Top US Markets for Mobile Voice and Data Services Identified

April 4, 2008

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Out-of-Home | Technology

US mobile subscribers in West Palm Beach, FL enjoy the best voice network service in the country, and St. Louis, MO has the fastest 3G data networks, according to Nielsen Mobile finding released at CTIA WIRELESS 2008 in Las Vegas.

Numerous variables, such as topography, zoning, carrier investment, and subscriber growth, impact network quality.

San Antonio, Texas; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Chicago, Illinois were also among the top five cities with the highest call success rates.

  • Cities with top 10 voice networks averaged a 99.2% successful call rate; on average, 0.3% of all calls in these cities were dropped.
  • Network performance varied across the top 50 US cities, with an average successful call rate of 97.2%.

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Salt Lake City, Utah; Phoenix, Arizona; San Diego, California; and Indianapolis, Indiana rounded out the top five cities with the fastest 3G data networks.

  • At 807 kilobits per second (kbps), St. Louis’s average download speed was 17% faster than ninth-ranked Washington, DC, where the average speed was 688 kbps.
  • Among the cities with top ranked 3G data networks, the average download speed for a 4 megabyte (MB) file was 727 kbps – an increase of more than 100 kbps over the top market average measured during the second half of 2006.

“Carriers continued to expand their 3G data network footprints in 2007, while maintaining the high level of voice service that subscribers have become accustomed to,” said Mike Greenawald, VP, Consumer Experience, Nielsen Mobile. “That trend will continue in 2008, as carriers continue to enhance their 3G service offerings.”

Nielsen defines a “successful call” as one established and maintained for at least two minutes. These findings, based on an average of over 15,000 calls per market across the top 50 cities, also take into account the number of ineffective call attempts, in which a customer hits send but can’t get on the network, and calls dropped within two minutes of being established on the network.

Nielsen evaluates data markets by calculating average data transaction speeds for a 4 MB file downloaded in a mobile environment. These findings are based on an average of 4,100 3G data downloads per city across the top 50 cities.

(Also see findings from Nielsen Mobile’s bi-annual Mobile Advertising Report.)

About the data: Data for this analysis was captured by Nielsen’s fleet of 25 vans, which log more than one million drive-test miles, place over four million calls, and set up over 1,250,000 data sessions each year. The data they collect is integrated with Nielsen’s consumer research to provide complete understanding and measurement of mobile consumers. Nielsen’s fleet is expanding globally, starting with India in 2008.

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