T-Mobile’s LTE network one of the fastest and most reliable in Los Angeles and Phoenix

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RootMetrics regularly releases reports from a number of locations across the U.S. More often than not, it’s a major metro area, and the two most recent are Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA. As with many reports in recent times, T-Mobile’s network is holding up really well. It placed joint first in Phoenix and second place in Los Angeles.

Phoenix, Arizona
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For the second consecutive time, T-Mobile and AT&T ended up sharing first place overall with scores of 97.5 and 97.2 respectively. Verizon was just behind them with a score of 96.9 and Sprint was in fourth place with 89.4.

Interestingly, almost all of the networks have improved since the previous test in March 2014. T-Mobile’s median upload speed increased from 6.6 Mbps to 8.9 Mbps. Its median download speed stands at 12.4 Mbps, which was enough to award first place in the Speed Index to T-Mobile. The carrier also finished first (tied with the big two) in the Reliability Index.

Los Angeles, California
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It was a slightly different story in Los Angeles, where Verizon was top dog. It finished with an overall RootScore of 97.4, having taken both reliability and speed in to consideration. Having performed a total of 78,635 tests in LA, RootMetrics decided that T-Mo and AT&T couldn’t be separated. Both carriers finished in second place.

With that said, T-Mobile didn’t finish outside the top two in any of the company’s indices. Whether it was data, text or call performance, T-Mo was in 1st or 2nd, helped by an impressive median upload speed of 17.5 Mbps.

You can read a more in-depth summary of results over at RootMetrics’ site. You’ll find the Los Angeles report here and the Phoenix report here.

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  • Acdc1a

    For those of us who travel, this is not news. What used to be a painful experience for us T-Mobile customers is now a joy. The majority of major cities I visit have excellent coverage and speed. It’s nice they are putting so much into the network. To think they were just weeks away from losing my business in 2012 is funny now.

  • Joe

    When they will have all of the 700 mhz deployed they will definitely be number one.

    • Jose Mendoza

      Now if people would read this user’s comment, people would definitely understand me about why T-Mobile will be #1 or 2 in a few years

    • Mr Paul

      Uhm, no. Way too many holes in their coverage. Keep up the enthusiasm, though.

      • Joe

        That’s the point of the 700 mhz to fill in the holes in there network. And to fix the building penetration problem that they have.

        • Mr Paul

          Take a look at the map and where they can’t even deploy 700MHz. Also, they don’t own spectrum in all the places they don’t even have towers…

        • Joe

          Yes I understand that but If they were able to go from 0 pops lte to 265 pops lte in just 2 years I think that In another 2 years they will be able to get alot more 700 mhz licenses and deploy on them.

        • Mr Paul

          Yes, they can “technically” cover a good number of pops if they converted every last tower to LTE, but it does nothing about the gaping holes in their coverage, and most of the 700MHz is going to areas that barely had problems to begin with.

      • Hector Arteaga

        When they add LTE to the existing Edge, their coverage will be very good. Building penetration will still be questionable however. In any case, T-Mobile has LTE through almost all of the I40 from Little Rock AK to Nashville TN. That’s a huge improvement over just a year ago.

        • Andrewjones189

          Except some parts of West little Rock out in Chenal Valley there are some hit or miss spots

  • k

    Coverage coverage coverage

    • g2a5b0e

      Thanks for the very insightful comment. You’ve added so much to the conversation.

      • k

        You’re welcome. Love your comment on my comment. Peace to you.

      • guidomus_maximus

        Actually I appreciate the brevity. At least he didn’t go on and on trying to convince us to switch to cricket or att

  • Jamie

    Once all of their low band spectrum is implemented, ATT and Verizon better really watch out. I can’t wait for that!

    • Mr Paul

      Lol. By the time T-Mobile has significant low-band, AT&T and Verizon will have significant PCS and AWS. Oh well.

      • tony

        Go back to your crappy spark sprint. You cant even talk amd surf with spark. O how does it feel to have sprint rip off new customers from verizon and at&t? 1 NEW GUY FROM AT&T GOT SCAMMED by the half off bill from sprint 4 lines. And all 4 lines etf got denied. And his bill $500 then $1000. Thats just one person. Sprint is getting sued for ripping off customers.tony

        • Mr Paul

          Lol. Did you read through my old comments to figure out how to troll me? 2/10 keep trying

        • Hector Arteaga

          They all are being investigated for this.

  • Jesslyn Hendrix

    I’ve worked downtown for 16 years and while I generally love Tmo service in the LA area, they need to work on bandwidth downtown

    • Omar Boyer

      Agree i live in los angeles i can tell u many places tmobile suffers one is dwtwn La,mcarthur park, some parts of east la, glendale , west covina tmobile is deff not the most reliable here in LA ohhh forgot Santa monica been to the Santa monica pier ?try loading a webpage ? Usually data craps out there bad . Att works just fine in those places so does verizon. Sprint not so much .

      • Evan Anderson

        I was recently in LA for vacation and visited downtown as well as Santa Monica pier. Sprint actually did really well at Santa Monica pier because there was band 41 available. I was able to pull 30+ most of the time. Downtown is pretty decent but it does have its band 41 dead spots where data doea slow to a crawl.

        • Hector Arteaga

          Sprint was really good for me in Phoenix where B41 was available as well, but not the best when it wasn’t.

      • Dylan Rodriguez

        In West Co T-Mobile is great for me. What phone do you have?

  • Ashton3002

    They are the fastest but not the most reliable. Still AT&T and Verizon. The report says it itself. And I travel all over LA. for my job. And the report is about right. Fastest but not most reliable.

    • tony

      Uh noT reliable? That award goes to sprint.

  • Ordeith

    I haven’t been to phoenix lately but I have been to LA. And that experience compared to this report has me questioning the credibility of RootMetrics for the first time.

    • justin

      Went to LA & Orange county last week. Cell service in Disneyland and Citadel Outlets was HORRIBLE. LTE was worse than edge.

      • Hector Arteaga

        Sounds like the tower was overloaded. I experienced this a couple of times at Disneyland with Verizon in the past.

        • Mr Paul

          Yeah, Verizon’s towers are more overloaded than any other carrier besides Sprint and a lot of T-Mobile’s “broken-in” LTE like in many areas in Florida. Almost always Verizon’s 3G is faster than LTE for me. That’s a big advantage of AT&T is I virtually never experience loaded towers. I can speedtest at 6am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm and 1 am, etc., and see negligible speed or latency differences anywhere.

    • Mr Paul

      Yeah and now RootMetrics decides to pull a half a dozen markets due to “an unusual and transitory blocked call issue that impacted multiple networks”. I’m disappointing, because they were a great service. Now they seem to be selling out and loosing their touch. I had to e-mail them and ask them to put MAPS of the areas the tested for a market because I wanted to see WHERE they tested, lol…

  • Guest

    I have found the T-Mobile network in Scottsdale, N Phoenix, & Paradise Valley to be super reliable. Consistent speed tests of about 40 Mbps down and a ping lower than our Cox broadband connection. However, a little outside of the urban areas like up in Cave Creek/Care Free, I frequently drop down to H+ but still fast. Wish they would upgrade interstate 10 between PHX and Indio, CA to LTE, but even AT&T has Edge only along some of this route.

  • Kirk392

    Was at lunch on Tuesday in Chandler AZ when we were discussing speed. T-Mobile was about 15.5 down , 12.5 up, with Verizon being around 10. Sprint couldn’t even download the speedtest app :)

  • Analog Spirit

    I’m in the L.A. area too and so far I’m pretty happy with T-Mobile’s service, having switched from AT&T almost a year ago. T-Mo’s 3G is faster than AT&T’s 4G (LTE) in some places, which is pretty impressive. And T-Mo’s LTE coverage and speeds have been pretty solid around where I live.

    My only problem with T-Mo has been the lack of signal penetration inside most buildings. This is becoming a big problem for me at work. Having to go outside the building just to make a call or send a text is getting old fast. I never had this problem on AT&T. I just couldn’t justify paying AT&T almost $100 a month just for ONE phone line, which was a rip-off, and it was the main reason I switched to T-Mobile.

    So I’m really hoping they get the channel 51 issue sorted out soon, because as much as I love my $70 “unlimited everything” T-Mo plan, I’m not sure if I want to wait another year or more for them to finally get that band 12 working here. Living in one of the channel 51 exclusion zones really sucks.

    • Mr Paul

      You have a good plan. Unlimited from T-Mobile for me would be the 80 dollar plan, and would cost me 93 dollars after tax. Not accusing you, but I was into speed trolling when I had T-Mobile and would beat Verizon users, but I got over that nonsense. If I have at least 6 down and 3 up, I’m more than happy and can do everything I need. No sense in having faster speeds than I even need in 90% less areas. Not to mention, sometimes AT&T’s little old 700Mhz can really blaze and get you up to 50 down and 20 up. Once they get PCS/AWS going, it will make a huge difference for people stuck between T-Mobile’s speeds and AT&T’s reliability and consistent coverage.

      • Analog Spirit

        Yeah, up/down speeds aren’t the issue for me, as both AT&T and T-Mo have pretty damn fast LTE in my area (and sometimes T-Mo’s 3G is faster than AT&T’s 4G, depending on how congested their network is).

        My only real issue with T-Mobile’s network is the lack of signal penetration inside most buildings. If it’s going to take another year and a half (or more) to get this whole Ch. 51 exclusion zone issue sorted out, then I don’t want to wait that long and I may have to look at other options.

        • Mr Paul

          Yeah if that’s the case, you might want to consider AT&T then, maybe Cricket or GoPhone, so you can get a full cell experience without slaving to WiFi while you wait. Cricket’s great if you don’t care about 8 down and in my experience unthrottled ups. Only disadvantage is if you hit a 3G spot, you get 4 down with H+ and that’s a little rough if you want to stream video.

          Where channel 51 is conflicting is in a ton of important areas, and even if they sort them out by say February or March, it will still not make a difference for pretty much the rest of year because they’ll have to wait for them to move, and then start to build. It’s not like I don’t wish T-Mobile wasn’t an option for me, it’s just that I know for a fact even if they converted all their towers to LTE and then build another dozen towers to fill in the holes, I’d still have to deal with that PCS penetration issue crap and that’s exactly why I also wouldn’t use Sprint without B26.

        • Analog Spirit

          I just can’t stomach the thought of going back to the old “Death Star” (AT&T) after having had this unlimited T-Mobile plan for the past year that I like so much. I don’t want to get ripped off by them (again). On the other hand, the company I work for still has a 22% corporate discount with them, so that might compensate for it somewhat.

          So I’ve been looking at MVNOs that run on their network, like Cricket, Straight Talk, that sort of thing. So far I’ve yet to find a plan of theirs that really works for me. But I’m weighing the pros and cons of all of them, trying to decide which one to go with.

          At this point I think I’m leaning more toward Cricket as their prices and overall value seem comparable to T-Mobile’s and their service is pretty strong in my area. But I’m open to suggestions.

          Are any of AT&T’s MVNOs any good, and are they at least comparable in service to regular AT&T? I’ve never used any of them before so I have no idea. I’m trying to save money, but I also wouldn’t mind spending a little more per month if it means getting overall better speed, value, and quality of service.

        • Mr Paul

          You are not dealing with “evil AT&T” when you use an AT&T MVNO. AT&T’s MVNO’s data gets routed through proxies, that’s the only stipulation. That’s how they throttle accordingly and give you second priority if a tower gets overloaded. ALL MVNOs do this. Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon.

          You will only get your company discount with postpaid AT&T. But you might want to use a prepaid carrier to try them unless you want to dive in.

          The service you will receive with an AT&T MVNO save data is IDENTICAL. The only thing with data is you get capped on Cricket and MVNOs probably won’t get you the 50-70 AT&T can offer. Usually you get 15-30 instead, GoPhone does not throttle whatsoever. I always get data, I always get calls, texts take a maximum of 2-3 seconds to send, etc.

          AT&T is not like Verizon. They don’t sell your data to the government, they don’t charge you to tether, they don’t charge you to use Visual Voicemail, they don’t throttle YouTube or this or that (nor do AT&T MVNOs unless people find one that does unlike Sprint’s Boost/Virgin, the ones I list don’t to my knowledge), and they don’t care what you do. I even tether on Cricket using Android’s built-in tethering, and they’ve never bothered me. Just don’t abuse anything and they’ll never know or care.

          Cricket works flawlessly. But, the cap is 8 megabits down for LTE, and a meh 4 megabits down for H+. They do not charge overages, nor cut your data; they throttle the same as T-Mobile if you go over. Uploads are NOT throttled when you go over; this helps. Visual voicemail only works with Android. There is nothing sleazy or “AT&Tish” about Cricket. WYSIWYG; you won’t even have to know you’re on AT&T as your phone will say Cricket.

          GoPhone also works flawlessly, but the data is lower, with the most from a regular plan being 2.5GB. You get full LTE speeds, and no overages or data cutting, but throttling when you go over.

          The best overall deal I’ve seen is Cricket. I do not know how much data you use. If you are okay with 2.5GB, your choices are AT&T GoPhone or Consumer cellular (normally for old people with AARP, apparently has little to no cap) . AT&T Cricket or Straight Talk have 3GB. For Straight Talk, they have either a high cap (15+) or none, but I don’t know the H+ cap, however their “unlimited” plan is 3GB.

          If you need more data, and can live with 10GB, your only choice is Cricket but at the expensive of the capping. The capping has never hindered anything I’ve done.

          Any other MVNO I know nothing about. I suggest you stick to Cricket, GoPhone, Straight Talk.

          AT&T is nothing to sweat. There is no fanboyism, just service. You can try your choice for a month, and then go right back to T-Mobile if you have any doubts or don’t like anything. Just don’t avoid it because it’s AT&T. At any rate, good luck.

        • Analog Spirit

          Thanks a lot, that’s exactly the kind of detailed info I was after and it’s really helpful.

          I was with AT&T for several years before switching to T-Mobile last year, so I know their network is pretty solid (arguably the best) in my area. So I never had any problems with with AT&T’s service. I stayed off contract too and went SIM-only. I just got tired of paying almost $100 a month just for one line and capped data, and then getting automatically charged another $10 if I went over. But I’ve been away from AT&T for a while and they may have changed since then.

          I don’t know what 50/70 is; can you elaborate a bit on that?

          I didn’t know that AT&T don’t charge you to tether anymore; last time I was with them, they did. Again, things may have changed a lot since then. This is important to me as I like being able to tether if needed (tethering on T-Mo has come in really handy at times).

          Based on my usage history, I would probably use about 3 GB a month, give or take, so I’d like to have at least that amount per month. I’ve looked at Consumer Cellular and GoPhone and they’re OK but I think I’d need a little more data than 2.5 GB. So now I think I’m leaning more toward Cricket.

          My iPhone 6 is unlocked, so it wouldn’t be a problem for me to just swap SIMs and use whichever carrier or MVNO I want to.

          I’ll be looking into all those options more closely now. Thanks again. Much appreciated.

        • Mr Paul

          All speeds I mention were in megabits, sorry for not clarifying. I didn’t speak of ups I don’t think. I meant 50/70 down, and you can see from 5-15 up on AT&T usually as a top uncapped. And although not 100% sure you can get like 15-30 down from MVNOs except for Cricket. No problem.

        • Analog Spirit

          Wow, 50-70 down is more than I’ve ever seen anywhere. I do remember getting like 20-30 down on AT&T’s LTE before, which is plenty fast enough for me. On T-Mobile it’s been usually like around 10-20 down (30-40 in certain areas), which is still plenty and I haven’t really noticed a difference. Thanks for clarifying.

        • Mr Paul

          Yeah. I average 15-20 down with AT&T (my area has horrible cell coverage from all 4, I averaged 5-6 on Verizon and 1-2 on bad days, and I averaged 1 down with T-Mobile and 5-7 in most of their LTE areas), but they can blaze and get way faster than people will ever admit or report:

          http://youtu.be/YkqiWTmgkwk?t=2m22s
          http://youtu.be/CQZ0EU1j9II?t=1m5s
          http://youtu.be/YIbyul0xtAU?t=31s
          http://youtu.be/MTtR40BlAjU?t=40s

  • xxdrizzyxx

    I work at a Amazon fulfillment center in Phoenix but the coverage there is really bad. 1 bar or no bars of LTE & 2 bars of hspa that I can’t load anything on…

  • Dina

    Ok so what’s all this mean? I have TMO and I seem to lose connetivity all the time if I’m on the road or esp if I”m in hotels. Have been to Tucson 3 times this year, Vegas twice, and CA twice, and TMO doenst have ANY service when driving or in buildings. Thinking about switching to ATT with the new deal I was offered on DTV. Would love some insight. I dont care about speed as much as I care about actually being able to use my freaking phone. Thanks.