Chicago had the top mobile network performance for any U.S. major metro market in the first half of the year, according to research about the cities with the best wireless service released today by RootMetrics by IHS Markit. The city scored 97.7 on a 100-point scale, but even that paled in comparison to much smaller markets. Lansing, Mich. topped the rankings, followed by Rockford, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; and Ft. Wayne, Ind., respectively. Chicago ranked eighth overall.

Lansing had top scores in five of the six categories measured. The city’s aggregate median download speed of 50.4 Mbps marked improvement from 40.4 Mbps in the second half of 2018 as reported by RootMetrics, and was tied with Ann Arbor, Mich., for the fastest aggregate median download speed among all 125 metro areas tested this period.

Other major metropolitan areas fared fairly poorly, with New York and Los Angeles mobile performance ranking in the middle of the metro areas. Among what RootMetrics considers high-tech cities, Seattle was the top performer, with excellent speed and reliability.


“For consumers and enterprises alike, strong mobile performance is key to daily life in our increasingly connected communities at home, at work and in between,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology, at IHS Markit, in a prepared statement. “Fast speeds aren’t only found in the biggest markets in the US. The carriers are providing strong performance and excellent reliability in a majority of metros across the US. And with 5G deployments beginning, we can expect to see even more emphasis on speed and strong reliability in the near future.”

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Boston had exceptional reliability and the nation’s 10th fastest aggregate median download speed, at 44.9 Mbps.
  • San Francisco ranked among the bottom of the high-tech markets tested, coming in last in overall ranking and reliability performance. In nationwide performance results, the city’s aggregate median download speed of 29.8 Mbps ranked 73rd out of 125 and on overall performance, the market ranked 110th.

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