RootMetrics app compares cellular phone networks

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A new app that crowdsources information about voice and data speeds on competing cellular phone networks has made its debut on the iPhone.

RootMetrics, an offering from Root Wireless, debuted in the App Store on November 6. The app is designed to let users in two dozen cities use their mobile phones to test the local strength of the AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile cellular networks. Users can also report dropped calls, poor signal, and Internet outages right in RootMetrics, and they can view the aggregated results of all the tests to see which network works best in their neighborhood.

So far, the app is available only for the iPhone—which, unless jailbroken, is exclusively an AT&T product in the U.S. The company promises that an Android app will be available within weeks, followed by Blackberry and Windows 7 versions, but it is already offering data results for the other three cellular phone networks.

Michael Brennan, a Root Wireless spokesman, said Friday that data for the other networks largely reflects information collected last spring during a trial run of the app on Android and Blackberry handsets that collected data without displaying the results to users. Those devices were chosen for the test because they’re available on all four carriers.

“Users who installed the app then are still collecting data for us,” Brennan said. The early results showed that AT&T had the strongest network in 14 markets.

The RootMetrics app is free, and compatible with any iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 running iOS 4.1 or later.

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