GWS’ annual network performance evaluation finds improvements across top U.S. carriers
DULLES, VA – September 2, 2020 – In a year when wireless network performance has proven more critical than ever as consumers spend more time living, working and communicating from home due to COVID-19, Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) announced today that AT&T topped GWS’ annual OneScore ranking for overall network performance, earning the “Nation’s Best Network” title for the third consecutive year. Verizon finished second followed by T-Mobile finishing third (Sprint was fourth).
GWS’ U.S. OneScore ranking is the most authoritative test of wireless network performance. Most third-party organizations look solely at drive data results or customer feedback, however, GWS’ scientific methodology incorporates both, combining wireless network drive data with research into what consumers value most from their network. As in previous years, GWS tested in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The drive test results were collected by driving one million miles in 501 markets across major metropolitan areas, smaller urban cities, and rural towns – covering a total population of over 308 million (94% of the U.S.).
While AT&T retained the highest OneScore ranking for its overall national wireless network performance, a key takeaway from this year’s report is that network infrastructure and technology investments across all carriers appear to be paying off: in GWS’ recent 2020 consumer survey, 84% of respondents said that their wireless carrier has met their communication needs in terms of wireless performance throughout this pandemic ‘always’ or ‘most of the time.’ In fact, since GWS started reporting on the best network three years ago, network upgrades have resulted in throughputs increasing by an average 62% across all carriers (AT&T’s increased over 100%, Verizon and Sprint over 50%, and T-Mobile 29%).
- AT&T and Verizon earn top download speeds. AT&T delivers the fastest speed for large download tasks such as receiving photos and videos. Verizon secured the top spot with fastest speed for small download tasks such as receiving app-related content or loading web pages.
- Verizon delivers fastest upload speeds. Verizon is fastest for both small and large upload tasks, like posting social media content, photos, videos, etc.
- AT&T passes stress test with flying colors. AT&T has the fastest throughputs when GWS stress-tested the networks to highlight the maximum throughputs possible at any given time.
- AT&T delivers best video streaming experience. AT&T scored tops in two out of three metrics – quickest loading time and least amount of rebuffering; and tied with T-Mobile for the highest video quality.
- Network investments lift voice calling metrics. As carriers continue to upgrade their networks (for example, enhanced codecs for HD Voice), voice quality and other calling metrics have improved across all operators. AT&T had the best voice accessibility (i.e. successful call initiations) and voice quality while Verizon had the best voice retainability (i.e. lowest number of dropped calls) and call setup time.
Further details on the study and methodology can be found at www.gwsolutions.com/bestnetwork-usa-2020.
“Network performance is absolutely vital during this period of expanded telework since subscribers are relying as never before on their mobile devices,” said Dr. Paul Carter, CEO and founder of Global Wireless Solutions. “According to our recently released survey, if consumers could only keep one product or service during the stay-at-home mandate, their top choice was their smartphone. It’s become part of how we live life and communicate especially now. And this only reinforces the carriers’ key role in supporting communications needs during the pandemic – and beyond.”
Methodology and notes to editors:
GWS conducted direct benchmark testing in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands from February to July 2020. GWS drove one million miles across 501 regions throughout the U.S. during the testing process, resulting in the completion of nearly 9.8 million individual controlled voice and data tests.
GWS collection and evaluation of data was conducted using Rohde & Schwarz SmartBenchmarker test equipment, Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, and GWS’ Mobistat data evaluation and reporting platform.
All survey figures, unless stated otherwise, are from a study commissioned by GWS and conducted by Toluna. Total sample size was 5,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 16 and July 3, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of Americans (aged 18+).
About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.:
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Global Wireless Solutions has set the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines high-level network testing data with real-world network usage scenarios to make the results of testing relatable and easy to understand. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers high-quality network data and engineering analysis through a suite of benchmarking products, services and OneMeasure diagnostic apps that include drive, venue and in-building testing. At last count, GWS has driven 13 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.
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