New Root Metric Study Says T-Mobile HSPA+ Shouldn’t Be Lost In “LTE Shuffle”

The good folks at RootMetrics are back with another network study breakdown spanning 75 markets, 100,000 miles and 500,000 driven and indoor data tests to find the very best in wireless data service. I’ll jump right to the conclusion and let you all in on how T-Mobile performed:

T-Mobile, meanwhile, often recorded download speeds that were closer to LTE speeds than you might expect and was very close to AT&T in overall performance. The name “HSPA+42” might not have the cachet of “LTE,” but it shouldn’t be lost in the LTE shuffle.

I’d say that’s plenty for the T-Mobile folks to be proud and while it will come as little surprise that Verizon was the overall winner, T-Mobile’s performance was incredibly solid. In fact, the Root Metrics report says that T-Mobile’s scores became a “major story of our testing.” When compared to AT&T’s LTE network for average download data speed, T-Mobile kept pace with AT&T, though AT&T did outdo T-Mobile in upload speeds. AT&T’s average downlink speed was 7Mbps passing T-Mobile’s 5Mbps — however, both carriers fell behind Verizon even as they passed Sprint, MetroPCS and Cricket (where available) by a mile.

T-Mobile’s speed reliability also kept pace with AT&T’s network even while both were beaten by Verizon again in how often during the testing period they hit the 5Mbps mark or higher by hitting that number in at least 46.7% of tests, against AT&T’s 48.1% and Verizon 77.4%.  Once again Root Metrics praised T-Mobile’s performance:

While T-Mobile can’t tout LTE, their HSPA+42 network is turning in some very respectable download speeds and might surprise consumers.

Furthermore, Root Metrics’ CEO Patrick Linder praised T-Mobile in a company blog post:

“Beyond Verizon, things get more interesting, especially given T-Mobile’s strong performance without the availability of LTE,” RootMetrics’ Patrick Linder wrote in a company blog post. “Their HSPA+42 network proved a major story of our first-half testing. Though AT&T edged ahead of T-Mobile, the distance between the carriers was small. In fact, despite AT&T’s rollout of LTE, they were often closer to T-Mobile than to Verizon.”

It’s a lengthy study with plenty of info on how T-Mobile performed against both AT&T, Sprint and Verizon LTE networks, and I urge you to take a few moments and read through the study. You can find both the full study and company blog post linked below.

Root Metrics Study

Blog Post

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  • fonegeek

    The one thing that these studies never mention is that T-Mobile is achieving these speeds with probably 2/3’s of their customers running on HSPA+. I’d be willing to bet that both Verizon and AT&T have less than a 1/4 of their customers running on LTE. Network traffic has a huge impact on performance and I would bet money that if the all things were equal, T-Mobile would be much closer to the top.

    • Chris Gustafson

      T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is its 3G network too. They don’t run multiple networks in the same area (aside from EDGE). They just upgraded the 3G network while maintaining compatibility. So almost 100% of its customers are on HSPA+.

      • 100% of t-mos customers benefit from HSPA+ I really wish they would build out HSPA+ instead but so long as t-mo can continue to keep these speeds as backups im cool.

    • UMA_Fan

      Great point! Think about it though… EVERY device sold since 2008’s T-Mobile G1 is pulling on that bandwidth and they STILL perform great. Verizon and At&t have no where to go but down.

  • joel_axel


  • Richard Yarrell

    I had Verizon and it’s CDMA LTE NETWORK when I had my Galaxy Nexus trust me it’s truly overrated at best. Verizon has a very inconsistent network were it’s handsets work differently on Lte network. Reception issues exist as well as extremely poor signal strength . Matter of fact we won’t even get into the battery draining issues Verizon and it’s Lte network has. I love Tmobile and it’s GSM HSPA PLUS 42MPS network it’s simply speedy and very consistent network. My Galaxy S3 works much better on Tmobile than my Galaxy Nexus did on Lte. Tmobile is rocking in my world.

    • Chris Gustafson

      You had a Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Your judgement of Verizon’s network means nothing.

      Ignoring the fact that you’re a troll who went from being a Sprint fanboy, then a Verizon fanboy and now a T-Mobile fanboy. When do you plan on switching to AT&T?

      • squiddy20

        Didn’t you hear? He had a Galaxy S II Skyrocket on AT&T sometime between the ditching of his “legendary” Evo 3D and his “pimp slapping” Galaxy Nexus for… 2 weeks…

        • Chris Gustafson

          Damn, how did I miss that.

        • jonathan3579

          Good to see you’re on troll patrol, squiddy

      • Richard Yarrell

        Mr. Crustafson, and squiddy20.. I know neither of you are Tmobile customers go to your carrier Site and stop trolling here. You guys are losers to the least…

        • squiddy20

          “You guys are losers to the least…” Uhhh thanks? You do realize that makes no sense, right? You can’t even make a logical insult. The proper way to say it is “losers to the max”. One can’t be much of a loser if they’re the “least” loser, moron.

    • squiddy20

      1. You had a Verizon Galaxy Nexus for no more than 7 months, and more than likely never went 10 miles outside of NYC. And you really think you’re qualified to judge an *entire* cellular network that spans the *entire United States*? Hahahaha what a fool!
      2. Here you are yet again citing “HSPA PLUS 42MPS”, instead of your actual speeds. And as the graph indicates, the 42 “mps” (don’t you know it’s mbps by now?) that you continually spout off isn’t even a quarter of what you’re actually getting. How sad that you feel the need to bolster your claims through extreme hyperbole. Try getting with the real world once in awhile.

      • MatthewMurawski

        42 Mbps is the theoretical peek speed…

        • squiddy20

          Yes, I know that. He apparently doesn’t since that’s the only metric he has ever cited since signing up for a T-Mobile phone.

      • auser72

        On one hand you rip him for inaccurate specs. Then on the other you disqualify his experience based on blind assumptions of his travel patterns. At the end of the day it’s just a Cell Phone. You are taking this way too serious.

  • seeing as I get 20 to 25mbps regularly on HSPA+42 in Michigan, I definitely believe the article. – )

    • Yeah, I easily get that around my area as well, at the bare minimum I average over 15 on a bad day.

      • HalcyonRenard

        What parts of michigan? I am getting TERRIBLE service where I am. In certain areas of town I can get very fast 4G but the signal changes to EDGE very often, and indoors I am lucky to get more than 2 bars of EDGE. The 4G in Grand Rapids, and signal coverage in general really really really needs attention. I don’t want to switch to verizon, I want Tmo to flourish up here.

        • tell tmobile on the phone

        • HalcyonRenard

          I did they refused to do anything to help, other than try and factory restore my phone again. I have tried several different phones. Everyone in my area of town hates tmo’s spotty coverage. If it didn’t cycle between 2 and 4g all the time, and drop signal indoors almost 100% of the time I wouldn’t be so upset. But my phone is hardly use to me in most situations.

    • BigMixxx

      In LV on a GSII, (CM9) regularly getting 12 down, 9 between 5 and 7, and 18+ at midnite…

      YES, CM9…

      • nycplayboy78

        Roughly the sames speeds I get here in the Washington, DC Metro area and I am averaging about 15/8 back home in the NYC Tri-State…On my rooted CM9 SGS II I so can’t wait until I get my Galaxy Note II from T-Mo :)

  • GwapoAko

    Take that VERI$ON!!! in your face!!!

  • Freak4Dell

    This is why I think they can take their time with LTE. I know they’re trying to rush because the public is convinced that LTE is so much better than anything else, but I don’t think it would be too bad if they ran across some delays. They’ll still be far better off than Sprint, whose 3G network is unbearably slow.

  • MatthewMurawski

    In NYC I VERY consistently get 12-21 Mbps down and 1.5-4 up on T-Mobile HSPA+ 42.

  • BigMixxx

    Now tell them b*tch*s to kick rocks and punch pillows. Leave T mobile be, LTE is NEEDED by those overcrowded network…

  • BigMixxx

    In all Seriousness…

    Verizon needed the speed bump. EVEN TRAVELING AROUND THE COUNTRY, when you are not on LTE, you are on CDMA….punished. as T mobile’s network gets better, signal gets better.

    I swear, I have driven from Las Vegas to Memphis SEVERAL times. It has gone from mostly nothing, to mostly edge, to a LOT of 3g, and in some areas of YouShouldNotBeHere, Texas and WhereTheHellAmI, New Mexico, HSPA+….

    Bravo…The network is coming..

    • nycplayboy78

      OMG Bruh…..LOLCATS @ YouShouldNotBeHere, Texas and WhereTheHellAmI, New Mexico….They still have Sunset Towns in those states??!!

      • Marco

        Yes. There are still people out there that don’t want to be part of a large city. Very few left.

  • Get around 12-20 mbps down in Charlotte. Most I’ve ever seen was 23 on my One S. Very impressive T-Mobile

    • scottyrob82

      I live in South Charlotte right between Westinghouse and S. Tryon and work off of Independence and I consistently get around 15-20 mbps on my GS2. I said to a coworker who has a Verizon phone with LTE that with the speeds I get and the battery life I get I have no need for LTE, especially seeing he has to charge his phone twice at work.

  • bobby Keeton

    I don’t personally care for these studies, I just want it to work and right now it works everywhere it needs to

  • Paul

    I average between 8-12 Mbps with my area. So that chart is off from my experience.

    Fonegeek makes a good point, it also depends on the traffic on towers. With less customers it could make for faster download speeds. I’ve never heard people from AT&T say “WOW, you’re data loaded slower than mine.” I usually get downloads faster then they get.

  • I was surprised to see Verizon at the top of that list as every test I’ve ever seen has AT&T’s LTE beating VZW’s LTE handlily but then I remembered that Verizon’s LTE network is quite a bit larger that AT&Ts so more people using a slower LTE network still results in faster average speeds, especially when you consider that AT&T’s HSPA+ FauxG network is really slow,

  • Great, im impressed by tmobile test.

  • philyew

    Unless I missed something, this was a study conducted in a common set of 75 markets. However, not all of those TM markets would have been equipped with HSPA+ 42. The TM average will therefore be a reflection of performance on several technologies. If that conclusion is correct, I wonder what a straight up head-to-head between Verizon’s LTE and TM’s HSPA+ 42 would show?

    • Andrew Baxendale

      If TM doesn’t have the HSPA+42 in all markets, then Verizon’s LTE wouldn’t, either. And to answer your question, my HSPA+42 on TMO actually beat my girlfriends Verizon LTE phone a few times. So speeds vary.

      • philyew

        Your right that there will have been holes in the Verizon sample as well, but they do claim that their LTE network covers 235 million of the population (28% larger than TM’s HSPA+ 42 footprint), so their gaps will most likely have had a smaller impact on the overall Verizon average.

        I’m interested in straight up comparisons, because I think that customers in the HSPA+ 42 markets will be experiencing something broadly comparable to current Verizon and AT&T LTE offerings, and it is that which TM will be aggressively selling in the coming weeks as the iPhone 5 hits the streets.

  • Deadeye37

    I can’t wait to see how T-mobile’s LTE network performs when it’s rolled out. I’m hoping that it will trounce Verizion’s LTE network!

  • Dakota

    my Nexus in Atlanta using the plus 21 service has been pretty abysmal. I’ve gone anywhere from .08 m b p s to a high of 2.6bon . My signal often go es down to Edge; rarely see H, and I’ve never able to get my GPS to consistently on 2 diff phones. It always loses the signal, have to turn it off, then turn it back on. That’s not very good when your e on the verge of getting lost.

  • mingkee

    The speed is rather decent (~6Mbps) in overly crowded Downtown Brooklyn with Galaxy Nexus.

  • kev2684

    I’m not very sure of this, but i think the last time i saw a video of how rootmetrics conducts their test is they drive around 4g markets with a bag full of devices from different carriers and continuously testing while driving. and if i remember it correctly they are using T-Mobile G2 for T-mobile. isn’t that a HSPA+21mbps compatible device?

  • therealmikebrown

    I don’t see the need to have 20mbps on a phone, like I have seen on the Amaze. We’re only watching little vids and at most video chatting. Both of which my home CPU does, with only 12mbps. So does my PS3, and that uses way less. It also streams huge multiplayer games with voice chat. And video chat rooms. This can be done with dsl.
    It’s nice, I guess, but don’t expect me to pay more for it. That’s what i like about t-mobile. They didn’t try to add a “4g fee”.

  • I have had phones on all Networks and IMO T-Mobile in my area,(suburb of Boston) just blows the rest away. Verizon may be just a little faster sometimes but most of the time T-Mobile’s HSPA+ just kicks ass. I get on average between 10 – 20 MB down and between 5 – 6 up. These speeds are during peak hours. Best part of HSPA+ is battery life, LTE is a battery suck. I am very happy with T-Mobile, been with them for years. Every year they just keep getting better, even when they are financially tied. Can you imagine what they can do when things get rolling??? Thank You T-Mobile.