Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Verizon Leads the Pack Again in RootMetrics' Latest Report

Verizon topped the charts again. This time in network quality, which comes from RootMetrics' 2014 Midyear US National RootScore Report, released just yesterday. T-Mobile has also risen, beating Sprint for third place. According to Bill Moore, CEO for RootMetrics, "Overall the companies are neck and neck. When it comes to reliability, AT&T is getting closer to parity with Verizon."

The report compares network performance for the entire United States, including the 125 largest metro areas. 5.6 million tests were performed across all 50 states -- that includes covering a span of more than 234,000 miles and 6,400 indoor locations. They conducted tests to measure speed, reliability, call, and text messaging quality, among other metrics.  Carriers are then ranked nationally, but RootMetrics also offers insights into performance based on individual states and local communities.

As you can see in the picture above, Verizon led the pack in overall performance, but also in network reliability, network speed, data and call categories -- this goes for state level as well as urban areas. AT&T, which had previously beat Verizon overall for speed, ranked a close second -- both in terms of speed and reliability -- however, they took first for text messaging.

Moore said the biggest change in rankings came from T-Mobile.  With their LTE network ever growing, T-Mobile performed especially well in urban areas, where its service is concentrated. They topped or tied for speed in 32 of 125 metro markets.

Even though Sprint took 4th this time, Moore said it also saw improvement. He says they're still finding their way through a difficult network upgrade. "Sprint is in transition...They have not yet been able to take full advantage of the new Spark network" Moore said. This is work that has been ongoing for over the past year.  Old infrastructure is being taken out and replaced with new equipment. This should make it easier to leverage the three different frequencies of spectrum it's using to build its 4G LTE network. 

Moore noted that the improvements RootMetrics' testing saw in each carrier, and the dynamic nature of the rankings, shows that things are changing quickly in the US wireless market. This is to be expected, he said, as each of the major carriers has been upgrading their networks and adding capacity with more wireless spectrum. He added that the upgrades are happening much faster than anticipated. Just look at Verizon's deployment of the AWS spectrum (what they're calling XLTE) and T-Mobile's deployment of LTE.  It's basically a contest -- anything you can do, I can do better! "These results show that the industry is constantly changing," Moore said. "Every network goes through a build out phase, where performance is high. Then they get some load on the network and it's not as fast."