Being a major metropolitan area usually means having top tier infrastructure, access to technology and other advantages, but that isn’t the case when it comes to mobile network performance, according to a study of the worst and best mobile wireless cities released today by RootMetrics.

New York (ranked No. 54) barely cracked the top half of the 125 major metropolitan areas that RootMetrics studied, while Los Angeles (67) finished in the bottom half. Chicago was the only one of the nation’s largest cities to hit the top 15, charting at number 12, followed by notable cities like Dallas (23) and Atlanta (24).

The overall rankings were based on a combination of reliability, speed, data, call and text performances.

Best Mobile Wireless Cities
Topping the rankings was Knoxville, Tenn., the nation’s 73rd ranked metro area in terms of population, followed by St. Louis, (20th in population), Minneapolis (16th), Allentown, Pa. (60th) and Fort Wayne, Ind. (118).

The worst cities, in terms of mobile network performance, according to RootMetrics, were Santa Rosa, Calif. (ranked 125th), Hudson Valley, N.Y. (124), El Paso, Tex. (123), and Bridgeport and Stamford, Conn. (tied at 121).

Among the notable findings that RootMetrics cited in its research:

  • As in the previous report, New York remained low in most areas, but showed modest improvement in all performance categories this test period. The biggest improvement was in network speed, jumping from 74th in second-half 2017 testing. NYC jumped to 37th in this round.
  • While neither Philadelphia nor D.C. ranked among the top 20 in any category in the previous report, both markets finished in the top 20 in three different categories: overall performance, network reliability, and data performance. According to RootMetrics, fast speeds and excellent reliability from all four carries helped improve each city’s ranking.
  • Miami finished with the lowest ranking among the nation’s 10 most populous markets in four out of six categories. But Miami’s lower rankings in the first half of 2018 didn’t reflect worse carrier performance in this test period. Instead, other markets’ improvements pushed Miami down in the ranks.

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