Verizon hasn’t taken kindly to OpenSignal’s finding that its Un-carrier rival T-Mobile is closing in.
The carrier on Thursday issued a statement refuting OpenSignal’s assertion that T-Mobile is within “a stone’s throw of matching Verizon signal for signal,” calling the firm’s testing methods “limited” and “non-scientific” and its data outdated.
According to a Verizon spokeswoman, OpenSignal’s data has some “significant shortcomings.” The spokeswoman said the firm only has a limited number of its own testers, and heavily leans on crowdsourced data. The latter, the spokeswoman said, favors densely populated areas and “doesn’t reflect the depth and breadth of the 2.4 million square miles of our 4G LTE coverage.”
Verizon’s spokeswoman instead posited baseline testing from other third party firms like RootMetrics, J.D. Power, and Nielsen were more accurate.
“We have found baseline tests from third party testers do a better job of reflecting the actual customer experience,” she wrote. “And in those tests, there is no real comparison.”
T-Mobile execs weren’t impressed by Verizon’s clapback.
But Recon Analytics’ Roger Entner back in August weighed in on the merits of drive testing verses crowd sourced data and came down on the side of testing that is both equitable and repeatable.
“When I look at network testing, I look at a scientifically repeatable process where all networks are measured at the same time, at the same place, repeatable, (and) controlled, so that we can measure really the network on the same device across all the carriers. And you can only do that with drive testing,” Entner said. “When you do crowd testing, you’re introducing a whole array of different phones and different locations. And with different phones, one of the dirty little secrets about wireless is that every phone is not identical. Different phones perform differently on different networks.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the metrics cited by Verizon show the carrier in a favorable light, with Verizon leading 93 percent of RootMetrics’ metro tests and J.S. Power ranking the carrier number one 17 survey periods in a row. That’s not to say OpenSignal’s report was harsh on Verizon – the carrier still won in 4G availability and latency, and tied T-Mobile in 4G and overall download speed.
Ultimately, though, the Verizon spokeswoman noted the “real test of a network is what customers think.” And on that metric, she said Verizon has the highest customer loyalty and lowest churn compared to the competition.
While it’s true that Verizon is certainly ahead of T-Mobile in terms of churn, I think T-Mobile CEO John Legere would argue the Un-carrier’s massive postpaid phone net additions tell a different story.
So yes, Verizon is ahead in churn for now, but we’ll see how long it stays that way.