Most populated metropolitan markets in the US ranked by cellular service

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,062   +130
Staff member

Contrary to popular belief, living in a densely populated metropolitan area doesn’t necessarily guarantee top-notch wireless service.

While it’s true that you’ll encounter far more cell towers in a big city versus out in the boondocks, it’s also important to remember that there could be millions of other people vying for that same wireless spectrum. When that happens, network congestion becomes a very real factor and service suffers.

Mobile network performance collection firm RootMetrics recently analyzed the top 125 most populated metropolitan markets in the country and ranked them from highest to lowest across six categories: overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data, calling and texting.

The results may surprise you.

Among the largest metropolitan areas in the US, Lansing, Michigan, was found to have the best overall wireless service followed by Indianapolis and Modesto, California, despite their population ranks of 117, 32 and 104, respectively.

New York and the Tri-State Area, with a population of more than 18 million, finished in 74th place. Los Angeles, the second-largest area with more than 12 million people, came in 77th place. The only real saving grace among large cities was Chicago which ranked 4th overall with 8.6 million residents.

The worst city for cell phone service, you ask? That'd be Hudson Valley, New York, which ranked at or near the bottom of the list across every category: 125th in overall performance, network reliability and call performance; 124th in both data and text performance; and 121st in network speed.

It’s worth noting that the firm isn’t singling out a particular carrier as its rankings are based on an average of all four major US networks in a given area.

For the full rankings of all 125 cities, be sure to check out RootMetrics' report.

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Posts: 3,385   +3,858
In most US cities in the "flyover" states if you live in an area with less than 30 households per square mile you can transfer data quicker with a flash drive and a car. And in areas less populated than that? The wilds of Indonesia have better connectivity. But hey, the carriers barely have any money left for infrastructure after spending billions every year keeping real competition out of the market. Its a wonder they can afford those TV and radio ads three times an hour, junk mail in every mailbox at least twice a month and included with all your bills, ads in your newspaper every day..I mean, it really adds up! At least they have a bigger footprint than DSL and cable.