As the MWC Americas conference started to wind down on Thursday, Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS) focused on completing its final performance testing of the four wireless national carriers throughout the Moscone Center. GWS gathered the results using Rohde & Schwarz’s SwissQual Freerider platform connected to Samsung Galaxy S8 devices.
On the final day, all four networks successfully completed all voice calls (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon were all VoLTE). For those of you keeping track, this means that GWS did not experience a single call failure all week while testing at the MWCA. The main differentiator from this week’s voice testing is that Sprint consistently exhibited weaker audio quality than the other networks, mostly in isolated pockets within the North and South Halls.
On Day 3 (Thursday), Sprint had one data task failure while Verizon got hit with three task failures. Sprint and Verizon each failed a task near the 4YFN Networking Lounge in South Hall. During the entire week, AT&T and T-Mobile did not have a single task failure on their networks while Verizon experienced 11 task failures and Sprint had two.
As far as throughputs go, consistency was the name of the game this week. Except for T-Mobile’s uploads, average throughputs only deviated between 5-10% from the previous day’s results. T-Mobile did have a 30% decline in upload speeds from Day 1 to Day 2, but recovered half of that back on Day 3. The rank of each network’s average speed never changed from day to day: AT&T consistently delivered 62-67 Mbps download, T-Mobile and Sprint both hovered around 48-54 Mbps, while Verizon rounded out with 39-42 Mbps.
AT&T was able to obtain top speeds even though it had the least bandwidth deployed. In particular, AT&T was in CA1 mode 75% of the time with a total of 30 MHz but also benefitted from 256QAM. T-Mobile used CA1 60% of the time with a total 35 MHz bandwidth and also had 256QAM. Sprint maxed out at 64QAM, but had 40 MHz deployed (admittedly as TD-LTE on its 2500-MHz spectrum) and used CA1 85% of the time. Verizon was in CA2 about 90% of the time with a total of 40 MHz of bandwidth but no 256QAM. Verizon was the only network to use CA2 extensively throughout the halls, but the T-Mobile device did get a taste of CA2 outside while walking from West Hall to North Hall.
We put the weekly numbers through GWS’s OneScore algorithm, which weighs and combines all of the various voice and data KPI results and provides a single score on a scale from 0 to 10 (with 10 being the best). The OneScore rankings for overall network performance during the entire three day conference, highest to lowest, were as follows: AT&T (9.73), T-Mobile (9.59), Verizon (9.55), and Sprint (9.18).
Testing is now complete! So how did the networks do at this year’s first MWCA in San Francisco? According to GWS CEO, Dr. Paul Carter: “All four networks had an impressive three-day run. The operators had their networks well prepared and were able to deliver impressive results to handle the large crowds, providing reliable voice service and fast data connectivity. Using GWS’s proprietary OneScore methodology, AT&T clearly led the pack during this year’s show. Let’s see what happens at next year’s MWCA!”