AT&T rises, Verizon falls in recent Fresno cellular, data performance

Recent testing by independent mobile analytics firm RootMetrics shows improved call and data performance by AT&T Wirelesss in the Fresno market, while Verizon uncharacteristically slipped into third place.

RootMetrics, based in Bellevue, Washington, used off-the-shelf smartphones to conduct its testing between Feb. 25 and March 2. The company’s testers performed a total of more than 19,300 tests — phone calls, data downloads and uploads, and text messages — at 27 indoor and outdoor locations and while driving more than 800 miles around the Fresno area.

AT&T earned the top spot in the weeklong snapshot, said RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore, based on an increase of more than 50% in its data download speeds as well as the reliability in phone service measured in dropped calls. “They were almost perfect in their call performance, and their speed on downloads went from 11.4 megabits per second last July to 18.4 last month.”

T-Mobile ranked second in the overall rating, with Verizon third and Sprint in fourth.

Verizon, which had topped the overall rating in the previous testing round last summer, “actually was quite a bit worse in call drops and we weigh reliability heavier in our overall score,” Moore said. He added that Verizon’s data download speed also dipped from 14 mbps in July to 12 mbps this time.

On smartphones and other mobile devices, Moore said the differences in download speeds would be hard for most people to notice. But call quality and dropped calls “are something a consumer would notice as they move around in the market,” he added.

This was the seventh time that RootMetrics has visited the Fresno area. The company conducts tests every six months in the 125 largest U.S. metro areas, as well as at the nation’s busiest airports. Moore said carriers’ scores can fluctuate from one test period to the next depending on network improvements and other factors.