RootMetrics recently published the results of its tests designed to determine the performance of the four major U.S. carriers and according to their findings, Verizon has once again secured the top spot and was followed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint throughout the second half of 2018.
The mobile analytics firm looked at network reliability and speed, data performance, as well as call and text performance to determine which of the four U.S. carriers performs the best and worst across the nation, and gave each carrier a score out of 100 points in each category.
Verizon and AT&T have secured the first and second places in all five areas. T-Mobile got the third place in terms of reliability, speed, and data, but gave up the spot to Sprint in the call and text categories. Overall, Verizon scored highest with 94.4 points out of 100. AT&T secured the second place with an overall score of 92.6 points and was followed by T-Mobile and Sprint with 86.9 and 85.7 points, respectively. This marks Verizon's eleventh consecutive win in overall performance by RootMetrics standards.
The research firm also looked at mobile data performance across the 125 most populated metro areas in the country throughout the second half of 2018 and found that while T-Mobile's median download speeds have remained largely unchanged since the first quarter of 2018, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have managed to increase their performance.
Verizon delivered the fastest median download speeds in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco, and the slowest speeds in Boston and Philadelphia. AT&T's highest data performance was registered in Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, and Washington D.C., but performed poorly in Atlanta, New York, and Seattle. Likewise, Sprint's data transfer rates are at their highest in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, and at their lowest in Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco.
The fastest median download speed in a metro area was achieved by T-Mobile with 57Mbps in Flint, Michigan. Meanwhile, the slowest median download speeds were recorded on Sprint's network with a transfer rate of only 2.8Mbps in Augusta, Georgia. The data tests have been performed outdoors in time periods of high traffic.
RootMetrics acquired all of the data after nearly 3.9 million tests have been performed, with nearly 8,000 indoor locations tested and over 4,000 places visited. The tests have been performed during the day and at night using the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 flagship phones purchased from carrier stores.
As previously reported on several occasions, T-Mobile and Sprint are expected to merge this year, and 5G networking is going to become more prominent throughout 2019. Having said that, it's going to be interesting to see how these major changes will affect the performance of each carrier in the future, and whether Verizon will remain the top carrier in the 5G era.
The network operator already offers 5G technologies in some parts of the United States and recently launched the "Let's 5G!" initiative, allowing customers to decide where the carrier should expand its 5G network next. All the major U.S. carriers aim to achieve nationwide 5G coverage by 2020 but competition is already fierce, with Sprint recently filing a lawsuit against AT&T for mislabeling its 4G network technologies as 5GE.