Get Garcia: Choosing a Cell Phone Carrier

A company takes a scientific approach to helping consumers choose a cell phone carrier

It’s a common problem for cell phone customers -- how to choose the cell phone carrier with the best service based on where the phone will be used.

Seattle-based RootMetrics is in the business of researching cell phone coverage in cities across America and provide their data to consumers and the carriers.

“Basically what we’re trying to do is enable the voice of the consumer to be heard,” RootMetrics CEO Bill Moore told NBC4’s consumer reporter Ana Garcia.

RootMetrics recently deployed a team of testers to Los Angeles to measure everything from dropped calls to data speeds. The company tested 24 hours per day for seven days, covering about 2,600 miles and conducting 40,000 tests.

Just as heavy car traffic can clog freeways, heavy cell traffic can jam cell phone towers, Moore said.

“It’s not about signal strength or bars; it’s about congestion,” Moore said.

RootMetrics sells its research to the carriers but makes a free consumer version available on its website, where consumers can find out which carrier performs best in the areas where they use their phones the most.

They also offer a free app that makes consumers part of their research team. The app is downloaded onto a phone and creates a footprint of the phone’s coverage as the consumer moves from location to location. RootMetrics incorporates that data into its study results.

The company says it collects no personal data from app users.

“We don’t even know who you are or any phone numbers or anything,” Moore said.

If you have a problem for the Get Garcia, Get Results team call the tip line at (818) 520-TIPS or email

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