updated 07:50 pm EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Independent tester finds that Verizon beats out all other carriers for first half of 2014
A new study of wireless carriers for the first half emerged today, putting Verizon at the top of the pile in five categories, marking it as the best overall carrier in the United States. Market research firm RootMetrics announced its findings, showing that Verizon was the best carrier in reliability, speed, data performance and call performance.
"Verizon has recaptured the top spot in speed, while AT&T has slipped a little," CEO Bill Moore told CNet. "Overall the companies are neck and neck. When it comes to reliability, AT&T is getting closer to parity with Verizon."
In the process of testing, the firm conducted tests in all 50 states, including 125 of the largest metro areas in the country. More than 6,400 different indoor locations were used during the course of testing. RootMetrics stated that it collected more than 5.6 million samples to come up with the results. The firm said it designed its methods in order to "characterize network performance and illuminate meaning difference in network performance with a high level of statistical significance."
Verizon won five of the categories, beating out AT&T in all but one situation with only small differences in ratings. The rankings are similar to what RootMetrics discovered in the second half of 2013, but with Verizon losing a spot in text performance and gaining a position in speed index.
Verizon took a 4.6 point lead over AT&T with its 75.7 speed index. RootMetrics thinks that the increase is due in part to the company rolling out its XLTE offerings, Verizon's version of the AWS spectrum. The firm believes that Verizon is getting faster, but also admits that the market could change in the next sample. Sprint, which ranked the lowest in performance, received only a 54.2 score in speed.
On top of national score, scores for individual states were also compiled. Verizon ranked the highest in overall performance for almost every state, with AT&T only winning in Alaska and Massachusetts. Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington D.C. and West Virginia were all ties between Verizon and AT&T. For speed, AT&T claimed Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Delaware, Maryland and Virginia were ties between Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile claimed Washington D.C.'s top speeds.
In its findings, RootMetrics reaffirmed the idea that there are two classes of wireless carriers in the United States. Even though AT&T trailed Verizon in almost all aspects, it still did significantly better than T-Mobile or Sprint in all categories. The firm's research showed that AT&T scored almost 10 points higher in overall performance than Sprint, but only eight higher than T-Mobile. However, it was also noted that T-Mobile has seen a clear increase since the last report.