Sprint holds on to third in RootMetrics tests

RootMetrics ranked Verizon first in overall performance among the four national wireless companies. Overland Park-based Sprint was third.
RootMetrics ranked Verizon first in overall performance among the four national wireless companies. Overland Park-based Sprint was third.

Sprint remained the nation’s third-best wireless carrier, ahead of its larger rival T-Mobile, according to tests by RootMetrics.

RootMetrics ranked the four nationwide carriers by five categories and by an overall performance score.

T-Mobile has been adding customers faster than the other companies and surpassed Sprint last year, becoming the third largest. It finished fourth in the new test that covered the second half of 2015.

The overall rankings were unchanged from tests in the first half of 2015.

Nationally, the prize again went to Verizon for winning at least a tie in all six rankings. Only AT&T plucked any other national win, a tie with Verizon for best text performance.

The report highlighted carriers’ performance with awards within states and within larger metropolitan markets as well.

In Kansas City, RootMetrics already had said Sprint ranked third, behind T-Mobile and Verizon, which tied for first in the testing for the second half of 2015. Sprint had been tied with Verizon for first in the earlier 2015 report.

Sprint highlighted its gains in the RootMetrics results Thursday and continued to promote results from Nielsen Mobile Performance tests. Sprint said Nielsen found that its LTE Plus network, which has brought additional technology and resources to some markets, is faster than the other carriers’ networks.

The RootMetrics race for first was closer than its rankings suggested. AT&T placed a close second in four of the six national scores, continuing its competitive performance in the RootMetrics tests.

“AT&T has consistently remained a strong number two performer behind Verizon in a majority of categories in our United States testing for five consecutive test periods,” RootMetrics said.

Sprint was second in the call performance tests.

Overall, Sprint stayed ahead of T-Mobile in part by improving its network’s LTE performance and by offering broader coverage, according to RootMetrics.

“If Sprint can continue its LTE expansion efforts beyond metro areas, Sprint could close the gap with the other networks in multiple categories at the United States level,” RootMetrics said.

Its report noted an ongoing difference between T-Mobile’s network in metropolitan areas and outside them.

“If you primarily use your smartphone in a major metropolitan area, T-Mobile remains a strong choice,” its report said. “Even though urban areas carry more weight in our results, it appears that T-Mobile currently lacks broad enough coverage to excel in our national or state RootScore studies.”

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar