Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

This is why Verizon gets away with charging customers more money

Updated Mar 5th, 2014 2:04PM EST
Verizon Vs. AT&T Coverage Map

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Verizon has been the one carrier that’s most resisted the T-Mobile-led wireless pricing wars of the past few months and now we can see why. RootMetrics has posted the results of its massive study of wireless voice, SMS and data quality and has found that Verizon is besting its rivals for overall quality in 35 of 50 states and its tied for first place with AT&T in 10 more. This means that Verizon came in either first place or was tied for first place for overall performance in 45 out of 50 states in the U.S.

Nationwide, RootMetrics found that Verizon had the best overall reliability, the best data performance, the best call quality and the best text message performance. The one area where Verizon lagged behind rival AT&T was in terms of average data speeds, although its score was so close to AT&T’s that it could have easily won there as well.

What becomes really clear when looking at RootMetrics’ study, though, is that there’s an enormous gap in network quality between the twin titans of Verizon and AT&T and the smaller players such as Sprint and T-Mobile. According to RootMetrics, John Legere’s scrappy “Uncarrier” has the worst reliability, the worst data performance, the worst call performance and the worst text performance. In fact, the only area where T-Mobile didn’t finish in last place was in wireless data speeds, where it handily beat Sprint’s infamously slow 4G network.

RootMetrics’s huge study is remarkably comprehensive: Not only did the firm go to all 50 states to test wireless services but it also “visited 6,300 indoor locations, and collected more than 4.6 million test samples” as well. The firm’s full press release follows below.

RootMetrics Issues First-ever National RootScore® Report On Consumer Experience of Mobile Carrier Performance

Extensive Performance Study Shows a Tight Race Between Verizon, AT&T in the U.S.

RootMetrics, an independent mobile analytics firm, announced today its National RootScore® Report, a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive report on consumer experience of mobile performance across the United States. While visiting all 50 states, RootMetrics drove nearly 220,000 miles, visited 6,300 indoor locations, and collected more than 4.6 million test samples. The new report provides a statistical characterization of nationwide mobile performance and is, quite simply, the most thorough mobile performance study ever undertaken.

“There’s a staggering amount of marketing noise out there, making it very easy for consumers to get lost,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RootMetrics. “In such a confusing landscape, consumers are in need of clear, unbiased information. And, that’s exactly what we’re providing with our RootScore Report program. We give depth and transparency to how consumers really experience networks to help people make the most informed decisions about their mobile services.”

The national report provides a full breakdown of how each network performed across data, call, and text testing, as well as which network was the most reliable and which was fastest overall. The company’s suite of National, State, Metro and Airport RootScore Reports provides the most holistic, nation-to-neighborhood view of mobile network performance available.

National Report Findings
It’s a tight race between Verizon and AT&T, with the other two networks trailing by a wide margin. Verizon won the Overall Performance RootScore award, which includes reliability and speed assessments across call, data, and text testing. A good Overall RootScore means good overall coverage and a good consumer experience.

National RootScore overall performance rankings:
1 – Verizon (RootScore: 89.7)
2 – AT&T (RootScore: 86.2)
3 – Sprint (RootScore: 68.2)
4 – T-Mobile (RootScore: 64.3)

Good coverage is a combination of reliability and speed. To give consumers a view of these key coverage elements, each RootScore Report also includes a Reliability Index and a Speed index. Based on a combination of results from data, call, and text tests, the Reliability Index evaluates network access and consistency, while the Speed Index evaluates time to task completion across data and text results.

Across the U.S., Verizon ranked highest in network reliability, while AT&T edged ahead of Verizon in network speed.

Reliability Index rankings:
1 – Verizon (Reliability Score: 89.8)
2 – AT&T (Reliability Score: 84.9)
3 – Sprint (Reliability Score: 65.2)
4 – T-Mobile (Reliability Score: 57.1)

Speed Index rankings:
1 – AT&T (Speed Score: 88.7)
2 – Verizon (Speed Score: 88.5)
3 – T-Mobile (Speed Score: 74.3)
4 – Sprint (Speed Score: 65.8)

Data RootScore rankings:
1 – Verizon (RootScore: 87.3)
2 – AT&T (RootScore: 83.9)
3 – Sprint (RootScore: 51.2)
4 – T-Mobile (RootScore: 48.7)

Call RootScore rankings:
1 – Verizon (RootScore: 91.1)
2 – AT&T (RootScore: 86.6)
3 – Sprint (RootScore: 79.6)
4 – T-Mobile (RootScore: 74.1)

Text RootScore rankings:
1 – Verizon (RootScore: 94.7)
2 – AT&T (RootScore: 94.3)
3 – Sprint (RootScore: 92.8)
4 – T-Mobile (RootScore: 90.1)

Looking at the network reliability and speed indices in conjunction with the other RootScore categories offers the most comprehensive look at a typical mobile experience.

For more visit:

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.