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The largest 10 US cities and their 4G LTE coverage rank in 2013

From New York City to San Jose, what are the average 4G download and upload speeds, and what carriers offer the best speed, reliability and coverage?

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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

How do the biggest U.S. cities fare in 4G network coverage?

4G LTE network coverage is expanding worldwide.

While the U.S. enjoys rapidly expanding 4G coverage -- made possible due to spectrum auctions and extensive investment in networks by carriers -- the United Kingdom has had 4G LTE networks switched on. Some European areas, including Brussels, , but the foundations have been laid for these services in continents including .

However, finding the best cities for coverage can prove to be a difficult task. Some web and app-based firms, such as Opensignal (available on Android and iOS), allow you to find better mobile signals, nearby free W-Fi networks and test their connections, and also allow you to search 4G coverage based on location. 

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the coverage available in the ten largest U.S. cities by population. Opensignal researchers used data compuled by speedtests actively run by the app users to compile the average download and upload speed of 4G LTE speeds, and have compared reliability, speed and coverage rankings to give you a good idea of how 4G performs in each city. 

The speed rating used is a combination of upload, download and latencies -- with those three factors weighted equally -- coverage looks at area of a city where there is 4G readings from all 4 major networks (Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint) and seeing which have the most signals, and reliability was calculated by seeing the percentage of time a device is able to successfully access data over the 4G network.

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10. San Jose

City: San Jose

Population982,765 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 8.2 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 10.8 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile 

Best coverage: Verizon

Best reliability: AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile (three-way tie)


San Jose the third-largest city in California and seat of Santa Clara County. San Jose is the capital of Silicon (Santa Clara) Valley, where many high-tech firms are based including Adobe, Apple, Facebook and eBay. The area is also one of the world's leading centers for medical treatment and research.

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9. Dallas

City: Dallas

Population: 1,241,162 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 9.1 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 8.6 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile

Best coverage: AT&T 

Best reliability: AT&T/T-Mobile (tie)


Dallas is the second-largest city in Texas. Aside from being a popular tourist destination and mired in the oil business, Dallas is a leading commercial, marketing, and industrial hub in the southwest. Dallas is the largest economic center in the region. According to the TechAmerica Foundation, Texas supports more than 485,000 technology jobs, many of which are in Dallas and Austin.

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8. San Diego

City: San Diego

Population: 1,338,348 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 7.1 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 9.6 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile 

Best coverage: AT&T

Best reliability: T-Mobile 


San Diego is the second-largest city in California, located in the southwest part of the state on San Diego Bay. Today, San Diego's harbor is a busy commercial port and a hub of U.S. naval operations, tourism and international trade.

Read: The rise and sprawl of the city's tech hotspots

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7. San Antonio

City: San Antonio

Population: 1,382,951 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 7.5 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 6.6 mbps

Best speed: Verizon

Best coverage: AT&T

Best reliability: T-Mobile 


San Antonio is the third-largest city in Texas, and located southwest of the state capital Austin. San Antonio is a leading livestock center and one of the largest U.S. produce exchange markets.

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6. Phoenix

City: Phoenix

Population: 1,488,750 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 6.9 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 9.7 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile

Best coverage: Sprint 

Best reliability: AT&T


Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and seat of Maricopa County, is the largest city in the state. It is located in the center of Arizona, on the Salt River. Major industries include government, agricultural products, aerospace technology and electronics.

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7 of 11 Andrew Nusca/ZDNet

5. Philadelphia

City: Philadelphia

Population: 1,547,607 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 6.9 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 5.5 mbps

Best speed: Verizon

Best coverage: Verizon

Best reliability: AT&T/T-Mobile (tie) 


The city of Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is home to branches of the U.S. Mint, the Federal Reserve System, and the Internal Revenue Service.

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4. Houston

City: Houston

Population: 2,160,821 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 8.4 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 7.3 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile 

Best coverage: AT&T 

Best reliability: T-Mobile 


Houston, the largest city in Texas, is located in the southeast part of the state near the Gulf of Mexico. Houston is well-known for oil and natural-gas production and is an energy capital of the world.

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9 of 11 Andrew Nusca/ZDNet

3. Chicago

City: Chicago

Population: 2,714,856 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 7.4 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 6.6 mbps

Best speed: AT&T

Best coverage: AT&T

Best reliability: T-Mobile 


Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the seat of Cook County. Chicago is a major Great Lakes port and the commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural center of the Midwest.

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2. Los Angeles

City: Los Angeles

Population: 3,857,799 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 7.15 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 7.45 mbps

Best speed: AT&T 

Best coverage: Verizon

Best reliability: T-Mobile


Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second largest urban nation in the United States. Los Angeles is a major hub of shipping, manufacturing, industry, and finance, and is a well-known tourist destination.

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11 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

1. New York City

City: New York City

Population: 8,336,697 

Average 4G LTE upload speed: 8.4 mbps

Average 4G LTE download speed: 6.7 mbps

Best speed: T-Mobile 

Best coverage: Verizon/AT&T (tie)

Best reliability: T-Mobile 


New York is the largest city in the United States. Located at the mouth of the Hudson river, NYC, otherwise known as "The Big Apple," is a major world capital for business, fashion and retail.

 

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