LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RootMetrics by IHS Markit, the standard for mobile performance benchmarking, today released its 1st Half 2019 US Review of the Mobile Landscape, providing the most comprehensive picture of mobile network performance available. In the twelfth edition of its semi-annual report, the mobile analytics firm released its national results for the first half of 2019, as well as a summary of network performance across all 50 states and the 125 most populated metropolitan areas in the country. The new report shows that Verizon maintained its edge over the competition across all levels of testing, and all four carriers delivered faster speeds in 1H 2019 with 5G rollouts on the horizon.
- Verizon sweeps the awards at the US national level, earning five awards outright and sharing the award for text performance with AT&T.
- As 5G nears, all four major carriers deliver improved speed results in US metros compared to testing in the second half of 2018.
- AT&T makes impressive speed gains, increasing the number of markets in which it delivers median download speeds of at least 40 Mbps from six in 2H 2018 to 36 in 1H 2019.
- Sprint also shows notable speed improvements, improving the number of markets where it registers median download speeds of 30 Mbps or faster from 10 in 2H 2018 to 34 in this test period.
- Verizon delivers the fastest median download speed of any network at 67.8 Mbps in Dayton, Ohio.
National and state carrier highlights
Verizon remained the carrier to beat across national and state testing, sweeping all six national awards and earning far more state-level awards (263) than any other carrier. Although Verizon distanced itself from the other carriers, AT&T remained a strong number two performer at both national and state levels, with the carrier earning a share of the US Text RootScore Award for the fifth straight report.
Sprint’s reliability ranking improved in national testing, moving from fourth in 2H 2018 to third in this test period, but the carrier finished with the fewest number of State RootScore Awards among all networks. T-Mobile’s ranking in the network reliability category in national testing declined from third to fourth since 2H 2018, but the carrier made modest gains in state testing in the categories of network reliability and call performance.
Speeds improve as 5G approaches
While large-scale 5G deployments have yet to occur in metropolitan markets across the US, LTE technology continues to serve as the foundation of carrier networks and provide consumers with a fast mobile experience. Maintaining a robust LTE network will prove critical during the 5G era because users will not experience 5G service 100% of the time, especially in the early phases of deployments. Understanding current LTE speeds provides a key view into the mobile performance landscape as 5G rollouts approach.
To show each carrier’s consistency of delivering fast speeds across the 125 metro areas tested, the IHS Markit report includes a summary of speed performance at various speed thresholds. Topline performance is indicated by median download speeds over 40 Mbps, which would allow a user to download a 5MB song in less than 2 seconds or download a high-definition TV show in about 2 minutes.
Speeds for all carriers showed improvement compared to the last test period. For instance, AT&T’s 36 markets in the 40+ Mbps median download speed interval was an improvement from six such markets in 2H 2018. Sprint, meanwhile, delivered speeds faster than 40 Mbps in just one market compared to two in the previous report, but the carrier dramatically improved the number of markets in which it registered speeds of 30 Mbps or faster, jumping from 10 in 2H 2018 to 34 in 1H 2019. T-Mobile also impressed, improving its number of markets with speeds of at least 40 Mbps from 18 in 2H 2018 to 24 in 1H 2019. Finally, Verizon also showed improvement in the 40 Mbps-or-faster median download speed range, jumping from 17 in 2H 2018 to 38 this time.
“Consumer data activities are exploding, with users streaming more and more videos and playing interactive games at unprecedented rates. 5G is poised to deliver a significant leap in speeds compared to the those we experience today. But it’s not just about speed, it’s also about reliability of the service. Consumers don’t just expect fast speeds, they also demand that they get those speeds whenever and wherever they want, and this multifaceted expectation will only continue to get stronger,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology at IHS Markit. “As our latest report shows, the carriers are delivering improved speeds on existing LTE networks, but as 5G deployments near, we can expect to see even more emphasis on speed and strong reliability to improve the mobile experience for both consumers and enterprises alike.”
Metro results summarized
Metro test results offer consumers the most accurate picture of the mobile experience where they spend most of their time.
- AT&T improved in two important and holistic categories: the carrier took home an additional 13 Overall RootScore Awards since 2H 2018 and earned 15 more Network Reliability RootScore Awards in this test period.
- Sprint also improved its award total in 1H 2019, making notable gains in the text performance category. Sprint’s total Text RootScore Awards jumped by 28 from the second half of 2018.
- T-Mobile maintained its reputation of delivering fast speeds in metropolitan markets, delivering median download speeds of at least 40 Mbps in 24 markets (and speeds of at least 30 Mbps in 60 metros).
- Verizon continued its excellence in metro-level testing, earning by far the highest number of awards among all networks while delivering median download speeds of at least 40 Mbps in more markets than any other carrier (38).
How we test
IHS Markit combines scientific data with real-world mobile performance insights to provide consumers with an independent view of each carrier’s performance where they live, work and play. IHS Markit tested US carrier networks from nation to neighborhood, with tests conducted in highly populated metropolitan markets and towns of all sizes to rural areas and the highways that connect them.
During the first half of 2019, RootMetrics scouters drove 236,764 miles, visited 7,888 indoor locations and conducted more than 3.9 million scientific tests of mobile performance. All tests were conducted using unmodified, off-the-shelf Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones purchased from carrier stores. RootMetrics uses random sampling techniques to ensure results offer a robust characterization of performance across six testing categories, including overall performance, reliability, speed, data performance, call performance and text performance.
A holistic look at 5G
As network operators across the globe race to deploy 5G, IHS Markit has launched “5G First Look,” a new service that provides insight into the world of 5G and how 5G networks perform from the consumer’s perspective. It includes 5G readiness benchmarks, 5G smartphone teardown analysis and first look results from 5G network performance testing in South Korea, the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom—with more countries and regions added as 5G networks are launched across the globe.
About RootMetrics by IHS Markit (www.RootMetrics.com) RootMetrics by IHS Markit provides mobile analytics that measure mobile network performance and offer insights into the consumer mobile experience. IHS Markit provides data on mobile network performance to help the networks improve and give consumers an end-to-end look at mobile performance. To ensure that RootMetrics reflects real-world mobile usage, testing is conducted based on where, when and how consumers use their smartphones most often.
About IHS Markit (www.ihsmarkit.com)
IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth.
IHS Markit and RootMetrics are registered trademarks of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2019 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.