A Definitive Mobile Performance Ranking Across New York’s Busiest Subway Train Lines

DULLES, VA – June 30, 2014 –In a test conducted by mobile benchmarking firm Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (GWS) across major subway lines in Manhattan with the highest ridership, GWS identified how well these lines support wireless coverage across the major carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. While it’s known that the New York underground is currently undergoing upgrades, certain lines are seeing better mobile coverage than others

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York serves more than 15 million commuters and tourists per year, across 5,000 square miles of track. Overall, MTA commuters take more than 2.6 billion trips annually, making New York’s subway system one of the busiest worldwide. These commuters are also active mobile device users that are heavily engaged in texting, social media, e-mail, web browsing and video streaming. Because these activities rely on mobile network performance, it’s essential that the quality of coverage remains optimal in order to power consumer mobile activity.

“New York is globally recognized as a beacon of commerce and consumer activity,” said Dr. Paul Carter, president and CEO of GWS. “With this in mind, we were keen to evaluate the current network strength of the city’s pulse: the subway. As mobile activity is arguably among the most consumer-forward technologies, it’s vital to have this access on hand so that the industry can recognize just how far we have to go in meeting consumer needs and demands. After all, it’s 2014. Consumers simply want to know why they can’t use their phones while on the train despite existing in a time of rapid evolution across technology.”

Ranking Mobile Data Performance Across MTA Subway Trains

  1. 7 train (Times Square to Grand Central) – 74 percent success rate
  2. E train (50th Street to Lexington Ave/53rd Street) – 52 percent success rate
  3. 6 train (28th St. to Grand Central) – 35 percent success rate
  4. B, D trains (Columbus Circle to Grand St.) – 23 percent success rates
  5. 1 train (Columbus Circle to South Ferry) – 20 percent success rate
  6. A, C trains (Columbus Circle to Fulton Street) – 16 percent success rates
  7. L train (8th Ave to 1st Ave) – 15 percent success rate
  8. 2, 3 trains (Chambers St. to Wall St.) – 14 percent success rates
  9. J, Z trains (Delancey St. to Broad St.) – 12 percent success rates
  10. (Tied) E train (Canal St. to World Trade Center) – 11 percent success rate; N, Q, R trains (Lexington Ave/59th St. to South Ferry) – 11 percent success rates
  11. F Train (Lafayette St. to East Broadway) – 8 percent success rate

“We weren’t shocked to see that network coverage success rate was generally low across the board,” said Carter. “The New York subway isn’t yet outfitted for successful coverage, this is known. However, it’s apparent that networks and the MTA alike have a long road ahead of them. With networks currently aiming to improve the quality of coverage across all settings and venues—with carriers bolstering in-flight connectivity in the sky and Amtrak moving to increase Wi-Fi speeds along the Northeast Corridor, as recent examples—subway systems worldwide are long due for a mobile upgrade.”


GWS conducted this series of tests in order to evaluate the mobile experience while on-board New York’s MTA subway system, across Manhattan’s most-travelled lines. The tests were conducted using Rohde & Schwarz’s SwissQual QualiPoc Freerider. The Freerider—a portable benchmarking system—was equipped with a combination of four Samsung Galaxy S III and S IV Smartphones. The Freerider was operated by a trained GWS engineer who conducted the assessment tests and obtained performance measurements from the packet data networks of Tier 1 carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon). Testing was conducted between May 5 and May 8, 2014.

About Global Wireless Solutions, Inc.

Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. (www.gwsolutions.com) defines the industry standard for network benchmarking, analysis and testing. Working with some of the world’s largest wireless network providers, Global Wireless Solutions offers standardized, high-quality network data and engineering analysis to its customers through a suite of benchmarking products, including drive testing, in-building testing and App testing.

Firmly rooted in a deep understanding of network engineering, Global Wireless Solutions provides best-in-class, turnkey solutions to help customers better understand overall network performance as today’s wireless networks grow and evolve.

Founded in 1996, Global Wireless Solutions is headquartered in Dulles, VA. At last count, Global Wireless Solutions has driven more than 8 million data collection miles for its customers. For more information, visit www.gwsolutions.com and follow us on Twitter at @gwsolutionsinc

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