Verizon is Better in the Beltway


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A new report from RootMetrics by IHS Markit, the standard for mobile performance benchmarking, reveals Verizon continues to lead network performance in Washington, D.C., but AT&T recorded notable improvements in both network speed and data reliability. In the latest 1st Half 2019 Washington, D.C. Metro RootScore Report, Verizon earns awards in every tested category—taking outright wins in overall performance, network reliability and data performance categories, and shared awards for network speed, call and text performance.

Mobile performance plays a critical role in the nation’s capital, where a fast and reliable connection is needed whether at work or on the go. RootMetrics tests included drivetime on the Beltway, within indoor locations and during walking in the dense urban core. Results show generally strong performances from all carriers, with AT&T delivering a significant jump in median download speed.

“Verizon continues to deliver great performance in Washington, D.C., earning at least a share of all mobile performance awards for the third consecutive report,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology at IHS Markit. “However, the data speeds recorded during this round of testing, especially from AT&T, show that competition is heating up. Mobile users in the nation’s capital can lean on a strong mobile network, allowing them to talk, text and post on their smartphones with ease.”

This is the 17th time RootMetrics has tested the mobile networks in Washington, D.C. and issued findings for the metro area. RootScore Reports provide a scientific, independent and consumer-focused assessment of mobile network performance.

Mobile Performance You Can Depend On

Verizon earns the Network Reliability RootScore Award outright for the fourth report in a row. However, the carrier shares the Network Speed RootScore Award with AT&T, after holding the award outright in the first and second halves of 2018. Reliability and speed are crucial to a consistently good mobile experience. The RootMetrics network reliability category is a combination of results from data, call and text tests, while the network speed category examines results across testing of data transfers and web/app tasks.

Data Performance

Delivering the best combination of speed plus reliability, Verizon holds the Data Performance RootScore Award outright for the fourth consecutive report. While AT&T and T-Mobile trailed Verizon slightly in data reliability testing, they did offer notable performances during speed testing. Indeed, AT&T recorded the fastest median download speed at 57.6 Mbps and T-Mobile recorded the fastest median upload speed at 19.7 Mbps. Notably, during outdoor walking tests in the dense urban core of Washington, D.C., AT&T recorded the fastest median download speed at 67.4 Mbps and T-Mobile recorded the fastest median upload speed at 33.3 Mbps. Looking at more than speed alone, the data performance category reflects how well networks deliver a combination of speed and reliability in downloading and uploading data, and downloading files that approximate loading typical webpages or apps.

Call and Text Performance

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile share the award for call performance, which was previously held outright by Verizon. Additionally all four carriers share the Text Performance RootScore Award for the second report in a row. Call performance testing is based on how reliably each network can place and maintain calls, while text performance measures how reliably and quickly consumers can send and receive text messages.

Comprehensive Testing

To evaluate the mobile experience in Washington, D.C., RootMetrics conducted tests across all hours of the day and night from March 8 through March 19. Using smartphones purchased off the shelf at carrier stores, tests were conducted indoors at 125 locations and while driving 2,489 miles. For details about RootMetrics testing, see the methodology section of the RootMetrics website.

About RootMetrics

RootMetrics by IHS Markit is mobile analytics that measures mobile network performance and offers insights into the consumer mobile experience. RootMetrics provides data on mobile network performance to help the networks improve and give consumers an end-to-end look at mobile performance. To ensure that RootMetrics results reflect real-world mobile usage, testing is conducted based on where, when and how consumers use their smartphones most often.

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