Skip to main content

Knoxville ranks No. 1 in mobile performance among U.S. metro areas, study says

cell radio tower
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ever wonder where in the United States your mobile device would work best? According to RootMetrics’ most recent network performance test, Knoxville, Tennessee, takes the number one spot for mobile performance out of the 125 major metropolitan areas tested. Trailing closely behind in second place is St. Louis, while Minneapolis takes third.

RootMetrics’ recent findings dive deeper into the mobile experience within metropolitan areas across the country. Each area was ranked from highest to lowest across six mobile performance categories — overall, reliability, speed, data, call performance, and text.

Knoxville ranked first in three out of the six performance categories — overall, network reliability, and call performance. It also earned top-5 rankings in five different categories (all except for text).

In RootMetrics’ previous round of testing, Knoxville didn’t finish in the top five in any category. The report attributes its success to fast median download speeds, along with its high scores in call and data reliability which come in at 99.7 and 96.9, respectively.

When it comes to the mobile performance in the 10 largest U.S. cities, Chicago ranked highest in network speed and data performance. New York City and the Tri-state area ranked low in all six categories and placed at number 54 overall.

But the report notes that NYC did improve in all performance categories during this test period — most notably, network speed. After finishing 74th in the second-half of 2017, NYC ranked 37th this time around. Regardless, the findings do highlight one interesting thing — a larger city does not necessarily have better mobile networks.

As for the lowest-performing metropolitan markets in the U.S., Springfield, Massachusetts, finished within the bottom five in four out of six categories — overall, reliability, call, and text. The low rankings were attributed to poor blocked call results from all four carriers, along with slow speeds from Sprint. But in the network speed and data performance, it managed to rank higher than the bottom five.

Of the 125 areas, Santa Rosa, California, placed last for not only overall performance but also network reliability and data performance. While its speeds and reliability results can be considered satisfactory for most users, it was poor in comparison to results in other cities.

All of the rankings are based on the average of the RootScores for the four major U.S. carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. Each ranking is weighted by the estimated national percentage of subscribers for each network — meaning a performance from a carrier that has more customers is weighted heavier than scores from carriers with fewer subscribers.

Editors' Recommendations

Brenda Stolyar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brenda became obsessed with technology after receiving her first Dell computer from her grandpa in the second grade. While…
Affordable broadband out of reach for most tribal reservations in the U.S.
broadband rural access native tribal v2

Only 33 percent of residents living in tribal ZIP codes around the U.S. have access to an affordable broadband connection, according to a new study from BroadbandNow, a customer advocacy and Internet Service Provider (ISP) comparison site.

In comparison, 51% of people who live in ZIP codes that are not on tribal reservations have access to affordable broadband.

Read more
Old phones will stop working with AT&T and T-Mobile. Here’s what to do about it
wait for iphone x iphone 6

While carriers are blowing their horns about the various 5G networks being rolled out across the country, there’s a bit of sleight of hand going on that will affect some long-time customers. The 3G network we used to use for voice calls is going away.

Some carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, are still using 3G for voice calls on older phones. Newer phones use 4G networking for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service. AT&T and T-Mobile intend to finally abandon 3G and switch entirely to newer network technology, and that will make some older phones obsolete.

Read more
T-Mobile becomes the first carrier to create a nationwide U.S. 5G network
5g capable phones manufacturers header getty

Looking forward to a future connected by powerful 5G networks? T-Mobile has brought the future to us today by launching the U.S.'s first nationwide 5G network, trumping the efforts of other U.S. carriers.

The Un-carrier's new 5G network is massive by 5G standards, covering more than 200 million people in more than 5,000 cities and towns across the U.S. -- an area of more a million square miles, much of it belonging to more rural parts of America. This approach stands in strong contrast to the efforts of other carriers, which have concentrated their efforts into mostly urban areas, with small pockets of 5G available in some of the U.S.'s largest cities. The difference between the two approaches was commented by T-Mobile CEO John Legere, in his usual acerbic style.

Read more