RootMetrics network report: Verizon and T-Mobile share 1st place in Philadelphia

tower tmo 1

T-Mobile regularly states that its data network is the fastest in the country, proudly using its “Data Strong” brand promise as often as it can. But it wasn’t until earlier this year that RootMetrics’ independent reports started catching up with what the carrier already knew. Perhaps a reason why – in the past – the company’s chiefs have mocked the RootMetrics results for being out of date and not being truly independent.

In one of its most recent reports, RootMetrics has judged T-Mobile to be the best performing network in Philadelphia, sharing top spot with Verizon Wireless.

For those unaware, RootMetrics’ RootScore rankings are calculated by comparing both network speeds and network reliability throughout specific markets. In Philadelphia, the company performed over 77,400 call, data and text tests from October 11th until October 18th at various times during the day and night. For Philadelphia, the four major carriers ranked as follows:

1 – Verizon (97.4) 
1 – T-Mobile (97.3) 
3 – AT &T (96.4) 
4 – Sprint (94.3)

As usual, T-Mobile’s strength was in speed, where it was the only network operator to score over 90 points in the speed index rankings. This was thanks to having a median download speed of 21.6Mbps and a median upload speed of 17.9Mbps. And, while it’s still revamping its network, it’s also no surprise to see Sprint in last place:

1 – T-Mobile (93.0) – average download speed: 21.6Mpbs
2 – Verizon (88.0) – average download speed: 15.2Mbps
3 – AT &T (87.4) – average download speed: 10.2Mbps
4 – Sprint (79.8) – average download speed: 7.4Mbps

In the reliability index, Verizon was top performer with a score of 99.7. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint tied for 2nd place:

1 – Verizon (99.7) 
2 – AT &T (98.8) 
2 – T-Mobile (98.4) 
2 – Sprint (98.4) 

“This was the seventh time we’ve visited Philadelphia, and we’re seeing high network reliability scores across the board,” said Bill Moore, RootMetrics CEO. “While Verizon edged past the competition to earn distinction as the most reliable network, the competition remains close, with AT &T, T-Mobile, and Sprint all ranking second. This is great news for consumers in Philadelphia.”

T-Mobile’s performance has improved significantly in Philadelphia as it continues to roll out its wideband LTE. And we can only expect average speeds to continue on their upward curve.

Source: RootMetrics

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  • kev2684

    VZW and T-Mobile has been showing multiple ties in the northeastern united states. right now it’s filled with VZW and AT&T pins. i wonder when and where will they get their first win on the map? still needs better building penetration and tower density in Jax. i can’t go back until then. good for them though. their network is only gonna get better over time.

  • itguy08

    They need to bring some of that love to the Harrisburg area. We’re dead last, even behind Sprint on Root Metrics!!!

    • FILA

      cuz nobody cares about shitty PA

    • Mike

      Just did a road trip from Lancaster to Altoona. TMO coverage does not exist once through the PennState area. Roamed on ATT network. GPS killed my roaming data alloent in about 3 hours.

      • dude

        My daughter lives in Hollidaysburg (south of Altoona). T-Mobile has 2G in the town of Hollidaysburg but no signal 10 minutes away in her apartment. AT&T is 2G in her apartment, LTE in town.
        No T-Mobile signal from Blue Mountain tunnel almost until the Bedford exit

      • Nick Wilkes

        AT&T is really the only carrier that has good service in Blair County. LTE is availble in most places, and where there’s not LTE there is “4G” HSPA+. Verizon is Okay too. I live in Altoona and have Sprint. I HATE it. I have service in Altoona, but go up the mountain to Cresson, or out to Canoe Creek State Park or back into Sinking Valley (all have ATT service) there is none. Even in the places that show 3G on the Sprint Map have only one bar of 3G that is unusable. T-Mobile is just the worst though. The only place in Altoona that I ever saw selling T-Mobile is Toys-R-Us and those were just flip phones. When I was getting my HTC One M8 back in November I asked the lady working at the Best Buy Mobile in the Logan Valley Mall about if T-Mobile’s service was going to improve in the area and she started laughing and asked if I joking.

  • Maximus

    Speed is one component and it’s great that TMO is increasing speeds, but how is their building penetration and overall connectivity quality in Philadelphia and other metro areas? Just curious…

    • itguy08

      I visit S. Jersey a bit and in the Cherry Hill area they are fine. Even can have a conversation in an elevator!

      • PaulRivers

        While I’m not in Philadelphia, I just switched from Verizon to TMobile in Minneapolis, Mn, and TMobile has much better building penetration here. I’ve been testing them side by side for the last couple of weeks and TMobile often is better (especially at my apt or at my dad’s place, Verizon will let you text but not call both places), and so far never worse. The few places where TMobile didn’t work that well (like the back of the Target store in Chanhassen), I pulled out my Verizon phone and had exactly the same problems.

      • Julio

        So far t mobile is fine in the north of Camden. Anything south of that and you will hit lots of places with edge. Only get LTE if you are writing town limits but if you do get lte it tends to be pretty good. Driving in between towns service gets spotty. Hopefully they can stay launching band 12 LTE in the Philly market seeing ass there is no channel 51 restriction.

  • Benny

    Fastest only if available. LOL.

    • hit_the_lights

      Stupid comment

      • Mike

        I cracked up with Benny’s comment. it’s a true comment “Fastest only if available”. LOL. We all know the inconsistencies within the TMO network. no need to be rude in your reply.

        • Jon

          That applies to every carrier. No one has 100% coverage everywhere and all the time. Results may vary….

  • DirkDigg1er

    Why not focus in cities like San Diego, Sacramento, Kansas City, San Francisco, Denver, etc.? These dense cities where the competition is lopsided should get the most attention.
    I want articles focused on areas where lte is getting <2mbps dl/ul until they catch up with the rest of the country.
    I love seeing results where every carrier seems fast but just 1x can an article be on a trouble area for all carriers.

    • GinaDee

      I keep seeing slow T-Mobile LTE speeds in so many areas of SoCal. Still getting constant drops to EDGE and 4G. Still miles and miles of no service in the mountain communities where the other 3 have service.

      These metric tests never seem to show this.

      Verizon does have great coverage here but again their LTE speeds can be soooo slow at times despite all the XLTE marketing as of late.

      AT&T seems to be the better bet. Almost as reliable as Verizon and LTE coverage almost everywhere you need it. Speeds are decent too.

      I just tried Sprint again for a 3 days but ran back to the store to return the phone and service. Worst service I ever used. Too many data time outs.

      • Mr Paul

        Exactly why I use AT&T. I went to FL when I had T-Mobile, which has more T-Mo coverage than Verizon in many areas, and for once I had LTE all the time, but never averaged higher than 2-3 megabits down/up. Sprint was probably better in that area and I hadn’t had AT&T yet although according to family there, they’re great if not the best.

        Not to mention with AT&T, I see LTE far more often than when I did with Verizon, and in more than one part of one TOWN like T-Mobile. What’s most important is both the fact that it’s there when I need it, and it works, plenty fast enough, with virtually no lag and zero timeouts. AT&T also has basically everything covered with at least HSPA+, so I have a great fallback unlike T-Mobile which is still majority 2G and their HSPA+’s data is horrible unlike AT&T which always just works.

        That why Verizon and Sprint are inferior by definition; 3G sucks ass so if you can’t get LTE, good luck. And not to mention Verizon’s LTE is slower than their 3G in my area half the time, so even if I had the money and no sense, it would just be a waste.

    • dtam

      the rootmetrics results dictate what article Cam can write, not Cam

      • DirkDigg1er

        My intentions are not to blame Cam.

        It’s aimed at the publications for cherry picking ideal markets. The internet connects people world wide yet there is no CLEAR outlet to gauge cellular service interactively.

        If we could pinpoint problem areas on a social map, ala Waze app, it could address the real issues we have with service upgrades, local bands supported, dead spots, etc.

        Ex. Using a sprint spark gs5 I’ve experienced 80mbps dl in Hollis, NY and the signal dropped to 2mbps in Fresh Meadows, NY roughly 8 blocks away.

  • archerian

    Slow T-mobile news day, eh?

    • hit_the_lights

      stupid troll

      • steveb944


        • hit_the_lights

          Yup, what does that comment contribute to this good news article?

        • steveb944

          You need to lay off the T-Mobile kool-aid, as your negativity is much less necessary. Obviously others agree with him/her.

          An article about one city on one testing platform is hardly ‘good’ news. The quote even praises Verizon for still getting first.

        • hit_the_lights

          How about these idiots just lay off this site if they’re going to be negative on every good news article.

  • Eric

    Just need the network to be denser in Philadelphia. I still see a few EDGE spots on large roads.

    • Mark McCoskey

      As well as denser in So Utah. My LTE is weak and I frequently get dropped calls.

  • SEBA

    It’s funny but this report is already outdated because those tests were done right before 15×15 wideband LTE rolled out. Now the speeds are between upper 20s and lower 80s. Helllooo?!

  • William Burr Winans

    Are you going to write an article about new plans on T-Mobile’s GoSmart?

  • COV

    Can’t wait for Cincinnati to be on this same boat some time in the future :-)

    • Nick

      Was thinking the same thing as I read this

      • COV

        Hopefully we will soon, keeping the faith on Tmobile…

  • sean

    I know this is a little off subject, But is anyone getting only slow 4G or edge in areas that are clearly shown on the t-mobile map as excellent lte coverage? I am in south Berkeley and had to buy a booster and outdoor antenna to get lte from another tower as our tower is still on some sort of very slow 4g and never exceeds around 100kbps download. I have called t-mobile many times about this but never got anywhere. Been like this for over a year now.

    • Ann Droyd

      Shut up! hater. We know you’re with AT@T.

      • Mike

        Ann why be so rude to a person who is having a problem and reporting facts that others have reported. You should also refer to Legers comments that acknowledges that TMO needs to have more consistent service. Please stop being a horses ass. Thank you.

    • Mike

      I’m experiencing the very same issue in the Philadelphia suburban area in zips 19380 and 19333. Been a real problem for months Tmo continues to report “robust Lte coverage” in these areas, sent out an “engineer to survey the towers”. that serve my area. They report everything is in order. Not a Tmo hater been with them for long term. Just wish they would fix the problem in the Philadelphia burbs.

    • go on twitter and tweet both @johnlegere and @sievertmike with the issue you have. most likely Mike the CMO of T-Mobile will respond, because i had slow upload speeds where i live when it used to be faster, and I tweeted tmobilehelp, john legere, and mike sievert, and mike responded saying “Not good, I will pass along to engineering. DL speeds look good tho” within a couple minutes. they’re awesome!! and within the next few days, the issues were fixed.

  • sean

    I have 5 lines with t-mobile and would never consider anyone else. Using the outdoor antenna I often get over 50 meg from the other tower with unlimited data! I love T-mobile. I just think its important to make them aware of any issues so they can improve their network even more.

  • Tory

    Their next Uncarrier should be unlimited voice/texting roaming in ANY area that has 0 T-Mobile signal available. When the phone cannot find T-Mobile signal the SIM should know to allow connection to the next available network for basic calling/texting until T-Mobile native coverage can be found again.

    • Darwinski

      Keep dreaming…

  • Chris

    I have T Mobile in Philadelphia. I’ve been with the company since it was Omnipoint in the 90s. Their speed and reliability here have gotten REALLY, really good in the past 4 or 5 years. I couldn’t be happier. There are many T Mobile stores in and around the city too, and the representatives there are always so helpful. I have to think Philly is one of their top markets.

  • calgrav24

    I keep hoping to see some love towards the west of I-5 highway in WA. Anything west of Olympia, WA here is all edge/2g even to the coast. I’m holding out though hoping to see that switch to LTE by summer. BTW I live in McCleary, WA just 15 miles from LTE signal.

  • SharpEye

    Heads up…the topic picture is backwards… its one .T… not …T. :)

  • PhantomOps

    Let us know when TMO is as good as Verizon nationwide…