Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) today announced AT&T finished first in GWS’ annual OneScore ranking — the most definitive test of mobile network performance. As a result, AT&T earned the title of “Nation’s Best Network”, while Verizon finished second and T-Mobile placed third.
GWS’ OneScore ranking is the most definitive evaluation of today’s 4G/5G networks as it combines controlled, scientific tests of the major networks with consumer survey feedback that identifies performance factors and features most important to consumers. The 2021 OneScore survey also focused heavily on consumers’ perceptions on 5G availability and benefits, as 62% of consumers surveyed indicated they had 5G coverage available where they lived.
Wireless Network Benchmarking Results
AT&T networks received top marks for video and voice performance as well as reliability, while Verizon had the fastest upload speeds and best coverage, and T-Mobile did the best on the network capacity stress tests. Highlights from GWS’ tests include:
- Download Speeds – Verizon was awarded top marks for the small download task category, such as receiving app-related content or loading web pages, while AT&T dominated the large download task category (receiving photos and videos).
- Upload Speeds – Verizon had the fastest upload speeds for both small and large upload tasks, such as posting social media content, photos, and videos. This is the second consecutive year Verizon notched victories in these categories.
- Network Capacity Stress Tests – T-Mobile had the fastest average throughputs when GWS stress-tested the networks to highlight the maximum throughputs possible at any given time; Verizon was next followed by AT&T.
- Data Reliability – AT&T had the highest success rate across the nation in completing data tasks followed by Verizon and then T-Mobile.
- Video Streaming – AT&T performed best across the three video categories earning top marks in both video quality and least amount of buffering, and tying with Verizon for the quickest time to load a video.
- Voice Calls – When asked if consumers could only use their cell phone for one function or service, consumers indicated that making or receiving voice calls was the most critical mobile phone function to them – continuing this trend from the last several OneScore surveys. AT&T met these consumers’ demands by topping the categories for best voice quality, voice accessibility (highest number of successful call initiations), and voice retainability (least number of dropped calls).
- Coverage: AT&T and T-Mobile both increased their service coverage since our previous nationwide testing in 2020. However, Verizon still has the most coverage in the areas tested.
- 5G: As announced earlier in July, GWS’ annual evaluation found that AT&T had the most reliable 5G nationwide network (completing the most data transfer tasks performed on its 5G networks) while T-Mobile scored the fastest 5G throughput speeds during GWS’ network capacity stress tests. Overall, when looking at all the 5G test results (i.e., taking into account reliability, data tasks using different file sizes, and video testing) and factoring in consumer feedback, AT&T had the Best 5G OneScore followed by Verizon then T-Mobile. AT&T also had the Best 5G Video OneScore followed by Verizon then T-Mobile (taking into account video quality, least amount of buffering, quickest time to load, and video success rate along with customer feedback).
“Most third-party wireless network benchmarking organizations fail to account for a critical component of network performance in their analysis – the wants and needs of consumers who use these networks,” said Dr. Paul Carter, founder and CEO of GWS. “Each year, GWS seeks out consumer feedback through the survey portion of the OneScore. This year’s survey results showed consumers were considerably more aware and excited about 5G than they were in 2020.”
OneScore 5G Consumer Survey Results
The 2021 survey portion of the OneScore specifically focused on consumer perceptions around 5G availability, benefits and usage. Key findings include:
- Consumer awareness and enthusiasm for 5G improved significantly from the previous year. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers said 5G coverage was available where they lived, up from 46% in 2020. Furthermore, nearly 75% of respondents are excited or somewhat excited at the prospects that 5G brings for future innovation.
- AT&T subscribers tapped into 5G benefits the most. 73% of AT&T subscribers noted they had 5G coverage where they live and 61% said they had accessed 5G on their AT&T smartphone this year.
- 5G drives increased smartphone gaming. 76% of consumers who had access to 5G on their current smartphone played more than one hour of games on their phone, compared to only 56% of consumers who played games on their 4G phone.
To learn more about GWS’ OneScore and the 2021 Best Network USA, visit www.gwsolutions.com/bestnetwork-usa.
Methodology and Notes to editors:
GWS conducted direct benchmark testing in all 50 states from March to July 2021. GWS drove nearly one million miles across 498 markets throughout the U.S. during the testing process, resulting in the completion of approximately 8 million individual controlled tests.
GWS’ collection and evaluation of data were conducted using Rohde & Schwarz SmartBenchmarker test equipment, Samsung Galaxy mobile devices, and GWS’ MobiStat data evaluation and reporting platform.
All survey figures, unless stated otherwise, are from a study commissioned by GWS and conducted by Toluna. Total sample size was 5,000 adults (ages 18 and older). Fieldwork was undertaken between June 24 and July 12, 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adult Americans.
About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.:
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Global Wireless Solutions, headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, has set the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Its proprietary OneScore network ranking combines network testing data with real-world network usage scenarios to make the results relatable and easy to understand. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, GWS offers network engineering and consumer behavior analysis through a suite of products, services, and diagnostic apps. Whether it’s getting customer feedback (OneMeasure Consumer Panel) or having big data access to do network performance evaluations (MobiStat), GWS offers solutions that complement its drive, venue and in-building testing services. At last count, GWS has driven 14 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc.