Chart: The best (and worst) wireless carriers in Seattle

As we head into the holidays, many Americans are weighing new smartphone purchases. That’s especially the case with the blockbuster arrival last week of Apple’s new iPhone 4S on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. But, as we all know, it is not just about the phone itself.

You’ve got to have a solid network operating in the background. In Seattle, at least according to a new report out today from RootMetrics, the best choice at the moment for wireless service is Verizon. After more than 27,000 call, data and text tests in the Seattle area, Verizon came out on top as having the fastest and most reliable network.

At 14.5 Mbps, the Verizon network’s average download speed was faster than the maximum download speeds of any other carrier. Meanwhile, its average 9.6 Mbps upload speed was more than eight times faster than the closest rival.

That was a big jump from the last report by RootMetrics in which Verizon ranked third.

AT&T and T-Mobile tied for second in network performance, followed by Sprint which recorded just 0.5 Mbps in 37 percent of the RootMetrics’ tests. That was a big fall for Sprint, which ranked first for network performance in tests earlier this year.

“More than anything else, our visits to the Seattle area show just how quickly the mobile performance landscape is changing,” the report says.

To test the networks, RootMetrics used a HTC myTOuch 4G Slide from T-Mobile; a HTC Thunderbolt from Verizon; the Samsung Epic from Sprint; and the Samsung Infuse from AT&T. Tests were conducted both indoors and outdoors across some 2,400 miles in the Seattle area.

Interestingly, the report found that data failures were higher in Seattle than in other markets.

  • Notgeeked at WTIA

    No Way!!!! “Data failures were higher in Seattle than in other markets.”

  • Guest

    What does this statement mean:  “Tests were conducted both indoors and outdoors across some 2,400 miles in the Seattle area.”

    It’s about 2400 miles from here to New York, so….

  • http://www.rootmetrics.com Julie

    Hi. This is Julie from RootMetrics. To follow up
    on the question of mileage, during the seven days of testing in the Seattle
    area, we covered about 2,400 miles of territory all throughout the Seattle
    Urbanized Area. That’s a lot of driving, right?

  • http://twitter.com/RedRussak ‘Red’ Russak

    Great timing for this article as my contract is due and I’m looking to upgrade and possibly switch to Verizon. Very tempted after seeing this. Would love more help with this decision if you have more facts to add.

  • Guest

    This is good news for Verizon! I was considering switching from T-Mobile to Sprint due to the former’s horrible performance, but it looks like Verizon is the only viable option in Seattle.

  • DJLEE

    I’m assuming then this was testing 4G speeds by looking at the phones used?  Asking this because since the iPhone 4S was mentioned, would of been nice to see the speeds vs. all the networks 3G around the Seattle area.  I clarification would be nice as I’m assuming Verizon was the fastest b/c of their LTE network.  

  • Guest

    Misleading. You can’t compare LTE speeds against non-LTE speeds. The vast majority of Verizon customers experience nothing like these results.

    • Guest

      The vast majority of mobile customers use their phones for speech and texting. Doesn’t mean this information is meaningless to those who use their phones for more productive purposes.

  • Andrew Skalet

    As others have pointed out, it’s apples and oranges to mention the iPhone 4S and declare Verizon the winner.  Verizon speeds are indeed amazing on the 4G LTE Thunderbolt, but the iPhone 4S doesn’t have this radio at all!