Best and worst US cell services: How does your city rank on mobile connectivity?

Don't move to Denver if you depend on fast cellular services to make your living.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The cities that offered the best, and worst, mobile performance.

Image: RootMetrics

Big cities can't seem to deliver a decent mobile experience, according to a new report by RootMetrics.

The analytics firm, which tests cell-service performance across the US, has published a new report that ranks the best and worst locations for mobile consumers in 125 metro areas in the first half of 2016. It gave a score out of 100 to each area based on the reliability, speed, data, and call and text performance of available cell services.

With a population of less than 350,000, the top-performing area was Lansing, MI, which RootMetrics gave a score of 98.5. Lansing's median download speed from Sprint was 15.5Mbps while T-Mobile's was 41.5Mbps.

Just behind Lansing, MI, other metro areas in the top five list included Indianapolis, IN; Atlanta, GA; Milwaukee, WI; and Chicago, IL.

At the very bottom of the pile for overall performance was Hudson Valley, NY. Just ahead of it, were Omaha, NE; Scranton, PA; Santa Rosa, CA; and Lancaster, PA.

The two largest areas by population, New York and the Tri-State Area and Los Angeles, ranked a lowly 76 and 94, respectively, in the study.

Arguably, the most important measure of a mobile experience is speed and here again, residents of Lansing as well as Atlanta are ahead of the pack. Besides T-Mobile's blazing fast speeds in Lansing, RootMetrics notes that in both areas, Verizon's speeds topped 30Mbps.

At the other end of the spectrum, with download speeds below 10Mbps, was Denver, CO. Other bottom dwellers in the speed stakes were Boise, ID; McAllen, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and Colorado Springs, CO.

Mobile and fixed-line broadband analytics firm Ookla also released its Speedtest report for the first six months of 2016.

According to its results, fixed broadband customers in the US are now, for the first time, averaging speeds of over 50Mbps, which is up 40 percent on the same time last year. Meanwhile, average mobile speeds are up 30 percent to 19.27Mbps compared with last year.

As Ookla notes, those speeds are probably not representative of what residents in some remote areas experience.

The fastest ISP in the US in terms of download speeds was Xfinity, which delivered an average of 125Mbps. It was followed closely by Cox and Spectrum.

The fastest network by upload speed was Verizon Fios, which delivered an average 93.64Mbps. Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, and CenturyLink did not exceed the 100Mbps download mark.

On the LTE mobile front, Verizon and T-Mobile are neck and neck for top spot, each achieving average download speeds of 21Mbps. AT&T and Sprint trailed with average download speeds of 19Mbps and 15Mbps but Ookla notes that AT&T and Sprint have made significant gains over the past year.


How US fixed broadband speeds have increased over the past six months.

Image: Ookla

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