It took RootMetrics half a million tests to conclude that T-Mobile's 4G is very close to AT&T, Verizon still top dog

It took RootMetrics half a million tests to conclude that T-Mobile's 4G is very close to AT&T, Verizon still top dog
RootMetrics, the independent carrier network speed analyzers, just outed their comprehensive review for the first half of the year. It took 100, 000 miles traveled, and more than 500, 000 tests taken in key markets to arrive at the clearest picture so far who has the best network.

In a nutshell, Verizon and AT&T are the leaders in download, upload speeds and reliability with their LTE networks, while T-Mobile's HSPA+ 42Mbps undertaking aims to please with download speeds very close to those of AT&T's LTE network, but gives way in terms of average uploads, and reliability.

The second half report will be interesting as well, since Sprint has started its LTE network rollout, and AT&T is catching up to Verizon's comprehensive LTE coverage. Have a look at the report in handy chart form in the slideshow below.

source: RootMetrics




1. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Holy sh*t!!! To me chart 3 of 6 is incredible. 77.4% is at 5Mbps, & 37.9% of that is at 15Mbps. Damn that is FAST! That is why I have Verizon. Yes I pay a little bit more than the others but you do get what you pay for. I get ROCK SOLID coverage & BLAZING 4G LTE literally EVERYWHERE I have been in the U.S. Also if by some strange reason there is no 4G LTE then I have full bars of 3G. I really can't complain with Verizon. They are truly the most complete carrier in the U.S. All I need is either the Samsung Galaxy Note II or the new HTC 5" 1080p phablet (rumor). This holiday season Verizon is where it's at.

15. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Exactly, people like to complain about Verizon's prices, but you're allowed to charge more if you deliver the best service.

17. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That is with EVERYTHING. A BMW will never cost the same as a Kia. A fancy sit down restaurant will never be cheaper than a fast food restaurant. Fine China will never be cheaper than plastic table ware. So of course Verizon will be more than their competition because they are the BEST. +1

26. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

its all relative to where you are. If more than just VZW works well for your life, then they arent the best.. they are just the most expensive. Whoever works in all of "your places" is the best. Nationally, VZW is definitely the best, but ya know what.. who here travels so much to so many different places that they actually need that? It's a mind game that VZW is very good at. I'm still quite happy with my Tmo. 3 lines with 2 of em smartphones for barely 100 bux... and it has a true unlimited option... good luck finding that on other carriers that have speeds worth noting. BTW, I thought Metro had LTE.. what the heck is up with those crap ass speeds.. lol.

24. laheelahee

Posts: 213; Member since: Apr 09, 2012

everything's great except their phone selection... oh, and them taking away the "upgrade" for unlimited data :(

2. g2a5b0e unregistered

I don't expect these graphics to silence T-Mobile's critics, but as a customer of the company for 9 years now, I have always been more than satisfied. I've been using their HSPA+ network for almost 2 years now & I average 5-7 down & 1-2.5 up. I look forward to upgrading to their HSPA+42 network next month & averaging roughly 3 times those speeds.

19. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I get 20-25mbps downloads here in Chicago on my GSIII.

3. Aeires unregistered

Exactly why I left Sprint for T-Mobile, got really tired of my streaming music cutting out. And now T-Mobile has unlimited data too, awesome.

31. archangel9

Posts: 233; Member since: Feb 07, 2010

I just put down my deposit already for Tmobile .BEFORE THE 30TH I will be extricated from Sprint.Better coverage,reliable coverage,true 4g speeds which will be LTE in 2013 as well as Unlimited but most important CUSTOMER SERVICE. It was either Big Red or Tmo and I chose the Magneta guys

4. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

I'd still go for AT&T and T-Mob over Verizon, simply because I prefer GSM units.

11. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Same here

5. osanilevich

Posts: 287; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

if vzw had GSM models and perhaps lightened up on their policies, I'd definitely consider switching


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

you lucky Americans! You have 4G LTE, OMG that's faster than our broadband here (three times faster), we don't have 4G here.....! isn't Verizon Vodafone?

8. dcgore

Posts: 234; Member since: Feb 24, 2012

It's a venture unit of Vodafone and Verizon. If im not mistaken, at one point vodafone has a majority stake on Verizon. Now it's a minority stake.

7. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 599; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I get hspa+ very strong everywhere and only get LTE at work (go figure) but seeing as how on average I'm gettin higher speeds then time warner with speed boost/turbo I'm good with what I have.

9. dcgore

Posts: 234; Member since: Feb 24, 2012

The thing i like about at&t is that i can import any phone i want and make it work with the network. Not so much with Verizon.

10. Gcombs

Posts: 136; Member since: Aug 22, 2011

I guess whatever carrier fits your needs than we all win as customers.

12. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I don't have the ability to read the report, so I'm curious where these tests were done. On my Lumia 900 on AT&T LTE I consistently pull between 35-60 Mbps with low ping rates and minimal packet loss (and I've never lost LTE signal that I've seen, though in fairness I don't go outside my metropolitan area very frequently). That said, it's good to see T-Mobile getting some good results. My next T-Mobile phone will be 42 Mbps capable, as the fastest one I have right now is only 21, and I definitely notice a difference between the Lumia and my T-Mobile phones

13. teerex42

Posts: 221; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

Hell yeah Verizon rules. AT&T should be sued because they constantly claim they have the largest 4G network!! They are not even close but yet they continue to claim that in their commercials!!! i still don't know how they get away with it when they clearly are nowhere near the 4G coverage of Verizon!

16. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

AT&T DOES have the larger network. Verizon's LTE is bigger, but AT&T's LTE and HSPA+ are more numerous and widespread (I think their recent ad said over 2000 or so more 4G sites than Verizon). For a while T-Mobile actually had the largest 4G network

22. teerex42

Posts: 221; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

Not accurate, look at a coverage maps on both companies and the fact that verzion started the whole 4G technology and has a huge head start on the other guys, is nowhere near verzion with 4G

27. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

HSPA+ is considered 4G. It's an extension of GSM 3G, so it was easy for AT&T and T-Mobile to build their HSPA+ networks. Verizon has the most LTE, by far. They don't have the most 4G.

28. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Obviously you can't read. LTE and HSPA+ are 4G. AT&T has both LTE and HSPA+. Verizon only has LTE. Many of AT&T's existing 3G sites had 4G added to them via HSPA+, hence using the existing infrastructure, instead of having to use an all-new one like for LTE builds. Hence AT&T has more total 4G sites than verizon. Are all of those 4G sites LTE? no. Is HSPA+ as fast as verizon LTE? Not typically, but most of AT&T's smartphones come with LTE (and all with HSPA+ now I think), so the gap for when there isn't LTE available is significantly lessened, as with verizon you can only fall back on the CDMA 3G EV_DO Rev, which maxxes out at approximately 2 Mbps, compared to 21Mpbs of HSPA+. TL;DR: be quiet you verizon troll

14. JKING_25

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

I am so thankful I switched to sprint. I love the fact that I drop calls all the time and the fact that my downloads speeds don't go past 1.3 Mbps on a good rare day. Sprint I love you and your unlimited data plan :D

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

T-Mobile now offers a truely unlimited plan and is way cheaper than Sprint. With LTE Advanced next year, T-Mobile will have the fastest days speeds of any carrier.

23. JKING_25

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

I am going to switch soon. I hate to say it but I am waiting to see what the iPhone 5 is about (please don't kill me). If it sucks i.e. is the same ol sh*t I will switch to T-Mobile.

29. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Looks like you'll be switching to T-Mo soon then

18. fervid

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Verizon has no coverage for LTE in my area. ATT LTE is always 3+ Bars and usually 30-60mbps. ATT HSPA("4G") is usually 8-12mbps. 3G and 3.5G ATT is < 2mbps. My only problem with them is they slow down the older 3.5G devices capable of 8-14mbps to get people to buy early 4G capable of the same (Even though early 4G claimed 21mbps on some and never delivered) and new LTE devices.

21. pats4thewin

Posts: 29; Member since: Jul 10, 2012

sprint please dont let LTE be as big of a dissapointment as wimax.

25. JKING_25

Posts: 53; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

I agree, but I hate your name..

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