 to 292 metro-level awards, most likely due to T-Mobile's stark improvements in U.S. cities. However, AT&T continues to deliver strong call and data reliability at the metro level. Sprint also decreased its award count in metro testing, dropping from 147 to 114 awards in the first half of 2018; but Sprint's expanded LTE footprint results in improved data performance across some metro areas.

You can find a full breakdown of mobile network performance during the first half of 2018 at the metro level here.

For details on the RootMetrics testing methodology, visit:

About RootMetrics®
RootMetrics®, by IHS Markit, is mobile analytics that measures mobile network performance and offers insights into the consumer mobile experience. RootMetrics provides data on mobile network performance to help the networks improve and give consumers an end-to-end look at mobile performance. To ensure that RootMetrics testing reflects real-world mobile usage, testing is conducted based on where, when and how consumers use their smartphones most often.

Lori Niquette for RootMetrics by IHS Markit


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