Verizon continued to lead its main three rivals in wireless network performance across the United States during the second half of 2015, according to the latest study by independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics.
The new report, which ranks the big four mobile carriers on network speed, network reliability, data performance, call performance and text performance, was released Feb. 18.
The data, which was collected from more than 3.8 million mobile performance tests in more than 6,600 indoor locations across the nation, showed Verizon winning the national performance rankings with first-place finishes in all five of those categories, with one being a tie for first place with AT&T—for text performance. Verizon also garnered 272 wins or ties in state performance rankings, while AT&T captured 110. Sprint had 36, and T-Mobile had nine.
In an analysis of 125 U.S. metro areas, Verizon won again, with 597 wins or ties, compared with 424 for AT&T. T-Mobile finished with 212, and Sprint had 209, according to the research.
"With smartphones playing such a big role in our everyday lives, we are on a mission to help consumers make better mobile decisions," Julie Dey, vice president of RootMetrics, said in a statement. "As consumer demands shift to more data-intensive activities, mobile users grow increasingly aggravated by lagging YouTube videos or Instagram uploads that take forever. It is no wonder we are seeing competition between the carriers heating up as they work to provide the best mobile performance."
The RootMetrics mobile network performance evaluations are designed to help consumers demystify carrier claims so they can see how their carrier actually performs in real-world uses, according to the company. RootMetrics uses its own testing procedures from a consumer's point of view to provide objective, accurate and unbiased assessments of performance. The RootMetrics testing involves driving and on-location visits in some 125 metropolitan areas where cellular coverage, speed and connection reliability can be evaluated in the same locations for each carrier.
Verizon had the highest U.S. national RootScore overall performance ranking with a score of 94.5 out of 100, compared with a score of 91.3 for AT&T. Sprint came in third with a score of 86, while T-Mobile came in fourth with a score of 80.9.
This was the fifth consecutive time that Verizon had the top overall score, according to RootMetrics. AT&T came in a close second to Verizon in three out of the five categories—network reliability, network speed and data performance—as well in overall performance.
Sprint's performance in the rankings improved in the 2nd half of 2015 by reaching second place in the call performance category, beating AT&T.
"While T-Mobile finished fourth for overall performance, the carrier continues to show steady data and network speed performances at the national level holding onto its third-place titles in both categories," the report stated.
In the national network reliability rankings for the second half of 2015, Verizon had a score of 96, compared with 93.7 for AT&T, 89.9 for Sprint and 81.9 for T-Mobile.
In the network speed rankings, Verizon had a score of 92, compared with 86.8 for AT&T, 84.7 for T-Mobile and 73.1 for Sprint. In data performance, Verizon had a score of 95.9, compared with 93.2 for AT&T, 87.1 for T-Mobile and 83.1 for Sprint.
Call performance rankings placed Verizon first with a score of 92.3, followed by Sprint at 88.7, AT&T at 88 and T-Mobile at 70.9. Text performance rankings were led by Verizon at 97, followed by AT&T with 96.5, Sprint with 95.8 and T-Mobile at 92.2.
In the last RootMetrics report in August 2015, which covered the first half of 2015, Verizon was first in the national performance rankings with five first-place finishes, compared with one for AT&T and none for Sprint and T-Mobile. Verizon also garnered 253 wins or ties in state analyses, while AT&T captured 95. Sprint had 25, while T-Mobile had zero. In the earlier analysis of 125 U.S. metro areas, Verizon won again, with 512 wins or ties, compared with 441 for AT&T. T-Mobile finished strong, with 221, while Sprint had 180, according to the earlier research.