Telecom & Wireless

Sprint Has America's Worst Wireless Network

Its CEO of many years fired, its deal to takeover T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) dead, and in the midst of the launch of a new pricing plan, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has one more hurdle to clear. It has the worst performing wireless network in the United States by far.

Sprint has had customer service problems for years, which it largely reversed recently. However, those problems are one reason many customers abandoned Sprint for rivals. If consumers view the quality of its network as poor, it will be in the midst of another cycle of customer and potential customer disappointment.

According to a new study by research firm RootScore, in the first half of 2014, Sprint had a rating of 69.6 for overall performance, behind T-Mobile at 71.5, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) at 79.5 and leader Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) at 81.6. Sprint finished last on the “speed index,” “data performance” and “call performance” measurements, and next to last for “text performance” and “reliability.”

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RootScore cast a very broad net, hitting 6,499 measurement sites, driving 234,175 miles to take measurements and making 5,636,222 total tests. In terms of location, RootScore looks primarily at three types of locations:

National and state

We test data, call, and text performance indoors and while driving in United States Census Places in all 50 states census — census places are used to designate areas within each state where people live.

Metro

We test data, call, and text performance indoors, outdoors, and while driving in the 125 most populous metropolitan markets across the United States, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Airport

We test network data performance within the 50 busiest U.S. airports, as designated by the FAA.

Sprint has been badly beaten by competition for consumers since it merged with Nextel a decade ago. There is no end to that in sight. Management of Softbank, Sprint’s new majority owner, has to ask themselves why they made a deal for what has been, and is today, a lemon.

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