Verizon is still the best mobile network carrier for overall quality, according to a new report. The nation’s biggest consumer wireless company placed first by sweeping all six categories (with one tie) for the second half of 2018, said mobile evaluator RootMetrics.
Verizon placed first in best network overall and also won for reliability, speed, data connections, and calling, RootMetrics said. Like a year earlier, Verizon tied for first place with AT&T for texting.
It was the eleventh consecutive overall win for Verizon in the RootMetrics rankings, which are released twice annually.
AT&T placed second in nationally, with Sprint and T-Mobile bringing up the rear.
The latest report comes as all four major carriers are focused on rolling out even faster 5G networks. But 5G phones won’t be available until later this year and nationwide coverage could take until 2020 or 2021.
T-Mobile and Sprint are also seeking to improve their network by merging. The deal was approved last week by New York state authorities, but federal approval is still pending.
RootMetrics’ methodology is different from several other firms, like Ookla and OpenSignal, which issue ratings based on crowdsourced speed tests performed by customers using free apps on their phones. T-Mobile topped OpenSignal’s most recent download speed ranking, though it tied with or was passed by Verizon in some other categories.
RootMetrics, a unit of IHS Markit, conducts its tests with professionals driving around the country. Its surveyors conducted 3.9 million tests, driving more than 230,000 miles and also checking almost 8,000 indoor locations to compile the latest rankings.
RootMetrics also ranked the carriers in its six categories in each of 125 major metropolitan areas. Verizon won the most awards, at 667, followed by AT&T with 349, T-Mobile with 323 and Sprint with 80.
For raw speed, Verizon (vz) had the most cities where download speeds averaged at least 20 megabits per second, with 111 out of 125 hitting that level. T-Mobile (tmus) had 102, AT&T (t) had 98, and Sprint (s) 55.