Yesterday, RootMetrics released its latest report on the performance of U.S. wireless networks. I’d been looking forward to this report. RootMetrics’ drive testing methodology has some advantages over the approaches used by other companies that evaluate network performance.
RootMetrics’ results were generally unsurprising. As with the last report, Verizon was the big winner, followed by AT&T in second place, T-Mobile in third, and Sprint in fourth.
Here are the overall, national scores out of 100 for each of the major networks:
- Verizon – 94.6 points
- AT&T – 93.2 points
- T-Mobile – 86.5 points
- Sprint – 83.2 points
RootMetrics also reports which carriers scored the best on each of its metrics within individual metro areas. Here’s how many metro area awards each carrier won (along with the change in the number of rewards received since the last report):
- Verizon – 660 awards (-12)
- AT&T – 401 awards (+21)
- T-Mobile – 217 awards (-20)
- Sprint – 80 awards (-9)
RootMetrics’ results align with the results of other recent evaluations suggesting aspects of AT&T’s network are becoming more competitive. AT&T fared particularly well in RootMetrics’ latest speed metrics. While Verizon narrowly beat AT&T in the final speed score out of 100 (90.7/100 for Verizon vs. 90.2/100 for AT&T), AT&T narrowly beat Verizon in aggregate median download speed (33.1 Mbps for AT&T vs. 32.7 Mbps for Verizon).
It appears that RootMetrics’ final speed scores are based on something more than median download speed. That may be a good thing: having consistent speeds is arguably much more important than having high average or median speeds. Still, I’m frustrated that I can’t figure out exactly how the final speed scores are derived. RootMetrics continues to be non-transparent about the math underlying its analyses.
A section of the latest report suggests that Verizon may do a particularly good job of avoiding sluggish speeds:
The new report includes details about RootMetrics’ recent tests on 5G networks. I found the 5G results unsurprising, and I’m not going to comment on them further at this time. I think 5G deployments are still in too early a stage for the results to be of much interest.