Verizon has the fastest and best mobile network, study shows

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Jul. 16—Verizon has bragged about having the best and most reliable 4G LTE mobile networks. But is there a phone company out there that can beat it?

Well, not this year, according to tests conducted by RootMetrics by IHS Markit in the first half of 2019. Verizon, tests showed, is the mobile company to beat nationwide, though AT&T is hot on its heels.

T-Mobile and Sprint, which are still seeking regulatory approval for their pending merger, finished third and fourth, respectively.

It was the 12th time in a row Verizon wore the crown, as the carrier shared or took top honors in all the categories measured by RootMetrics: overall performance, network reliability, speed, data performance, call performance, and text performance.

Testers with off-the-shelf Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones drove nearly 237,000 miles across all 50 states, and within 125 of the most populated metropolitan markets in the country. Testers also walked around and conducted tests in nearly 7,900 indoor locations.

Though Verizon can hold onto bragging rights, there were some positive results for all the carriers.

AT&T, for example, shared text performance honors with Verizon for the fifth straight testing period and was a strong second overall at the state level.

RootMetrics also found that within , AT&T's speed and reliability have improved compared to the latter half of 2018.

T-Mobile continued on an upward trajectory in terms of delivering fast speeds and solid data reliability, though it also saw the number of metro areas in which it earned awards for winning that town decline for a second straight period.

More positively, T-Mobile and Verizon were the only two carriers to stay connected in every metro area RootMetrics tested.

Sprint bolstered speeds overall and made gains in text performance. It improved in blocked and dropped call performance, as well, though RootMetrics also found that while Sprint's data reliability was generally good, it didn't show the same consistent level of improvement.

Meanwhile, residents of Dayton should take note: That's where tests revealed that Verizon delivered the fastest speed among all the networks during this round, clocking a median download speed of 67.8 Mbps in the Ohio city.

AT&T's fastest median download speed was in Portland, Oregon (62.Mbps), Sprint's in Las Vegas (45.7 Mbps) and T-Mobile's in Flint, Michigan (63.3 Mbps).

All the results reflect 4G LTE networks. For all the hype over the eventual shift to the blazing fast mobile 5G networks that are only now beginning to roll out, 4G will remain a critical barometer for some time.

Speaking of 5G, Verizon is considered the early leader as well.

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