GWS says recent U.S. mobile network testing is its most-comprehensive ever

AT&T was rated the best mobile network, in what benchmarking company Global Wireless Solutions is calling its most comprehensive U.S. testing program to date. Verizon was ranked second; T-Mobile US came in third; and Sprint, fourth.

GWS said that Verizon edged out AT&T for fastest uploads of social media content (recent testing by P3 ranked Verizon’s network as the fastest), while AT&T had the best streaming video quality and quickest loading time. (All four national carriers were the subject of recent research on throttling of streaming apps, with AT&T noting that a plan feature called Stream Saver was rolled out to its customer base last year which automatically limits the streaming rate of traffic identified as video.) AT&T also had the lowest rate of dropped calls, although T-Mobile US was rated as the carrier with the best score in call quality. Sprint, GWS said, was “the only network not to finish first in any of the voice and data tests.”

GWS’ OneScore ranking combines drive test data with consumer research into customers’ priorities for wireless performance. The company conducted testing in all 50 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with nearly 1 million miles driven in areas that represent 94% of the domestic population. GWS said it completed more than 8 million individual, controlled voice and data tests using Rohde & Schwarz’s Diversity Benchmarker II test equipment, Samsung Galaxy devices and its own Mobistat platform for data evaluation and reporting.

“This first of its kind nationwide study shows some impressive performances from some operators, but AT&T’s overall performance pushes them ahead of the rest,” said Paul Carer, GWS CEO and founder, in a statement.

The consumer survey which contributed to the OneScore ranking was conducted online in late June and involved 5,000 adults, weighted to reflect Americans over the age of 18. It asked users to rank the importance of particular tasks for which they use their mobile devices, as well as various aspects of mobile network performance. Voice calling was still ranked as the most important activity by users, but the use of streaming video was on the rise compared to GWS’ past consumer surveys, the company said. GWS also said that consumers ranked network reliability as three times more important than network speed.

GWS also said that its data analysis reveals how particular networks are achieving their performance.

“We know, for example, that T-Mobile has the best voice quality in part because of their usage of an EVS wideband codec,” the company said. “We’ve also observed that AT&T’s higher usage of advanced network features (such as LTE 4 channel aggregation) helps them outperform others in terms of reliability and throughputs.”

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