By Paul Gorski
I was recently forwarded an e-mail: “Verizon Wireless named best in Rockford, and opens new cell sites,” which contained a link to a local smartphone study. You might even find a copy of the “news” online here at The Rock River Times. Beware the PR (public relations) machine!
The embedded link sent me to a Root Metrics (http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/rockford/rockford-il-september-2013/) smartphone study. The study gives a marginal lead to Verizon Wireless over AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in Rockford. However, the study completely neglects a major Rockford carrier, US Cellular.
A description of the survey methods is posted at: http://rootmetrics.com/compare-carriers/united-states/rockford/rockford-il-september-2013/. There, I found a major flaw in the test methodology: different phones were used for the different carriers. Samsung Android-based phones were used to test the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile networks, whereas an HTC Droid DNA was used to test the Verizon network.
Based on my own testing and research, as I’ve written about here, I would expect any Motorola phone from Verizon, AT&T or US Cellular to get a stronger signal in the same region, compared to a competing manufacturer’s phone, with the exception of HTC. I’d expect many HTC phones to offer reception similar to that of Motorola phones. The HTC hardware may have given Verizon the edge.
A more robust test would have also included Apple iPhones, where possible. While researchers are not quite sure why, iPhone users use their phones “differently” from Android phone users. This may have affected the test results. More on iOS vs. Android usage at: http://www.tech-thoughts.net/2012/11/ios-android-usage-engagement-patterns.html#.Ui6mWbzGWXQ.
As you might have guessed, I don’t think much of this Root Metrics study. There are too many flaws for it to provide useful information.
That’s not to say Verizon doesn’t offer good service. I may not be able to get a strong Verizon signal at my house, and Verizon knows this, but many people are quite happy with Verizon. I have wireless service from US Cellular, AT&T, and yes, Verizon Wireless. Why? I have different wireless needs in different areas of Rockford.
Before you buy a new smartphone, I encourage you to read “Tech-Friendly: Test drive your next smartphone before you buy” in the Jan 9-15 issue. (http://rockrivertimes.com/2013/01/09/tech-friendly-test-drive-your-next-smartphone-before-you-buy/.)
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
From the Sept. 11-17, 2013, issue