Rootmetrics is a company that specializes in testing carriers’ networks in ways that evaluate the network’s ability to reliably deliver and make phone calls, text messages and data transfers. Rootmetrics’ methodology is extremely detailed and seems like it can be trusted, especially considering how many data points they use in order to make their ratings.
For their testing, Rootmetrics evaluated the Los Angeles area (as defined by the U.S. Census) by performing a total of 81,230 call, data, and text tests, covering all hours of the day and night. The tests were conducted using our RootScout app running from off-the-shelf, Android-based smartphones purchased from carrier stores. The phones were used as a typical consumer would use them and were not modified with any external antennas or other non-standard equipment. The data provided in this report reflect our findings in the Los Angeles market during testing conducted from May 10?May 17, 2013.
To ensure that their testing aligned with the latest consumer experience and to provide each carrier with the chance to rate as highly as possible, RootMetrics utilizes the most advanced off-the-shelf smartphones available to the public at the time of our testing. When testing the Los Angeles area, we used the following devices: HTC Droid DNA (Verizon 4G), Samsung Galaxy Note® II (T-Mobile 4G), and the Samsung Galaxy S® III (AT&T 4G and Sprint 4G). I’m a little surprised that Rootmetrics didn’t opt for the HTC One on AT&T and Sprint since both of those were out at the time of testing. However, the One is admittedly not as prolific as the Galaxy S3 has been.
Looking at the results, it appears that Verizon won two of three categories and won best overall. Verizon performed best in call coverage and quality as well as data coverage and speed. The gap between data appeared to be the greatest of all the tests, as Verizon beat AT&T by 4 points while only beating T-Mobile by only 2 points in the call test. The texting test was almost a dead heat, but some factors led to T-Mobile beating all of the other carriers. The interesting part is that according to Rootmetrics, Verizon has been the overall winner of all of their past 4 evaluations of the LA network, including this one.
For those curious, Sprint finished dead last in all of our testing. So, if you’re on Sprint in the LA Area, you probably should consider switching to ANY carrier and it will be an improvement. Sprint has been dead last in the past three evaluations of the Los Angeles cellular market, including the test last March as well as in 2012. Only in 2011 did they not come in dead last in all of their other tests. What has likely happened is that all of their competitors have improved while they have remained stagnant, even further validating the need for Softbank’s acquisition of Sprint to finally go through so that the company can start fixing their network. After all, what use is ‘truly unlimited’ if you can’t actually use it at all?
We will actually have a story coming online shortly that will detail some of the steps that Verizon has taken in other markets to obtain even higher levels of quality in certain markets. One good example is the San Diego market, where we reside, where Verizon recently also won out by a hair against AT&T.