Where in the United States can you find the fastest mobile network speeds and the best cell phone coverage? We found the answer to this question by creating a mobile network index that scores the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. across four different factors that play an important role in determining which have the best mobile Internet speed and coverage overall. With these index scores, we ranked all of the cities to find the 25 that had the best mobile network speed and cell coverage as well as the 25 cities with the worst network speed and coverage.
The first factor that each city was scored on was the average download speed, which is the speed at which data is able to be retrieved from the Internet in megabits per second (Mbps). The average upload speed was the second factor cities were scored on and is the speed at which data can be sent from the device to the Internet. The third factor the cities were scored on was the average latency, or the number of milliseconds (ms) it takes for a device to send and receive a response from the Internet. The fourth and final factor was the total coverage score; a total of 16 points could be awarded to each city. The cell phone coverage score was calculated based on if the city has coverage for voice, 3G, 4G, and 5G across the four main providers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. Read on in this report from VoiceNation to see which cities earned high scores for each factor and which ones ranked at the bottom.
Which City in the U.S. Has the Best Mobile Network Speed and Coverage?
Jersey City, NJ, has the fastest mobile network speed in the United States, with an average download speed of 107.2 Mbps, average upload speed of 22.5 Mbps, and an average latency of 28 ms. Jersey City’s coverage score was 13/16, on par with a majority of the other most populous cities.
Who has the best cell phone coverage? Two cities in Wisconsin were found to have the best cell coverage in the country; Milwaukee and Madison both scored 15 out of 16 possible points. However, while Milwaukee’s mobile network speeds were fast enough to put it at number 10 on the list of the 25 best cities, Madison’s much slower network speeds landed it on the worst cities list.
The 10 U.S. Cities With the Best Mobile Network Speed and Coverage
- Jersey City, NJ
- Tampa, FL
- New York, NY
- Baltimore, MD
- Washington, DC
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Atlanta, GA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Milwaukee, WI
Which U.S. City Has the Worst Mobile Network Speed and Coverage?
Anchorage, Alaska has the worst mobile network speed and coverage in the United States with an average download speed of 55.1 Mbps, average upload speed of 10.6 Mbps, and an average latency of 54 ms. Anchorage was also one of two cities with the worst cell coverage, earning just 8 out of 16 total points. Albuquerque, NM is the other U.S. city to earn an equally low coverage score, and their slow mobile internet speeds also put them in fifth place for the cities with the worst speed and coverage. While it’s understandable why a remote city like Anchorage would top the list, but why do cities in far more populous areas rank so low in terms of the mobile network speed and the amount of cell phone coverage available to its residents?
The 10 U.S. Cities With the Worst Mobile Network Speed and Coverage
- Anchorage, AK
- Reno, NV
- Lubbock, TX
- Chesapeake, VA
- Albuquerque, NM
- Fresno, CA
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Lincoln, NE
- Lexington, KY
- Toledo, OH
Which Mobile Network Provider Is the Fastest and Offers the Most Coverage?
T-Mobile was found to be the fastest mobile provider in all but five of the 100 most populous cities in the United States. Verizon and AT&T were found to be the fastest mobile network provider in two cities each, while U.S. Cellular was the fastest provider in just one city. This excludes the 15 cities where the fastest mobile provider could not be statistically verified. Not only does T-Mobile offer the fastest speeds in most of the cities, but they were also the cell phone provider with the best cell phone coverage for voice, 3G, 4G, and 5G in almost all of the 100 cities.
We used mobile network speed and coverage data from the 100 most populous cities in the United States to find the 25 cities with the best and worst mobile network speed and coverage. We created an index that scores each of the 100 cities across four different factors:
- Median Download Speed is the speed at which the connection is able to retrieve data from the Internet in megabits per second (Mbps). Cities with a higher median download speed earned a higher index score.
- Median Upload Speed is the speed at which the connection allows data to be sent from a device to the Internet in Mbps. Cities with a higher median upload speed earned a higher index score.
- Median Latency is the amount of milliseconds (ms) it takes for a request sent from your device to get a response from the Internet. Cities with a lower median latency earned a higher index score.
- Total Coverage Score is calculated based on if the city has coverage for voice, 3G, 4G, and 5G across the four major providers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular. A total of 16 points can be earned. Cities earned one point for every provider with good coverage or 5G availability, half a point if the provider has roaming/partner coverage, and 0 points if the provider has no coverage at all in the city.
The 25 U.S. Cities With the Best Mobile Network Speed and Coverage
|City||Fastest Provider||Median Download Speed (Mbps)||Index Score||Median Upload Speed (Mbps)||Index Score||Median Latency (ms)||Index Score||Total Coverage Score||Index Score||Total Index Score|
|1||Jersey City, NJ||T-Mobile||107.2||100.0||22.5||100.0||28||89.3||13||86.7||376.0|
|3||New York, NY||T-Mobile||90.4||84.3||19.4||86.0||27||92.6||13||86.7||349.6|
|4||Baltimore, MD||Winner cannot be statistically verified||99.5||92.8||16.9||74.8||28||89.3||13||86.7||343.5|
|6||Boston, MA||Winner cannot be statistically verified||88.1||82.2||19.3||85.5||30||83.3||13||86.7||337.7|
|8||Atlanta, GA||Winner cannot be statistically verified||79.8||74.4||16.7||74.2||26||96.2||13||86.7||331.5|
|11||St Paul, MN||T-Mobile||95.6||89.2||13.7||60.6||28||89.3||13||86.7||325.7|
|14||St. Louis, MO||T-Mobile||93.6||87.3||13.0||57.8||28||89.3||13||86.7||321.1|
|16||San Francisco, CA||Verizon Wireless||68.5||63.9||16.6||73.5||27||92.6||13||86.7||316.6|
|17||San Diego, CA||T-Mobile||67.9||63.3||14.7||65.1||26||96.2||13||86.7||311.3|
|21||Sacramento, CA||Winner cannot be statistically verified||72.4||67.5||13.0||57.7||27||92.6||13||86.7||304.4|
|24||Santa Ana, CA||T-Mobile||66.4||62.0||12.3||54.4||26||96.2||13||86.7||299.2|
The 25 Cities With the Worst Mobile Network Speed and Coverage
|City||Fastest Provider||Median Download Speed (Mbps)||Index Score||Median Upload Speed (Mbps)||Index Score||Median Latency (ms)||Index Score||Total Coverage Score (out of 16)||Index Score||Total Index Score|
|1||Anchorage, AK||Winner cannot be statistically verified||55.1||51.4||10.6||47.0||54||46.3||8||53.3||198.1|
|7||Baton Rouge, LA||Winner cannot be statistically verified||43.1||40.2||8.7||38.7||37||67.6||13||86.7||233.1|
|12||Corpus Christi, TX||T-Mobile||55.6||51.8||9.2||40.7||37||67.6||13||86.7||246.7|
|19||Buffalo, NY||Winner cannot be statistically verified||51.8||48.4||11.3||50.2||37||67.6||13||86.7||252.8|
|20||Fremont, CA||Winner cannot be statistically verified||54.0||50.4||8.3||37.0||31||80.6||13||86.7||254.7|
|21||Fort Worth, TX||T-Mobile||44.6||41.6||9.1||40.3||29||86.2||13||86.7||254.8|
|24||Madison, WI||U. S. Cellular||50.7||47.3||7.8||34.4||33||75.8||15||100.0||257.5|