RootMetrics Breaks Down Real-World Cellular Service Performance

One of the burning questions facing consumers in this modern world is which cellular data/voice carrier is best for me? This is a question not even thought of a few decades ago. Fortunately, there are hardworking statistics geeks like the folks at RootMetrics that have done what they deem is the “most comprehensive mobile performance study ever undertaken” to give us some real-world results based empirical data. There’s a ton of data presented in easy to understand graphics that can be filtered down to city levels and shows comparisons between the major service providers.


On a national (U.S.) level, Verizon is the overall leader with also the best national reliability and AT&T is the fastest overall network (contrary to some T-Mobile commercials). If you drill down to specific regions or cities, the top providers vary but more often than not, Verizon and AT&T top the ratings. If you are thinking of switching carriers or even signing up for new service, this study should be immensely helpful to see which may be the best for you. Don’t forget to check areas that you may travel to frequently!


  • SBrowning

    As a Sprint user who works in the middle of Houston, TX I can attest that their speeds are crap. Half the time I don’t have enough speed to update a simple app from the Play Store. Sometimes iHeartRadio has issues because the speed is so slow. Why do you keep it you ask. Simple, unlimited data. Sure it’s not very good data but at least I don’t have to worry about hitting some BS cap that’s imposed for no real reason. Hopefully after Google brings fiber to all of us they will start setting up towers and the likes of AT&T, Verizon, etc can disappear.

  • basroil

    That “study” is flawed… They forgot to use population weighting. Verizon has a lot of low end spectrum that covers large distance, but most of that is entirely useless because nobody will use it. Tmobile/sprint have less coverage in the middle of nowhere, but make up for it by having some amazing coverage in the cities.

    • Robert Hupp

      As someone who lives in the middle of nowhere, I appreciate the fact that Verizon has good, high speed data coverage regardless of where on their system I may be. Being able to use your phone reliably when driving from point A to point B through miles of nothing is VERY useful.