CNET to Launch First Independent Wireless Service Coverage Map

CNET Poll Finds One in Four Consumers Return Cell Phones Due to Poor Service

In Partnership with Root Wireless, New Service Will Offer Unbiased, Third-Party Analysis of all Major Wireless Carriers Coverage Quality

Now Testing in Beta in 8 Major Markets Including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dallas and Orange County

Oct 06, 2009, 10:47 ET from CNET

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- CNET (, where people go to discover the latest in tech and consumer electronics, today announced it will launch the first ever independent wireless service coverage map for consumers. Developed by Root Wireless, Inc., a developer of patent-pending technology and services that audit and analyze cellular network performance, the new service will offer cell phone and smartphone users an objective analysis of network performance, measuring the quality and reliability of voice and data connectivity where they most often use their service. The result is the Web's most powerful tool for determining which of the four major wireless carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless - is best suited to each individual consumer.

Root Coverage(TM) service on CNET is now testing in beta in eight major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dallas and Orange County. As coverage continues to roll out in additional cities nationwide over the coming months, users will get a detailed report on specific cell phones and the specific carrier's overall performance in given areas. The report will include:

  • Signal View - Displays the average signal strength and the number of signal bars for the selected carrier in a specified area.
  • Data - View granular details on data connectivity performance such as 2G and 3G coverage and measured data speeds for the selected carrier and specified area.
  • Network - Highlights specific network problems such as no signal/dead zones, failure to establish a data connection or areas likely to have hand off errors between phones and cell towers.

In an online poll conducted on, a quarter of respondents surveyed (26%) had returned a cell phone due to poor service and 45% feel there is not enough information available on service quality when making a cell phone purchase decision. In general, respondent s have had more issues with their cell service provider (37%) than the device itself (21%) and nearly half report they are very of somewhat likely to switch providers with their next cell phone purchase.

Today, many cellular coverage maps are based largely on distance from the closest cell tower. In reality, however, coverage is dependent on a range of factors including terrain, time of day, number of users and even handset manufacturer. To improve the collection of data, Root Wireless developed a specialized client application that resides on consumer phones, which is used to record performance data such as data throughput, dropped calls, and signal strength. That data is collected and displayed on an interactive map for users to explore to see what's really happening in their neighborhood. Over the coming year, CNET and Root Wireless will work together to roll out the service nationwide.

"Our users have told us that cell reception is one of the number one reasons for dissatisfaction with their provider. This causes frustration for consumers, as well as for the manufacturers and retailers who strive to provide their customers with the best service and products to meet their needs," said Joe Gillespie, Executive Vice President, CBS Interactive Technology & News. "The wireless coverage maps on CNET will help solve this pain point, both for consumers and the industry with reliable, unbiased coverage maps that help people find the best carrier for them."

"We are very fortunate as CNET is the ideal launch partner for Root Wireless," said Paul Griff, Root Wireless' chief executive officer. "As the top destination for cellular consumers seeking advice and reviews, CNET clearly does a great job delivering its readers with timely news, including the relative strengths and weaknesses of competing networks - now right down to the streets where people live and work."

About CNET

CNET ( is where people go to discover the latest in tech and consumer electronics. Driven by a trusted voice and a passionate community, CNET creates an open environment for people to find and use the best products to fit their lifestyle. The powerful combination of CNET's award-winning news, lab-tested product reviews, safe and spyware-free downloads, and user-generated content give people information and inspiration to live and thrive in a life gone digital.

About CBS Interactive

CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation, is the best online content network for information and entertainment. With more than 200 million people visiting its properties each month, it is the 9th largest Web property globally. Its portfolio of leading brands, which include CNET,,, GameSpot,, BNET and, span popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and business.

About Root Wireless

Root Wireless is the developer of Root Coverage(TM) service, cellular network performance mapping created by patent-pending technologies that audit and analyze cellular network performance. The Bellevue, WA-based company's products include Root Mobile(TM), a network scouting and crowdsourcing application that unobtrusively turns smartphones into network monitoring devices that measure the quality and reliability of cellular voice and data connectivity services, as well as the over-the-air performance of handsets connecting to the networks. For more information, please visit