Verizon scoops the best US carrier network title, followed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint

Verizon scoops the best US carrier network title, followed by AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint
Well, that didn't take long. No sooner had the ink dried over T-Mobile's favorite testing entity report that it has America's fastest network, and Verizon counters with its own resident testers from RootMetrics showing the opposite.

You might chalk these habs off to the wonders of free market competition, but the two testing platforms couldn't be more different. While T-Mobile uses the crowdsourced reports of OpenSignal which favor big city downtown congregations, RootMetrics actually drive around the US to measure carrier network performance.

RootMetrics conducts millions of measurement points on off-the-shelf carrier smartphones - "4 million drive tests in all 50 states" this time around -, with hundreds of thousands of miles walked and driven across the US to gauge performance in and out of metropolitan areas.

A mobile network performance subsidiary of IHS, one of the largest research firms globally, RootMetrics has given us a sneak peek of its verdict on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint's speed and reliability report for the first half of the year that will be out later this summer, and so far it's a win for Verizon, 12th time in a row. Here's Verizon's summary of the key findings in the RootMetrics test report:


  • Nationally, Verizon’s network reliability RootScore was 96.4%, tops in the industry

  • We swept all 6 categories tested during the first half of 2018, now have won RootMetrics' overall network performance for 12 consecutive time

  • "Verizon continues state-level dominance, earning far more awards than any other carrier," according to the report. Verizon won or shared 263 State RootScore Awards out of a possible 300. This is the second straight test period Verizon has earned 263 State RootScore Awards, more than twice as many as the number 2 performer (AT&T), 7 times more than the third ranked carrier (T-Mobile) and includes 23 more outright awards than in the second half of 2018

  • In its metro area report measuring performance across 125 of the most populated cities around the country, Verizon earned 672 RootScore awards, the most by any carrier since testing by RootMetrics began

  • Verizon was unbeaten for overall performance in 120 of the 125 markets tested, or 96% of the time, higher than results in the second half of 2018

  • T-Mobile slipped to last place in reliability nationally and at the state level

  • Verizon’s network performed best in 45 of 50 states...T-Mobile and Sprint did not have the best performance in any states


Perhaps the most important observation in today's RootMetrics report is that the gap between Verizon's network and the other US carriers is still growing. Things might change with the advent of a nationwide 5G rollout that gives a flying start to the spectrum frequencies that T-Mobile owns, especially if it merges with Sprint but for now Verizon seems to be the best in overall network performance in the US.

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12 Comments

1. DFranch

Posts: 557; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

AT&T is a close 2nd, and it is cheaper than Verizon. Plus, being a GSM carrier, the phone selection is much better than Verizon.

3. LAgurl

Posts: 116; Member since: Dec 05, 2018

What u talking about all of Verizon phones are gsm capable and besides they offer the same phones , have u walked into an At&t or verizon store lately ? They have all the same phones Verizon actually has better phone selection since it offers phones like the pixel line which At&t doesn't . And unlocked phones ? When it comes to that Verizon has actually been better than At&t . Yes Verizon now accepts unlocked phones as long as their approved for their Network. And they allow all features to work Hd volte calls etc.. At&t doesn't allow VOLTE on unlocked phones on their Network.

4. BuffaloSouce unregistered

There's only a $20 difference between Verizon's starting unlimited plan and AT&T....they both have the same phones with Verizon having a few more exclusives

5. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Nott totally true. The models on their shelves may be similar but if it's not on Verizon's shelves, its not going to work on Verizon. They whitelist phones vs the others who are more blacklist-friendly. I had the HTC 10 - didn't buy it from Verizon and it didn't work. I crowdfunded the Ubik Uno (horrible decision ... and i got my money back) but that didn't work either, Brought them both over to Tmobile to try it out and they were able to connect. Even on my PIxel 2XL - I got the unlocked version but the second i put a VZW sim card in, my verizon, Messages+, Go90, and all that other BS gets downloaded. Verizon sucks. Marginal speed increase is not a reason to be with them. However, my length of history with VZW is a nice strong arm with them so i reluctantly bite the bullet.

8. oldskool50 unregistered

Older phones sold by ATT and VZW, simply didn't have modems that were compatible with each others network. This changed with the galaxy S6 for Samsung phones where I had a VZW phone which I was able to use on ATT and T-Mobile, as I keep a simcard for both for just in case I am in a service area where I may need to use another carriers for service. All iPhone's since the iPhone 5SE on VZW once unlocked will also work on ATT and T-Mobile. However I believe even unlocked however, VZW phones will not work on Sprint. I believe the iPhone is the only phone VZW sells thta if you unlock it it will work on all 4 major carriers while Samsung devices won't work on Sprint. Once Sprint and T-MO merge, that will no longer be an issue.

9. tuminatr

Posts: 1158; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I have used many non Verizon phones on Verizon they do whitelist but only for initial activation once you have an active sim you can pop it in whatever and if its compatible and unlocked it will work. What you are saying may have been true in 2016 when the HTC 10 came out but not anymore. Also my wife has a Pixel 2 xl and I have a Pixel 3 xl and i can say neither instantly downloaded Verizons apps. It does not happed you can get them from the play store if you choose but they did not come preinstalled nor did they download on activation.

2. CDexterWard

Posts: 92; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

I feel like I’ve seen the same graph the past 3 years or so. Do these carriers ever change positions? As much as T Mobile has grown I don’t think it’s going to climb to # 2 soon, and AT&T can never seem to push past Verizon. Sprint is a 3-legged dying horse, so you know, good for them.

11. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

If Sprint is a 3 leg dying horse why are they neck and neck with s**tmobile. Same old koolaid being drank, since I use both Sprints coverage is better. s**tmobile has faster speeds

6. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Verizon called out TMobile directly a few times in that summary (unless it was just the author summarizing). I think someone is feeling a little threatened. also, the graph means nothing to me without labels/a scale.

10. tuminatr

Posts: 1158; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

I read something about the tests that I think is very interesting. Most of these results use end user speed tests and you will see a difference based on the age of equipment. Also, you will see a difference in end user speed tests because of Android vs iPhone percentage on the network. So, speed tests with iPhones are typically slower therefore networks like AT&T that have a high percentage of iPhone around 70% or T-Mobile that has a low percentage of iPhone on its network around 30% will show skewed results. These tests will show you the average experience the average user is having but not necessarily what the network is capable of. For example a T-Mobile fanboy that has the newest OnePlus phone may actually be getting a much better experience than the iPhone 6+ user on AT&T

7. sun0066

Posts: 282; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

Every day there is an article saying sometjy different that was said previously, it depends from where is the wind blowing!

12. Metropolis75

Posts: 197; Member since: Aug 28, 2012

I'm glad I just have my Verizon account and have never had any issues. Knock on wood.

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