Verizon Again Leads Mobile Carrier Rankings, RootMetrics Finds

AT&T is closing the gap, while Sprint and T-Mobile find strength in their improving networks and metro-area coverage in the United States.

RootMetrics, carrier rankings, mobile performance rankings, mobile carriers, wireless carriers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile

Verizon continues to lead the latest overall, state-by-state and metro-area U.S. mobile carrier network performance rankings for the fourth analysis in a row conducted by independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics.

The research, which covers the first half of 2015, shows Verizon winning the rational performance rankings with five first-place finishes, compared to one for AT&T and none for Sprint and T-Mobile. Verizon also garners 253 wins or ties in state analyses, while AT&T captures 95. Sprint had 25 while T-Mobile had zero.

In an analysis of 125 U.S. metro areas, Verizon won again, with 512 wins or ties, compared to 441 for AT&T. T-Mobile finished strong, with 221, while Sprint had 180, according to the research, which was released Aug. 18.

The rankings are similar to the last report six months ago and to the last four analyses, Julie Dey, a RootMetrics vice president, told eWEEK.

"Verizon winning five of the six national awards has not changed since the last report," said Dey. At the same time, "Sprint has leap-frogged over T-Mobile and they maintained it this time" in the national Rootscore Awards, which rank the big four carriers for mobile performance.

Verizon's Rootscore tally is 94.5 out of 100, followed by AT&T, at 91.8. Sprint comes in at 87.5, followed by T-Mobile, at 82. The rankings are for overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance, call performance and text performance. Verizon won all of the top performance titles, except for text performance, which AT&T claimed, according to the report.

Verizon topped the performance rankings in 47 of the 50 states, handily beating its rivals, said Dey.

"When you look at the 125 metro areas, Verizon and AT&T are still on top, though AT&T moved up on Verizon a bit," she said. "T-Mobile has slid into third place over Sprint" in the metro-area performance results. "We did see significant improvement at the metro level" for both carriers, she explained. "T-Mobile is making great strides in data speeds and performance as a whole."

The results were collected by RootMetrics in the first half of 2015 through 6.1 million cellular call tests in 7,323 indoor locations and across some 237,506 miles of driving using its own testing processes to simulate how consumers use their own mobile devices, according to the company.

The company says it does its testing of mobile network performance 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 for the four major U.S. wireless carriers. By conducting the tests in the same locations for each carrier, RootMetrics says its results are comparable and repeatable, regardless of carrier.

RootMetric's rankings for the four carriers for the first half of 2014 gave Verizon a rating of 81.6 out of 100, followed by AT&T, at 79.5; T-Mobile, at 71.5; and Sprint, at 69.6, according to an earlier eWEEK report.

That compared with overall performance figures from the second half of 2013, when Verizon scored 89.7 out of 100, followed by AT&T, at 86.2; Sprint, at 68.2; and T-Mobile, at 64.3. Those figures were compiled in the second half of 2013 through 4,666,641 cellular call tests in some 6,346 indoor locations and across about 217,768 miles of driving, according to RootMetrics.

Several notable results appeared in the latest research, including that Sprint's improved results show that its network investments are paying off for the company, said Dey. "Sprint rose in call performance at the national level in this report," she said. "What also stands out is how much Verizon continues to stand above the rest of the field, and how they won our No. 1 ranking for the fourth report in a row."