New P3 report looks at nationwide network performance in terms of coverage, speed and data service availability
Verizon comes out on top as the mobile network operator with the best overall national network performance, according to a new benchmarking report by P3 Communications.
Verizon achieved the highest overall score in P3’s analysis, followed by AT&T, T-Mobile US and then Sprint. Verizon and AT&T’s networks had more comparable performance than the other two operators, with both networks scoring above 75% of the achievable P3 score. T-Mobile US and Sprint both achieved above 60% of the total score.
Among the specific findings:
– Verizon gained a total score of 812.2 out of a possible 1,000. The carrier had the leading score in network coverage and also scored the highest in speed — but its data service availability score actually fell below all three of the other operators’ scores because P3 detected “observable service degradations” during the six-month period from which the data is drawn.
– AT&T had the highest score in data service availability, outscoring all three competitors by at least 20 points and gaining the highest possible score in that category. “This means that during the whole observation period – March to August ’18 – AT&T did not show a single significant data
network outage,” P3 noted. “In contrast, Verizon had a couple of observable service degradations and, in this discipline, scores behind T-Mobile and Sprint.” AT&T had the second-highest coverage score but the lowest score for network speeds.
– Sprint, while ranking fourth overall in the P3’s scoring, had the second-best speed score and narrowly trailed Verizon.
– T-Mobile US had the second-best score in data service availability, edging out Sprint and Verizon. The carrier also performed better in coverage scoring than Sprint.
This is P3’s fourth report on U.S. wireless connectivity in 2018. The previous reports focused on specific topics such as connectivity along U.S. highways, network performance at the state level and data speeds. The current report seeks to paint a “nationwide holistic picture of the quality of service of the U.S. mobile network carriers,” P3 said in the document.
P3 looked at three aspects of quality of service for mobile users: coverage (which accounted for for half of an operator’s total score on P3’s scale), speed (20% of the total score) and data service availability (30% of the total score); the last aspect touched on whether users experienced significant network outages or service degradations.
The data analysis was based on crowd-sourced data collected directly from devices: more than 34 billion measurement samples from 2.3 million consumers’ smartphones — which P3 said “[represents]the nationwide consumer experience of mobile networks in the United States.”
P3 also did a detailed breakdown of the type of coverage, by technology, that users were likely to experience.
Looking at the 4G LTE coverage results, it becomes clear that Verizon has the lead in LTE coverage,” the company said in the report. “AT&T customers are much less likely to get LTE than
Verizon customers. Even T-Mobile users are more likely to experience LTE than AT&T users although AT&T has a significantly larger LTE footprint than T-Mobile. AT&T still makes significant use of its 3G layer.” The company went on to report that “data services in both Verizon and T-Mobile are almost entirely handled on 4G LTE. In contrast, Sprint users are more often served with 3G than users in any other network. However, due to a good quality of coverage, Sprint scores only about 2% worse than T-Mobile with respect to coverage for data services.” P3 also noted that Sprint continues to carry voice traffic on its 1X CDMA network.
Read P3’s full report here.
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