Who’s Got the Best Mobile Network? Here’s the Answer

A new report outlines the pecking order of U.S. mobile networks. How does your carrier rate?

It was a tight race to the finish by Verizon and AT&T, but in the end, Verizon came out on top as the best mobile network in the U.S.

That’s the result of a national mobile performance study by RootMetrics, a Seattle-based mobile analytics firm, which rated the big four mobile networks – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

The State of the Mobile Union report says:

It’s clearly a two-network race when comparing results at the national scale, with Verizon and AT&T head and shoulders above the other networks. … The numbers don’t lie: Verizon owns national bragging rights in our RootScore Awards, sweeping our Overall, Call, Data, and Text categories. … Verizon also finished on top in our Reliability Index, making Verizon the nation’s most reliable network in our national results.

Verizon swept the competition in all but one category – speed. AT&T edged out Verizon as the nation’s fastest network.

How did Sprint and T-Mobile fare? So-so, said the report:

At the national level, our testing showed a large gap between AT&T and Verizon and the other networks. In fact, while less than 4 points separated Verizon and AT&T in our Overall National RootScore results, the next highest network [Sprint] was a full 18 points lower.

It can be difficult, at best, to navigate the mobile performance landscape. In a recent press release, RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore said:

There’s a staggering amount of marketing noise out there, making it very easy for consumers to get lost. 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 report includes national, state and metro-level results.

Are you happy with your mobile network? What do you think of the report ratings? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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  • Art Howe

    Not sure how you can conclude Verizon is a “better” network, if ATT is faster.

    Makes no sense.

  • Tiffany

    Sprint let me down so many times, even though I paid big bucks for their service for many years and they tagged extra expenses that I did not agree to EVERY MONTH onto my account. So I switched to T-Mobile, with whom I’ve subscribed for the past NINE years, and they never once let me down or dropped a call. It seems they keep improving in coverage and billing. Getting what’s fair overall and up-to-date is easily facilitated though a representative. I’m sticking with them. Their internet is super fast, and I’m in Riverside, CA!

  • ManoaHi

    Unless you travel a lot, this in formation is largely unimportant. What matters most is which has better coverage where you spend most of your time. Where I work, live and play, AT&T edges out Verizon in speed, coverage . Also, I’m not clear what is covered, there seems to be no score for simultaneous calling AND data. Ok, I’ve just checked RootMetrics and I have confirmed that in my area AT&T is rated higher than Verizon. Currently Sprint is the worst in our area. Our company used to use Sprint, but now we are on Verizon.

    But you might want to check Sprint (as we are planning) in a couple of years. SoftBank of Japan has purchased an 80% stake in Sprint. SoftBank had purchased Vodafone in Japan (UK Vodafone wanted to pull out). SoftBank took that, mainly purchasing frequencies and bandwidth, and grew it from the worst into the best carrier in Japan. Every time I go to Japan, my phone immediately picks up SoftBank. SoftBank is going to leave Sprint as independent but will improve their infrastructure into what looks like it could be at the top. In our area, Sprint doesn’t offer LTE only 4G is on WiMax, Sprint’s current coverages are really poor. One of our offices, completely dead to Sprint, but AT&T and Verizon, full bars. T-mobile not too bad, but still way ahead of Sprint.

    Just prior to switching to Verizon, who gave us a special initial deal, our Sprint Rep was fired. Then we sued Sprint for breach of contract, services promised were not honored. We withdrew the suit when Sprint agreed to let us go without early termination fee and refunded unused portion. I think waiving of the early termination fee that was our goal in filing a suit. Two days later, our corporate phones were changed to Verizon. Before all of this, they slammed all their local customers when they turned off Nextel. We went to a seminar where Sprint released the plans for an extreme upgrade by and SoftBank, had SoftBank not helped Sprint, it looked really bad. But SoftBank has a two year plan. In the mean time, we can’t wait two years. It is a stunning plan and with SoftBank’s funding it will be the most advanced network, with LTE and better coverage and oddly enough an upgrade to Clear’s WiMax. Mr. Son (SoftBank’s CEO and President) grew a publishing business into a Tech force via his close relationships with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. After the purchase of Vodafone Japan, SoftBank got the exclusive on the iPhone. It was as short exclusive, but when the network grew, the iPhone was best on SoftBank. NTT DoCoMo was the force in GSM in Japan, but SoftBank quickly (within 3 years), took the top spot away from NTT DoCoMo. In Japan it makes sense to go with SoftBank if you want/have an iPhone and it is the best network for Android.

  • pennyhammack

    I signed up with GreatCall which is on the Verizon network to get the Jitterbug mobile phone. My connections work fine everywhere except in my office/computer room. There I get mostly static. The agent at GreatCall said she had the same problem so they are aware of it. It’s a minor inconvenience but sometimes I would just like to use my cell phone while sitting at my computer.

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