T-Mobile ranked as best US network by new report, but US carriers rated below many European operators

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A new report has come out that suggests that T-Mobile has the best network of the big four US carriers. Unfortunately, T-Mo doesn’t rank quite as high in comparison to the other global operators included in the report.

Apteligent and research firm STL Partners have put together a report called the Mobile Network Customer Experience Index, which aims to measure the “app experience” for wireless users based on four metrics: Error Rate, Latency Consistency, Download Speed, and Average Latency.

The top three carriers in the report were Bouygues Telecom, Free, and Orange, all in France, which scored 76, 73, and 70 out of 100. Scrolling down the list we see O2 in the UK, Rogers in Canada, Vodafone in Italy, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, and more. Past the middle is T-Mobile with a score of 45 out of 100, followed by Verizon with 43, AT&T with 37, and Sprint with 33.

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T-Mobile’s Error Rate score was 5 out of 25, one of the lowest in the report, with AT&T getting a 6, Sprint a 5, and Verizon a 4. The Error Rate was measured by looking at the number of requests made with an app that experience an error. The report says that the low Error Rate scores posted by US carriers is surprising given the presence of LTE and Amazon and Google data centers in the US, but it also concedes that an error isn’t always the fault of a carrier, as it could also be an app coding issue or some other problem.

Moving on to Latency Consistency, which measures the proportion of requests made with an app that experience latency greater than 500ms. T-Mo scored a 13 out of 25 here, while Verizon and Sprint got 11 each and AT&T got 10.

Then there’s Download Speed, which is the average speed achieved by customers downloading app instructions and content. Here T-Mo got a 12, Verizon a 14, AT&T an 8 and Sprint a 5.

Finally, the Average Latency is measuring the average time that it takes for a customer to perform an action on their device and then get a response. T-Mobile scored a 14 out of 25 in this category, with Sprint and Verizon scoring 13 and AT&T getting a 12.

We regularly see T-Mobile or Verizon win awards for their network performance in US-focused studies, and they’ve once again topped AT&T and Sprint in this newest report. However, their scores all took quite a hit in the Error Rate portion of this study. The report does mention that errors aren’t always the fault of the carrier, though, so the US carriers may not be totally to blame for their low Error Rate scores in this report.

More details of this report can be seen here.

Via: Reddit, FierceWireless
Source: Mobile Network Customer Experience Index

Tags: , , , ,

  • Willie D

    So Is it correct thinking the higher the numbers the better?

    • VN

      Correct. Higher is supposedly better.

      For the speed differences I think it all depends where they do the testes too.

      • Willie D

        For a hot second there I was thinking, “wait, in this case a higher number could be bad”

        • VN

          Me too, especially when they talk about errors.

        • Fabian Cortez

          It can’t be. Sprint is dead last [again].

      • Durandal_1707

        “For the speed differences I think it all depends where they do the testes too.”

        I don’t think they’d have the balls to do that.

        • VN

          Sorry about that, it’s the path keyboard.

        • Durandal_1707

          On an amusing note, my post had a delayed approval due to the word “b a l l s” triggering a Disqus “needs moderation” filter (and I know it wasn’t because of “t e s t e s”, since I added the quote afterwards in an edit). I bet that’s a lot of fun on sports forums. Just sayin’ :-)

        • VN

          Lol. But the doctors and nurses can talk as dirty as they want.

  • VN

    They should do tests with different range level devices as well: High-end, mid-range and low end. I would like to see how T-Mobile performs with their Coolpad’s.

    • Willie D

      Why bother? The equipment they likely use is a standardized testing device that likely doesn’t take into consideration the OS or chipset of any consumer device, but rather on a raw level how the network performs in each category. Then translates that into an experience that in optimal conditions this is the average of the network – meaning high end devices, or power users or high capacity areas vs low end devices, non-power users, and low capacity areas are averaged out, and this is the score. What your personal experience is with consumer equipment will be similar to these averages, it may be better or worse, but thats the average across the board.

      • VN

        I think so too, but there are many variables that could unfairly put one carrier over the other or not reflect how some devices within the same carrier experience different performances, Carrier Aggregation for example.

        • Rod

          How would that even matter? Plus Tmo Is the only us carrier that supports carrier aggregation.

        • Will

          All the U.S. carriers support carrier aggregation now.

  • GinaDee

    Ah geez. These network comparisons are getting ridiculous. They can be spun a 1000 different ways.

    T-Mobile has areas with great LTE speeds but I wouldn’t call them the “best US network.” That’s quite a stretch of the imagination.

    • S. Ali

      Well you should conduct your own study and present the results. Your personal opinion doesn’t matter here. This study provides us with concrete and objective results. T-Mobile is the best network for most people. People that may live in Nebraska or Iowa aren’t “most” people, they are a small minority of the population.

      • Will

        It’s hardly concrete and objective. There are too many variables and it is relying on the skills of an app developer. So if the developer is not very skilled, then it is possible that it won’t perform well on the network.

        There are just too many variables to call it concrete and objective. It’s also too much of a sales pitch for the company that makes the study.

        • S. Ali

          I agree, but that doesn’t stop Verizon from citing RootMetrics or Sprint citing Neilson for the same reason. Either we have to accept some degree of uncertainty or we must disregard all such tests.

        • Will

          But the difference is that this particular study relies on the skills of lots of different developers on different apps rather than using one team of developers on one app. It’s too many variables for accuracy. I am not saying RootMetrics is that much better but this one is just too up in the air to be accurate.

        • SBacklin

          I saw the “headline” and was like WTF, T-Mobile came out on top? Of course I read the thing and I was like ahhh ok. I was actually kind of taken aback that someone would actually do a study based on apps because of what you said before, you have to rely on coding skills of all the different developers.

        • Fabian Cortez

          or Sprint citing Neilson

          To be clear, Sprint cites Nielsen based upon Sprint’s analysis of Nielsen’s data.

          That in itself is a problem right there.

    • Acdc1a

      Having traveled extensively with someone who has Verizon, everywhere T-Mobile has coverage the speeds are superior. There are some areas however that I’m reading Edge or roaming on AT&T that Verizon had LTE service. The bottom line is if you have good T-Mobile service where you live and work using anyone else is just throwing money away.

      • SBacklin

        That is an excellent way to put it. Good coverage is relative for just about everybody. First and foremost one needs to pick a carrier who works for them or provides them the best value for their needs and lastly, if T-Mobile does both of those things where you live, work and hang out, going with another carrier is truly throwing money away.

    • Spanky

      I completely agree. They are certainly nowhere near the best in terms of coverage.

      • Fabian Cortez

        I completely agree. They are certainly nowhere near the best in terms of coverage.

        Did you read the report and read about what was compared?

        • Spanky

          I skimmed through it quickly. I presume you’re implying that the report stated that T-Mobile has better coverage than the remaining 3 carriers?

        • Fabian Cortez

          I skimmed through it quickly. I presume you’re implying that the report stated that T-Mobile has better coverage than the remaining 3 carriers?

          And that’s why you need to read the report!

          At the very least, you could read the text in the images or Alex Wagner‘s second paragraph…

    • Will

      Agreed. Clearly there is a good B2B model for selling report data (good and bad) to the carriers. It’s web analytics all over again.

  • Richard Roma

    I can see that. While Tmobile may offer value and some speed for America, like most American carriers, it ranks poorly when compared to those ironically socialist types.

    Foreign networks are blazing fast and their pricing, which still include contracts, are cheaper.

    • Johnnola504

      I think having your cellular territory being smaller like France is a great advantage. In the city of Paris there are roughly 11 million ppl. The amount of ppl per square mile is much higher there. It’s easy to adapt your network quicker to changing technologies if you don’t have the size of the US to deal with. I don’t know if this plays a part but when I was in Paris, there were no CDMA carriers just GSM.

      • Mike

        CDMA was abandoned in much of the rest of the world about 15 years ago. A conscious decision by government to adopt one platform that allowed for interchangeability among cell phones (using SIM cards) of their residents.

        • Rod

          The EU abandoned CDMA because the European Council issued a decree officially adopting GSM to make roaming easier across europe and to make it easier to allocate spectrum to mobile carriers since they all used 900/1800mhz GSM

  • vinnyjr

    Having been with every major Carrier and currently a T-Mobile 7yr customer, I’ve never been happier. Live in a large suburb of Boston where many people live, T-Mobile has a stronger signal, much faster data speeds and customer service just keeps getting better. I had a 2nd grandfathered unlimited data plan from Verizon, I recently gave it up, speeds were terrible, constantly dropping to 3G, just ridiculous. No one can change my mind, for me, T-Mobile is far and away the BEST CARRIER. Thank You T-Mobile, Thank You John Legere.

    • Genbu

      I have the same results from switching my family from Verizon to tmobile. Verizon was barely able to get me 2 bars 3g in most areas (no signal in my own house), 15 gb shared data between 4 lines, and cost over 250 (plus random taxes, unexplained charges, and data overage fees). With tmobile, I’ve got full LTE all over socal (I live, work, and go to school between la/glendale to glendora to fontana). No overage fees, no mysterious charges, bunch faster and reliable network and only for 144 for 4 lines (10gb each, along with binge on, that music listening thing, and a data stash of another 20gb rollover data, and great customer service).

      Verizon is overpriced garbage and tmobile is the underdog that’s offering customers everything they could want to save them money without compromising quality. I don’t think I could ever go back

      • vinnyjr

        Glad its working for you. Best part about T-Mobile is the constant improving and adding LTE towers. They just keep getting better.

      • vzwnomore

        i could not agree more, making the switch this weekend.

    • Dakota_Offspring

      I’m jealous. T-Mobile is horrible where I’m at, even with the extended range LTE :( I’m stuck on Verizon until I move

  • Johnnola504

    I didn’t think Verizon had 3G anymore? Thought all spectrum had been switched to LTE?

    • Mike

      They still have EVDO. A tower may have LTE, it doesn’t mean they abandoned EVDO for phones that don’t support LTE nor does having LTE on tower prevent an LTE phone from occasionally falling back to EVDO.

    • On Verizon, your phone will give you a dreaded “1X” over your signal when you hit non-LTE areas.

      • Genbu

        I think it depends on the device. 3g us definitely still a thing, but depending on what device you use, the icon displayed might be different.

        As for 3g vs 1x specifically, those are two completely different types

      • Dakota_Offspring

        I’ve only seen 1x once and that was when I was in the hospital and nobody seemed to have service regardless of carrier. Otherwise, in the more rural areas of ND and Northern Minnesota I’ve only dropped down to 3G once for less than a minute

    • Dakota_Offspring

      Verizon mentioned a while ago they plan on shutting down their 3G network by 2020.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    When will Verizon admit they aren’t worth the money anymore…. maybe 10 years ago but now nah

  • Bryck

    Lol. Sprint didn’t even make the intrnational list.

    • Rob H.

      They did, they are 4th last. They sure enjoy that fourth position. Sprint still sucks where I work. It’s TMo and VZW running away with it in my area.

  • VN

    1 This report and the tests it represents were only to determine consumer app experience by measuring application requests.

    2. It only covers 7 countries and 27 networks.

    3. It’s mostly based on raw app data provided by a third party.

    4. It was done on the Q4 of 2015. Who knows if before or after the big T-Mobile outage and when the congestion problems started.

    5. It doesn’t measure coverage and I don’t think it conpensates to the carriers that have coverage with slow data to those that don’t have coverage at all. Meaning, you could do better in the tests if you have good speeds and performance where you have coverage but that coverage only covers the big cities.

    • Fabian Cortez

      1 This report and the tests it represents were only to determine consumer app experience by measuring application requests.

      So?

      2. It only covers 7 countries and 27 networks.

      So?

      3. It’s mostly based on raw app data provided by a third party.

      So?

      4. It was done on the Q4 of 2015. Who knows if before or after the big T-Mobile outage and when the congestion problems started.

      The “big T-Mobile outage” occurred this year and “congestion problems started” well over a year ago.

      5. It doesn’t measure coverage and I don’t think it conpensates to the carriers that have coverage with slow data to those that don’t have coverage at all. Meaning, you could do better in the tests if you have good speeds and performance where you have coverage but that coverage only covers the big cities.

      So?

      Their four categories of measurement are quite clear and were spelled out by Alex Wagner in this article, if you bothered to read it. Here, I’ll quote them for you:

      Apteligent and research firm STL Partners have put together a report called the Mobile Network Customer Experience Index, which aims to measure the “app experience” for wireless users based on four metrics: Error Rate, Latency Consistency, Download Speed, and Average Latency.

      Clearly, this has nothing to do with measuring coverage. These are averages so if coverage exists “with slow data to those that don’t have coverage at all,” it will definitely be reflected in the results.

      Proof of this is Sprint’s score of 5-out-of-10 as it relates to speed.

      • VN

        Stop trolling or troll someone else. Please.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Please be original in name and comments. ;)

        • VN

          Stop trolling me. Stop bothering me. I have issues. Please stop. Now.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Stop trolling me. Stop bothering me. I have issues. Please stop. Now.

          VN, you are as unoriginal as your name and use of my reply.

          I’m sure vinnyjr feels great that you’ve been trolling him and anyone else.

        • VN

          Just stop replying me. Your obsession with me is unhealthy. Go troll someone else. Please.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Just stop replying me. Your obsession with me is unhealthy. Go troll someone else. Please.

          More evidence of your supertroll status VN.

          You’re not even original at this point.

        • VN

          Leave me alone, troll. Please.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Says the troll who started out trolling here and impersonating both vinnyjr and myself.

          But now you’re the victim? That’s quite rich and hypocritical.

          Get an account that doesn’t involve trolling people and move on.

        • thepanttherlady

          Both of you need to stop replying to each other, it’s really that simple.

        • Fabian Cortez

          As long as I don’t get impersonated (and you know what’s going on here despite VN playing this oblivious victim game) I’m okay with that for sure.

        • Andrew Singleton

          wait howd you do italycs

        • VN

          Reply and test.

          “To
          make text italic, use at the beginning of the text you want
          to put into italics, and
          at the end of the text you wan’t to
          put into italics. Example: This comment text is in italics
          To make text bold, use the tag. At the end of the text put the closing tag . Example: This comment text is bold
          To
          make a piece of text bold and italic, use and
          . You can interchange the two, as long as you use
          the proper closing tag first. Example: This comment text is bold and italic
          To
          make a piece of text underlined, use the tag. is
          the closing tag. Put this at the end of the text. Example: This comment text is underlined
          To
          put a strike though the text, use the tag. Put
          at the end of the text you want to put a strike though.
          Example : This comment text has a strike though it. “

        • VN

          Sorry, that quick reply and quote didn’t come out right. Now I have to fix it. Sometimes this happens to me. :)

          Italics: text (remove the ?)

          Bold: text (remove the ?)

          Bold italics: text (remove the two ?s)

          Underline with ‘u’

          Strike with ‘strike’

        • VN

          Not again. Sorry Pantherlady.

          Like this: text

          but instead of the x use the i, b, u and strike.

  • Matthew Catlow

    Hahahahahah!!! That’s funny. So sorry but I have every US network and Tmobile IS the worst.
    I can’t even have a consistent wifi call, MUCH less using my own data or making a phone call on the network alone.

    • DStudio

      Ha Ha maybe you should move! You can make ANY of the carriers best or worst depending on where you live.

      I have three now (but until recently had all 4) and T-Mobile and Verizon are still my favorites, so I don’t find this report hard to believe.

      • Matthew Catlow

        Chicago, Illinois. Huston Texas, Los Angeles California. And every highway in between. I lost coverage on the Pacific coast bro. It’s the technology offered by T-Mobile right now. Sprints uses 850 MHz spectrum. Verizon’s future 600 MHz vs its current 700 c MHz, 700 bc MHz offered by AT&T will change to Lower bands like Verizon but T-Mobile has 700 a MHz and that’s good but they bought it second hand. Now lower spectrum spans further and has a stronger signal. Imagine your in a building, lower bands can penetrate further through the building. Just between us the people I work for is selling this highly sophisticated technology secretly to T-Mobile and it’s a development that T-Mobile won’t be able to make without constantly needing help from us in the future.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Verizon’s future 600 MHz

          Both AT&T and T-Mobile will also have 600 MHz.

          but T-Mobile has 700 a MHz

          This is irrelevant to how the spectrum works.

        • JG

          You realize you are posting this to the internet and saying just between us?? The us you reference is the entire world, EVERYONE who has an internet connection.

        • Matthew Catlow

          That’s fine. My point was T-Mobile isn’t bad but they are not going to be as good as Big red or AT&T. Not until they start updates to the 600 MHz spectrum. VZW and AT&T have their network set to run very soon on 600 MHz so the others won’t keep up when that’s released.

        • Durandal_1707

          T-Mobile’s coverage is fine in Chicago.

    • gmo8492

      There is no problem with the network, it’s just the lack of coverage in your area. T-Mobile ranks high in download and upload speeds and is consistent when coverage is good.

    • Andrew Singleton

      sounds like a phone issue. you can’t really pole holes in wifi calling.

  • Sayahh

    So Rogers and Bell have better scores than all four major US carriers? That’s good news for Americans moving there after Trump wins.

    • carl

      If Trump wins, Clinton wins the presidency almost by default. Who’s packing already?

  • Iggy

    I use T-mobile because our company switched to them. They are far from the best. I have had AT&T and Verizon in the past and both are far better then T-mobile. Maybe this report gives out points for having crazy CEO and interesting commercials.

    • Andrew Singleton

      its important to accept that you are only 1 person.