Verizon First, T-Mobile Last in New Wireless Performance Study

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A new study from Rootmetrics has ranked the top four U.S. wireless carriers for the first half of 2017 on a variety of metrics that the company says indicates which wireless networks best respond to customers’ mobile expectations. The short answer: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which was a top scorer on all five specific metrics as well as the overall best performer.

Verizon’s overall score of 94.5 (out of a possible 100) bested AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) which scored 92.9, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) with a score of 87.9 and T-Mobile US Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) with a score of 86.5. Every provider improved its score compared with the first half of last year. The five measures Rootmetrics uses are reliability, speed, data, call and text.

Rootmetrics calculates rankings for the United States as a whole and by state and metropolitan area. The full results are available here.

Here’s what Rootmetrics had to say about each of the four companies in the national ranking.

Verizon
Verizon’s performance in our testing of the United States was outstanding. In our previous two test periods, Verizon earned RootScore Awards outright across all six performance categories at the national level. In the first half of 2017, meanwhile, Verizon won five United States RootScore Awards outright while sharing its sixth with AT&T and Sprint.

AT&T
AT&T’s results at the national level were again strong across all test categories. AT&T earned a share of the United States Text RootScore Award for the first time since the second half of 2015. In the second half of 2016, AT&T shared second place with Sprint in the Text RootScore category, but AT&T’s strong text results in the first half of 2017 propelled the carrier into a first-place tie in this test period. Moreover, AT&T finished second to Verizon in five out of six categories in our testing of the United States.

Sprint
Prior to the first half of 2017, Sprint had never won or shared a United States RootScore Award. In this round of testing, however, Sprint stepped up and earned a share of its first-ever United States RootScore Award, doing so in the Text RootScore category. Sprint improved its rank in the Text RootScore category from a two-way tie for second into a three-way tie for first with Verizon and AT&T in the first half of 2017.

T-Mobile
T-Mobile’s United States RootScore rankings in first-half 2017 testing remained identical to those in the second half of 2016. In fact, T-Mobile’s rankings in all six test categories have remained the same in each of our last six test periods, dating back to the second half of 2014.

Methodology:

To determine which network led the performance race in the first half of 2017, [Rootmetrics’ researchers] drove over 275,000 miles while testing performance on highways and in big cities, small towns, and rural areas across the US. To put that in perspective, consider that the distance from New York City to Los Angeles is approximately 2,800 miles, the circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles, and the moon is about 239,000 miles away. While collecting samples for our national report, our professional testers could have driven from NYC to LA about 99 times, circled the earth over 11 times, or made it all the way to the moon (and then some). All told, we collected approximately 4.7 million test samples while driving and at more than 8,800 indoor locations.