U.S. Cities Ranked by Mobile Network Speed and Coverage

Isabella Roland • 02 Nov 2022 • 7 min read

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. 

Infographic ranking cities with the best mobile network speed

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

  1. Jersey City, NJ
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. New York, NY
  4. Baltimore, MD
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Boston, MA
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Pittsburgh, PA
  10. 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

  1. Anchorage, AK
  2. Reno, NV
  3. Lubbock, TX
  4. Chesapeake, VA
  5. Albuquerque, NM
  6. Fresno, CA
  7. Baton Rouge, LA
  8. Lincoln, NE
  9. Lexington, KY
  10. 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.

Index Methodology

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
2 Tampa, FL AT&T 106.5 99.3 19.2 85.1 27 92.6 13 86.7 363.7
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
5 Washington, DC T-Mobile 103.5 96.5 15.4 68.4 28 89.3 13 86.7 340.8
6 Boston, MA Winner cannot be statistically verified 88.1 82.2 19.3 85.5 30 83.3 13 86.7 337.7
7 Chicago, IL T-Mobile 90.7 84.6 15.5 68.6 27 92.6 13 86.7 332.5
8 Atlanta, GA Winner cannot be statistically verified 79.8 74.4 16.7 74.2 26 96.2 13 86.7 331.5
9 Pittsburgh, PA T-Mobile 92.3 86.1 14.7 65.3 28 89.3 13 86.7 327.4
10 Milwaukee, WI T-Mobile 84.6 78.9 12.6 55.8 27 92.6 15 100.0 327.3
11 St Paul, MN T-Mobile 95.6 89.2 13.7 60.6 28 89.3 13 86.7 325.7
12 Philadelphia, PA T-Mobile 85.0 79.3 14.7 65.3 27 92.6 13 86.7 323.9
13 Minneapolis, MN T-Mobile 90.0 84.0 14.1 62.7 28 89.3 13 86.7 322.6
14 St. Louis, MO T-Mobile 93.6 87.3 13.0 57.8 28 89.3 13 86.7 321.1
15 Newark, NJ T-Mobile 72.7 67.8 17.2 76.4 29 86.2 13 86.7 317.1
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
18 Plano, TX T-Mobile 77.4 72.2 12.2 53.9 26 96.2 13 86.7 309.0
19 Columbus, OH T-Mobile 82.1 76.6 12.6 55.9 28 89.3 13 86.7 308.5
20 Denver, CO T-Mobile 80.5 75.0 12.6 56.1 28 89.3 13 86.7 307.1
21 Sacramento, CA Winner cannot be statistically verified 72.4 67.5 13.0 57.7 27 92.6 13 86.7 304.4
22 Seattle, WA T-Mobile 82.4 76.9 12.8 56.9 30 83.3 13 86.7 303.8
23 Honolulu, HI T-Mobile 56.9 53.1 15.3 68.0 27 92.6 13 86.7 300.4
24 Santa Ana, CA T-Mobile 66.4 62.0 12.3 54.4 26 96.2 13 86.7 299.2
25 Richmond, VA T-Mobile 72.6 67.7 14.1 62.8 31 80.6 13 86.7 297.8

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
2 Reno, NV T-Mobile 38.7 36.1 7.5 33.1 40 62.5 13 86.7 218.3
3 Lubbock, TX T-Mobile 36.7 34.2 9.4 41.9 42 59.5 13 86.7 222.3
4 Chesapeake, VA T-Mobile 50.7 47.3 8.2 36.6 38 65.8 11 73.3 223.0
5 Albuquerque, NM T-Mobile 67.3 62.8 12.6 56.0 46 54.3 8 53.3 226.5
6 Fresno, CA T-Mobile 40.6 37.9 7.5 33.3 35 71.4 13 86.7 229.3
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
8 Lincoln, NE AT&T 38.4 35.8 9.3 41.1 34 73.5 14 93.3 243.8
9 Lexington, KY T-Mobile 54.2 50.6 9.6 42.7 39 64.1 13 86.7 244.0
10 Toledo, OH T-Mobile 64.5 60.2 10.9 48.2 39 64.1 11 73.3 245.8
11 Durham, NC T-Mobile 64.0 59.7 9.1 40.3 38 65.8 12 80.0 245.9
12 Corpus Christi, TX T-Mobile 55.6 51.8 9.2 40.7 37 67.6 13 86.7 246.7
13 Winston-Salem, NC T-Mobile 53.8 50.2 10.2 45.4 35 71.4 12 80.0 247.0
14 Orlando, FL T-Mobile 42.4 39.5 8.1 35.8 29 86.2 13 86.7 248.2
15 Wichita, KS T-Mobile 61.8 57.6 9.8 43.3 40 62.5 13 86.7 250.1
16 Bakersfield, CA T-Mobile 52.7 49.2 9.4 41.5 34 73.5 13 86.7 250.9
17 Stockton, CA T-Mobile 47.0 43.9 8.4 37.4 30 83.3 13 86.7 251.2
18 Laredo, TX T-Mobile 44.2 41.2 9.4 41.6 30 83.3 13 86.7 252.8
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
22 Gilbert, AZ T-Mobile 58.3 54.4 7.1 31.3 30 83.3 13 86.7 255.7
23 Norfolk, VA T-Mobile 62.7 58.5 11.4 50.8 37 67.6 12 80.0 256.9
24 Madison, WI U. S. Cellular 50.7 47.3 7.8 34.4 33 75.8 15 100.0 257.5
25 Hialeah, FL T-Mobile 56.9 53.1 9.2 40.7 32 78.1 13 86.7 258.5

 

If cell phone coverage where you live isn’t the greatest, consider a live answering service or virtual receptionist so you’ll never miss another important call or message!