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Summary:

Want a new iPhone, but not sure which U.S. carrier is best suited for your needs? Enter CarrierCompare, a free iPhone app that uses real network tests in your location combined with crowdsourced data to help you choose the carrier that’s right for you.

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Want a new iPhone, but not sure which U.S. carrier is best suited for your needs? Enter CarrierCompare, an iPhone app that uses real network tests in your location combined with crowdsourced data to help you choose the carrier that’s right for you. The app isn’t brand new as it launched about two weeks ago, but it’s still an effective way to help determine coverage and speed by carrier for your next iPhone.

The semi-odd thing is that the app is iOS only, meaning you need an existing iPhone on a carrier to figure out if you have the “right” carrier. Regardless, CarrierCompare is a sound approach. It first performs a speed test on your current iPhone to see what service your carrier is providing at your location. The app then uses speedtests and data from other iPhones in your area to compare the three major carriers: Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

One of the key metrics the app initially provided — signal strength — is no longer available, although speed test data and network latency is still there. The signal strength data was pulled from the app at Apple’s request. SwayMarkets, the developers of Carrier Compare note on their site that they’re working with Apple:

“We had to remove signal strength from CarrierCompare to remain in compliance with our developer agreement with Apple and avoid having our apps pulled from the App Store entirely. Apple has been very cooperative through this process, and we are pursuing ways of bringing signal strength back in the future.

As mentioned in the CarrierCompare update description, signal strength has the smallest impact on the quality of your data experience, so the rankings we present will continue to focus on that. We recognize signal strength is an important metric for comparing voice quality, and we encourage you to mention it in your reviews and emails to us if it’s particularly important to you.”

CarrierCompare is available in a free, ad-supported version and also for $1.99 without ads. Hopefully, the signal strength data will be added back as every metric is important when comparing carrier coverage.

In the meantime, if you don’t yet have an iPhone or simply want to check carrier coverage in general, I highly recommend hitting the Root Metrics site: The company has been aggregating crowdsourced data on mobile network performance for several years across all handsets and platforms. It provides highly detailed maps based on the data.

  1. Looks a cool app for iPhone users but not good for me. I am on Verizon and i m happy with it :)

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  2. Root Metrics only has data from 62 U.S. cities, hardly a comprehensive database collected over several years. Not much of a help for those with real problems in smaller towns and rural areas trying to pick the best carrier. The cities are blanketed with coverage already anyway.

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    1. Hi Glenn. Thanks for checking out RootMetrics. We wanted to let you know that, unlike other resources, we actually provide users with two streams of complementary data: we have millions of data points gathered from consumers who have chosen our CovereageMap app, supplemented with our own professional testing in markets across the country. The 62 cities that you refer to is the number of markets we have professionally tested, not the total number of cities we have data for. We have crowdsourced data available for countless other areas, allowing you to search all the way down to your local address. Thanks for the interest, Glenn, and we invite you to take another look at RootMetrics and use our app to test in exactly those smaller town and rural areas you mention.

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  3. Wow, looks like Carriercompare copied what Root Metrics came up with like 5 years ago. Simply genius guys.

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