The wireless network at Sprint Corp. remains No. 3 in the U.S. market even though the company has fallen to No. 4 in total subscribers.
RootMetrics tapped Sprint ahead of rival T-Mobile US Inc. in ranking the overall performance of the four national carriers’ networks. Verizon continues to post the best results with AT&T a close second, its report said.
Sprint, with 57.7 million subscribers, recently fell behind fast-growing T-Mobile’s 58.9 million subscribers. The two companies trail the two largest carriers that each have more than 100 million subscribers.
Verizon’s No. 1 network ranking reflected its “excellent” performance across the nation, RootMetrics said. It finished first in five of six categories tested during the first half of this year: data, calls, network reliability and network speed.
AT&T topped the tests for texts and “wasn’t far behind” Verizon in the other categories, the report said.
That left no firsts nationally for Sprint or T-Mobile though each won praise along with recognition of their limits.
“In most categories, Sprint’s scores showed progress in terms of closing the gap with the leaders,” RootMetrics’ report said.
Sprint “made noise” with a tie with AT&T for calls, the report said. Fewer dropped calls showed that better services realized last year in metropolitan markets had spread wider this year.
The Sprint network also showed improved data reliability and produced faster speeds in more markets, the 2015 tests showed.
And in Dayton, Ohio, Sprint placed first outright or in a tie for every category tested, “a first for the network,” RootMetrics said.
T-Mobile showed strong network speed and data performances, the report said. But these were limited to metropolitan markets as “T-Mobile currently lacks the broad coverage to excel” in the national scoring, RootMetrics said.
Sprint has announced plans to boost its network further through various improvements, including using a technology called carrier aggregation in 80 markets initially.
It also plans to add “thousands of new macro sites (or towers), tens of thousands of small cells” on the sides of buildings and similar perches, and to deploy unused wireless data capacity to more existing sites.
“Overall we’re closing the gap on the competition and we expect to soon lead in speed in some key markets,” a statement from the company said.
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