Sprint and T-Mobile Challenge AT&T and Verizon in First-Ever New York City Urban Experience Report

BELLEVUE, Wash., Oct. 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RootMetrics®, the standard for independent mobile performance information, today released its New York City Urban Mobile Experience report, the most comprehensive look ever into consumer mobile performance in the heart of New York City. This unprecedented study includes results from important New York City area sports venues, college campuses, train stations and airports, as well as mobile network performance in key areas across Manhattan.

The report by RootMetrics, an IHS (NYSE: IHS) company, found Verizon was a strong performer in New York City. However, the results suggest that the race is heating up. In particular, investments from Sprint and T-Mobile are beginning to pay off and the carriers are offering strong competition for AT &T and Verizon. In our comprehensive Manhattan Urban Zone study, Sprint’s reliability and call performance were particularly strong, while T-Mobile’s speed and data performance were especially noteworthy.

Total Urban Experience

New Yorkers rely on their mobile phones, and they expect them to work wherever they are, whether they’re at home or in the office, in a taxi, waiting for a train, grabbing a bite, or watching a game. The Urban Experience report offers a unique, multilayered look at how carriers perform in everyday mobile life.

The Manhattan Urban Zone

To provide a full picture of the Manhattan Urban Zone, made up of seven core districts, RootMetrics tested call, data and text performance under the same conditions that consumers experience in their daily mobile lives. Within the Manhattan Urban Zone, RootMetrics conducted more than 72,000 total tests, with 50 percent of them taking place indoors. The districts covered include the Financial District, the Garment District, Midtown, Soho, Tribeca, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side.

T-Mobile shined as the fastest carrier for median download speed in the Manhattan Urban Zone. Its median download speed of 16 Mbps narrowly edged out Verizon’s 14 Mbps. Sprint (6.7 Mbps) came out just ahead of AT &T (5.7 Mbps) in median download speed. When it comes to call and data reliability, all the carriers had excellent performance across the Manhattan Urban Zone.

As for the individual urban zone districts, the Upper West Side has some bragging rights. Three of the carriers recorded their fastest median download speeds in that area, including an impressive 23.2 Mbps from T-Mobile. On the other end of the spectrum was the Financial District, where three of the carriers recorded their slowest median download speeds.

Verizon Wins at Major Venues

In data network testing at the major sports and concert venues in the New York City area, Verizon proved the standout. The carrier claimed top data network honors at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. Not only did Verizon provide the best reliability at each venue, it also offered the fastest median download and upload speeds, meaning that fans who use Verizon likely are able to quickly and easily share their experiences at the game on social media.

T-Mobile’s speeds across the Manhattan Urban Zone did not translate to the venues tested by RootMetrics. Barclays Center, in particular, proved to be troublesome for T-Mobile, as the carrier recorded a slow 1.0 Mbps for median download speed and a markedly slow 0.1 Mbps for median upload speed. At that speed, it would take more than four minutes to upload a 3 MB picture. At Verizon’s median upload speed of 6.0 Mbps recorded at Barclays Center, the same task would take less than five seconds.

Sprint was consistently slow in speed testing at the venues, but the carrier also struggled in reliability. Madison Square Garden was the only arena where Sprint received an excellent (greater than 97%) rating in either connecting to the network or staying connected. Yankee Stadium was a particularly challenging venue for Sprint, as scouters connected to Sprint’s network only 40 percent of the time.

As for the venues themselves, Madison Square Garden stands above the others when it comes to overall reliability across carriers. Yankee Stadium was also strong among all carriers except for Sprint.

Transit Stations

Verizon won the Data Performance Award at Penn Station, while T-Mobile came out on top at Grand Central Station. Testing of data networks was conducted throughout the main concourses and platforms. Verizon continued to excel in speed, recording the fastest median download and upload speeds at Penn Station. Verizon also recorded the fastest median upload speed and tied with T-Mobile for the fastest median download speed at Grand Central. When comparing performance from station to station, speeds at Penn Station were generally faster than those at Grand Central Station.

However, all carriers struggled with reliability at both transit stations. While reliability for all networks was better at Penn Station than at Grand Central, no carrier earned a mark of excellence (greater than 97%) for reliability testing at either location.

College Campuses

It was an especially tight race among the carriers at the two major college campuses RootMetrics tested in the city, Columbia University and Fordham University. While Verizon won or shared the most RootScore Awards on the campuses with nine awards, T-Mobile and Sprint were not far behind, with seven total awards each. Verizon won outright or shared all the awards at Fordham, while T-Mobile did likewise at Columbia. While T-Mobile offered the fastest overall speed, Sprint deserves a nod for performance at Fordham and Verizon as the most consistent network, recording fast speeds at both universities.


T-Mobile and AT &T split the top honors at the three major airports in the New York City area. T-Mobile earned the RootScore Award at Newark and John F. Kennedy, while AT &T won at LaGuardia. When it comes to speed, Newark seemed to shine above the rest, as the fastest median download (Verizon at 25.9 Mbps) and upload (T-Mobile at 16.7 Mbps) speeds were recorded there. Notably, Sprint and AT &T both recorded their fastest New York City airport median download speeds at LaGuardia, while Verizon and T-Mobile both recorded their lowest median download speeds there. Reliability was also strong at all three airports, with AT &T and Verizon both earning a mark of excellence (greater than 97%) and Sprint and T-Mobile missing it by a narrow margin.

“New York City is one of the most important cities in the world. A strong mobile infrastructure is imperative to keeping New Yorkers and visitors connected, whether it’s for business or pleasure,” said Julie Dey, RootMetrics Vice President. “This report is a comprehensive, scientific indication that while the carriers are doing well in reliability as people go about their daily, connected life in Manhattan, there is still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to meeting demand at major sporting venues and transit stations across the city.”
About RootMetrics®

RootMetrics®, an IHS (NYSE: IHS) company, is an independent mobile analytics firm that offers insights into the consumer mobile experience. RootMetrics provides data on mobile network performance to help people make more informed mobile decisions. RootMetrics offers its RootScore® Report series for nations, states, metro areas, airports, venues, transit centers, dense urban cores and campuses, as well as its downloadable CoverageMap app. To ensure that RootMetrics testing reflects real-world mobile usage, testing is conducted based on where, when and how consumers use their smartphones most often.
About IHS

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of insight, analytics and expertise in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 150 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs about 8,800 people in 32 countries around the world.

CONTACT: Mike Kelly for RootMetrics

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