Verizon was named the "undisputed leader" for U.S. wireless coverage and network reliability for the second half of 2016 at the city, state and national levels, based on millions of field tests conducted by RootMetrics.
Verizon benefited from its LTE-Advanced service started in summer of 2016, which provided a significant boost to Verizon's download speeds, RootMetrics said in a report released Thursday.
Separately, Verizon announced on Wednesday that it will deliver 5G wireless service to pilot customers in 11 cities by mid-2017. Those cities include Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Seattle and Washington.
RootMetrics said Verizon won for the second consecutive testing period across all six testing categories nationally for overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance, call performance and text performance. AT&T finished second in five of the six categories, except for finishing third behind Sprint in call performance.
National rankings by RootMetrics put Verizon at 93.9, AT&T at 90.5, Sprint at 84.7 and T-Mobile at 81.2. The company said Verizon could face stronger competition in coming months as AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile expand their LTE footprints beyond metro areas where they are strongest.
RootMetrics performed nearly 3.7 million tests while driving nearly 250,000 miles or while walking at more than 4,200 indoor locations. RootMetrics uses off-the-shelf smartphones purchased at the stores of the U.S. operators.
Verizon finished first or tied for overall performance in 116 of the 125 cities, while AT&T won or shared the lead in 55 cities, T-Mobile in 25 cities and Sprint in 9 cities.