During the second half of last year, the network monitor company RootMetrics ran tests on all four major carriers to test call quality, text message quality, and data speeds. According to their results, despite the commonly-held theory, Sprint’s network (in certain aspects) is not as bad as people think.
In order to test all the major carrier’s networks, RootMetrics bought off-the-shelf devices from their carriers and drove about 293,000 miles around the US. The specific areas the tests focused on were reliability, speed and text performance. They mostly checked such tests as how long it took to download emails and how many calls were dropped.
According to the results, Sprint’s call quality has strongly improved compared to the previous testing period. Text messaging quality on Sprint has also improved, with Sprint placing or tying for first 135 times in metropolitan areas. Six months earlier, Sprint was only in the 1st place position 27 times.
With these better results, Sprint is now ranked in 3rd place over T-Mobile for nationwide network quality. However, Sprint is still in 4th place overall in metropolitan areas. For example, for text messaging, Verizon was first or tied for this position 537 times.
For data though, Sprint is far behind the other carriers. For speeds over 10 megabits a second, Sprint only reached those speeds in 10 markets. T-Mobile reached or exceeded those speeds in 108. And Verizon, still the network leader, reached those speeds in 122 markets.
So if you usually place calls and send text messages, but mostly use data on Wifi, Sprint could be a compelling option. But if you need better data speeds, maybe wait for the next set of results to see if the network gets better.