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AT&T Mobility's Network Fares Better Than Rivals in 14 Markets

Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 10, 2010

AT&T’s wireless network performs better than systems maintained by other top carriers including Verizon Wireless in many markets, according to new data from start-up RootMetrics, a mobile network performance service.

The carrier’s network outperforms those of Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA in 14 of 23 markets, according to the data, due to be released on Nov. 11. In markets such as Washington, D.C., Seattle and Philadelphia, AT&T earned a higher RootScore, based on the company’s proprietary algorithm that weighs the carrier’s voice and data quality. AT&T is also one of two best performers in six additional markets.

The RootMetrics data underscored the difficulty AT&T has encountered in other markets, including San Francisco. There, AT&T’s gear didn’t perform as well as Sprint’s and Verizon’s. AT&T’s RootScore in the market is on par with T-Mobile’s. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Venture capital-funded Root collects data independently as well as with help from several thousand consumers, who’ve downloaded its special app on their Android device, BlackBerry or the iPhone. The app periodically checks the network’s performance and tracks dropped calls. From February of 2009 to October of 2010, Root checked network quality in 40 million locations around the country, says CEO Paul Griff.

Network quality has emerged as a point of competition between carriers in the U.S. in the past year, when iPhone users in markets such as San Francisco and New York began complaining of AT&T’s network congestion. The carrier has worked hard to improve its coverage. Its rivals, such as Verizon Wireless and T- Mobile, have also been beefing up their network. Sprint has been buying network capacity from carrier Clearwire, in which it’s an investor.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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