Tutela has just released a new study, showing how the four US carriers stack up across the US. Verizon came out on top for "consistent quality" with a 78.1-percent in urban areas. T-Mobile came in second at 76.5-percent, AT&T came in third with 60-percent and Sprint fourth with 53.7-percent. Tutela explains that these tests use five key performance indicators that show the minimum network requirements needed to run the most popular apps.
Looking at the map below, Verizon performed well in the majority of the US. This is not a surprise, and coincides with the other tests that are out there and what Verizon has repeatedly said in commercials and such. In 31 states, Verizon had the most consistent connection, while T-Mobile had it in 14 states. Only three states: Kentucky, South Carolina and Alabama, had two or more carriers tie, which was all 77-percent. It's a bit interesting that Illinois had the highest percentage for consistency, out of the entire country, at 85-percent. District of Columbia had the second highest at 84-percent. It also appears that most of the States with bigger cities, are above 80-percent and have the higher percentages. Illinois for one, since it has Chicago. But also New York at 80-percent, California at 83-percent and Florida at 80-percent. There are, surprisingly, a few states that are in the 60s, like Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Those are in less populated states and there aren't as many big cities like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and such in there. So carriers don't usually spend as much time upgrading their networks in those cities. Hawaii and Alaska are not shown here, so it's hard to say which carrier did the best there. But in Alaska, it was likely a pretty low score.
Background: Tutela is a pretty big company, based in Canada, that is an independent mobile quality measurement company, that has analyzed over 240 billion measurements. This includes over 11 million mobile network speed tests, and 300 million latency tests across the US. The results mentioned above are all from tests that were taken between January 1 and August 31 this year. Tutela tests mobile networks a bit differently from the other companies out there testing out US wireless carriers. Tutela has a way to test the network that would represent day-to-day usage and experience for real-world users. This is why the stats above are all about consistency and not who had the highest speeds where. Tutela is able to simulate typical user mobile behavior, which includes accessing websites, downloading and sending images and more. This is opposed to just running a simple speed test, which is not how most people use their phones daily. Regarding this, Tom Luke, the vice president at Tutela stated that "while top speeds are indicative of a strong network, we believe reliable network quality is equally, if not more important. Our new consistent quality score gives a real-world view of true mobile experience, allowing operators to invest in areas that are going to have the biggest impact for customers.
This new way of testing out networks is actually pretty important. As it is going to be more indicative of what mobile users would experience when using their phones for opening apps and such. It's much better than just traveling around and taking a speed test on each phone, doing a test phone call and so forth. Which is how RootMetrics does its tests. It is also better than just collecting speed tests from users that open their Speedtest.net app and run a test. As that is not done all the time, and it also shows the network at full speed, which is not something you will need for opening Facebook or uploading to Instagram. And that's how Ookla's tests are performed. Sure it's nice to brag about having the fastest speeds, but what matters is the consistency of using these apps on your smartphone.
Impact: This test likely isn't going to have much of an impact on customers, nor people looking to jump ship to a new carrier. Seeing as people only care about how the network performs in their area, and not the rest of the country, or even the rest of the state. But it is good to see that Verizon's investments in its network has really paid off. Verizon has been spending a boatload of cash on its 4G LTE network and now its 5G that just launched earlier this month. It's always good to see that your investments are paying off, especially for a wireless carrier, seeing as that is what keeps you in business. If you don't invest in your network and improve the network, customers will leave, and thus your revenue (and more importantly your profit) will take a huge hit.
What was also interesting here is how many States T-Mobile took. Most people like to discredit all the work T-Mobile has put into its network over the past few years, under the leadership of John Legere, but this maps shows just how far T-Mobile has come. Just a few percentage points below Verizon, and took the highest consistency quality percentage in 14 States. Meanwhile AT&T and Sprint took none (by themselves). Which for Sprint, it may not be all that surprising, but for AT&T it is. And this is because AT&T is the second biggest carrier in the country. So it's a bit surprising to see their consistency quality score that low, around 60-percent for the nation as a whole. This means that AT&T has quite a bit of work to do. And it has been working on its 5G network in the past year or so – it'll be launching in the next few weeks, actually. But for now, AT&T cannot afford to forget about its 4G LTE network, as people will be using that network for years to come, even after 5G is rolled out. If you are interested in the full report from Tutela, to see how your State and/or carrier stacks up, just hit the link below.