Wireless carriers continue to be a hot topic and we’re all wondering one thing, who is the best of the best? Verizon has long been #1, but with AT&T and T-Mobile making huge strides forward, it’s had us questioning if they are still on top. There have been tests saying that T-Mobile has taken the crown, and others that said just the opposite, however now RootMetrics has come out with a new study with data that gives us a pretty good idea of what the true answer is.
So first things first, why should you even trust this test? While tests such as OpenSignal uses nothing more than data collected by users of Speedtest.net, which only totals about 180,000 users, RootMetrics’ test consisted of nearly 4,000,000 separate tests from users who drive around the country to perform those tests on each network. These tests are much more accurate since the crowd-sourced tests typically do not include data from users who have bad coverage as they cannot perform those tests.
Ok, so first let’s talk about data, the one thing that most of us use daily on our phones. Odds are in fact you’re reading this article directly from your mobile device over your carriers network. Every carrier here in the States boasts a powerful and fast data network, Verizon and T-Mobile especially, but in their testing RootMetrics found that Verizon took the number one spot here. With a score of 95.9/100 for data performance and 92/100 for network speed, it’s pretty obvious that Verizon has a seriously quick network. AT&T took the second spot in this category with a score of 93.2/100 for data performance and 86.8/100 for network speed. T-Mobile came in third at 87.1/100 and 84.7/100 respectively and Sprint in last with 83.1/100 and 73.1/100.
Next up, let’s talk call performance (all puns intended). Here Verizon won yet again with a 92.3/100 with Sprint following closely behind with 88.7/100. AT&T came in a close third at 88.0/100 while T-Mobile came a bit behind at 70.9/100. One important note however is that T-Mobile’s score is impacted by the fact that the test did not take advantage of T-Mobile’s VoLTE feature since it was not the default calling experience in 2015. However that will change in 2016.
When it came to text messaging, all 4 networks came close all scoring well in the 90s with Verizon in the lead, AT&T just a sliver behind, and Sprint and T-Mobile just barely trailing behind.
Network reliability however is one of the most important portions of this test. It is extremely important to know that the network you are using will be capable of giving you coverage just about anywhere. This is the space in which Verizon has always shined and 2015 was no different. Here the Big Red scored a 96/100 with AT&T coming close behind at 93.7/100. Sprint surprisingly followed in third at 89.9/100 with T-Mobile falling into last place with a score of 81.9/100.
So at the end of the day, Verizon is still on top with AT&T following very closely behind them. However T-Mobile has surprisingly landed at the bottom yet again. As noted in the study, T-Mobile performs best in metro areas rather than on a national level. Since this test covers the entire country, it’s pretty clear why they did so poorly. All 4 carriers have made major improvements since the first half of 2015 and things are only looking better for 2016 with more improvements coming from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, all of whom are already working on 5G coverage.