Verizon is the best overall mobile carrier in the Grand Rapids region, according to an independent mobile measurement company.
After conducting 15,038 data, call and text tests throughout West Michigan from Nov. 7-11, the Rootscore report identified Verizon as having the best overall score in terms of quality service.
Rootscore judged local mobile carriers based on their performances in the fields of data performance, call performance, text performance and combined performance, testing to see how the carriers measured up in three categories: fastest and most reliable network, fewest dropped and blocked calls, and fastest text service.
Data performance was measured by how fast each carrier’s network downloaded and uploaded files and how often the carrier’s data network could be successfully accessed.
Call performance was measured by analyzing dropped and blocked calls.
Text performance was measured by comparing how long it took the different carriers to send and receive texts.
Verizon scored the highest in both the data performance and combined performance categories, according to Rootscore.
“Last year we reached a milestone and spent more than $2 billion just on our Michigan network,” said Michelle Gilbert, Verizon public relations manager. “It’s like any other technology: You cannot stop investing in it to maintain it. We actually also do our own testing of the network to make sure of the investments we’re making in our network.”
While Verizon enjoyed a dominant first-place score, the remaining carriers scored so closely that each grouping tied. AT&T and T-Mobile tied for both the category of best text performance and second place for overall best carrier. Sprint and Metro PCS scored fourth for overall best carrier.
Sprint only scored a seven in data scores, 77 points less than Verizon and only two more than MetroPCS. Sprint also scored the lowest in the category of text scores. The carrier did, however, score second in the category of call performance, even beating Verizon by five points.
“Our competitors in the market with LTE may have beat us on speed, but we continue to roll out LTE nationwide and hope to have it largely complete by the end of 2013,” said Lisa Ketteler, corporate communications manager at Sprint. “We’ve invested in our legacy network and made major improvements. Our added capacity, voice and data have had obvious results, and customers will continue to see improvements.”
Kelly Schlageter, also a member of Sprint’s corporate communications team, said Sprint scored low on speed because in many places, its LTE hasn’t been rolled out yet. Sprint’s new rollout program, Network Vision, will fill in users’ in-footprint pockets, she said, and eliminate coverage gaps by the end of the year.
Caitlin Curran, T-Mobile spokesperson, said the report confirmed that T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G network is fast and getting faster.
“T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G (HSPA+) network reaches well over 220 million people in nearly 230 markets, delivering a fast and dependable wireless experience that is on par with or better than competing 4G networks,” said T-Mobile in a release. “As we continue to aggressively invest billions of dollars in our network, the great news for T-Mobile customers is that the competitive experience we deliver today will get even better through network modernization, which is currently underway, and our rollout of LTE in 2013.”
Jermaine Spight, AT&T senior public relations manager, said AT&T invested $20 billion nationwide into its networks in both 2011 and 2012. It will continue adding LTE to towers, he said, extending coverage across Michigan.
“Over the last four years, we’ve invested $1.5 billion in our networks,” Spight said. “This (report) is great news for us. We’re very excited and we’re looking to improve over the next couple years.”
Mobile carriers will continue to expand their networks, but the trick is to be reliable, Gilbert said. That quality is why Verizon scored the highest, she said.
“At the end of the day, if we’re not delivering what we promise, they’re going to leave. Churn rate and loyalty rate — that’s the most important,” Gilbert said. “Our customers know they can rely on our network, not just when it’s a sunny day but when it’s a snowstorm or a hurricane.”