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Quantifying Reliability Experience in the U.S.

In this new analysis, we take a closer look at Reliability Experience in the U.S. and the increasing importance of reliable networks to mobile users. T-Mobile leads for Reliability Experience nationally, with Verizon close behind. Additionally, we also look at regional variations in Reliability Experience.      

Opensignal’s new Reliability Experience metric measures how consistently users can connect and maintain a connection to their mobile network to successfully carry out typical activities such as emailing, video streaming, and using navigation applications without interruption.

In the 2023 Opensignal U.S. Household Survey, over 55,000 respondents were asked to select the top three factors they consider when evaluating a wireless carrier. Reliability was the second most chosen option, just after cost. Reliability received three times as many votes as speed. This highlights that mobile users value reliable network services more than faster speeds.

By dividing the survey participants into different age groups, it is clear that their preferences change with age. Older mobile users tend to prioritize reliable connectivity over fast speeds, while the younger age groups place more importance in mobile speeds — although still less than in Reliability. In financial terms, older customers have higher customer lifetime values (CLV) to operators because they churn less frequently than their younger peers. This suggests that Reliability is a crucial factor in the acquisition and retention of customers that present the highest customer lifetime value.

In the U.S. T-Mobile ranks first for Reliability Experience on a national level. However, Verizon is not far behind, with only a single point separating the two carriers. AT&T is slightly behind its rivals but still scores a respectable 875 points. We evaluated the overall Reliability Experience over a 90-day period starting from December 1, 2023, and ending on February 28, 2024. While these results cover the recent AT&T outage, the associated drop in AT&T’s score does not affect its ranking.

In our recently published Global Reliability Experience Report, we analyzed Reliability Experience across multiple global markets, with the U.S. ranking highly globally — finishing in the top third of the 40 examined markets, and top in the Americas. Additionally, we have also released a detailed analysis of operator-level Reliability Experience performance in several other countries.

When looking at the reliability of wireless providers in different regions, T-Mobile leads Reliability in the Southwest and Southeast. On the other hand, Verizon comes first in the Midwest and Northeast regions. Verizon’s Northeast score is the highest regional score in the country. This can likely be attributed to Verizon’s legacy wireline presence in the Northeast, which is home to all its Verizon FiOS (fiber-to-the-home) markets. Additionally Verizon has extensive rural mobile coverage in the region. In the Northeast all three operators score higher for Reliability Experience than any operator in the West. This highlights the challenges of providing service to less densely populated areas. Service availability is a key component in our Reliability Experience metric, which measures every aspect of the user’s experience of their carrier’s mobile data network: when it’s working flawlessly, erratically, or not at all.


The defined regions are comprised of the following states:     
West - Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming     
Southwest - Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas     
Midwest - Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin     
Southeast - Alabama, Arkansas, Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia     
Northeast - Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont