Kevin Hunt: Is AT&T Now Hartford Area's Fastest Wireless Network?


Got AT&T LTE? If so, your wireless service is the fastest, most reliable in Greater Hartford.

AT&T? For those who thought this is Verizon territory, the latest performance report from RootMetrics released March 29 shows how far AT&T has come since installing high-speed 4G LTE (as in fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution) service here as part aof a $750 million wireless-network upgrade in the state the past three years.

AT&T's increased data speeds pushed it past Verizon into first place, for the first time, in combined performance that includes data, call and text. Yet AT&T had no clear advantage over Verizon in any category — the report establishes them as Greater Hartford's new No. 1 and 1A carriers. AT&T finished first with a 97 score, ahead of Verizon (94), T-Mobile (78) and Sprint (77).

For texts and calls, T-Mobile and Sprint were comparable to top two. For downloading email, using the Web or apps and overall network speed, however, AT&T and Verizon were easily the best.

These snapshot averages do not guarantee always-fast, always-on service. Without a nearby tower, they don't mean much. Verizon, which completed a $256 million wireless-network upgrade last year in New England, says the RootMetrics report does not reflect its LTE coverage advantage over AT&T. (Here's Verizon's 4G LTE coverage map. Here's AT&T's coverage map. 

'"While some competitors advertise 4G coverage, they often lack three letters — L-T-E," says Verizon spokesman Michael Murphy. "Among the four major wireless carriers, only Verizon Wireless' 4G network is 100 percent 4G LTE."

That, he says, is why Verizon's network was awarded New England's best in a J.D. Power customer survey released last month.

Here's a closer look at the RootMetrics study, which measured performance with 24,000 mobile tests.

Calls

1.Verizon (96)

2.AT&T (96)

3.T-Mobile (94)

4.Sprint (93)

Comment: If call performance is all you need in a mobile phone, look for the best deal from any of these carriers. AT&T and Verizon each had call-failure rates below 1 percent.

In the previous report, released last October, 3.8 percent of AT&T calls failed. An astounding 7.6 percent of Sprint calls and 6.2 percent of T-Mobile calls failed in that report. Both showed dramatic improvement in the March report, with Sprint's failure rate 2.2 percent and T-Mobile 1.4 percent.

Data

1.AT&T (98)

2.Verizon (90)

3.T-Mobile (57)

4.Sprint (56)

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