There can be only one: new report highlights the fastest 4G LTE and 5G city in the US

There can be only one: new report highlights the fastest 4G LTE and 5G city in the US

While we continue to wait for the detailed H2 2020 “State of the Mobile Union” report that awarded Verizon the top prize across a staggering seven (out of seven) categories to be released, RootMetrics has put together a neat infographic highlighting the fast-growing average wireless download speeds of six major US cities.

Focused entirely on the East Coast (for some reason), this comprehensive new analysis pits New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Boston, and Miami against one another, and surprisingly or not, the most populous place on that list also happens to top the speed chart when essentially combining Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T’s numbers. 
Instead of solely testing the fledgling (and often spotty) 5G networks of the three big US carriers left standing after Sprint’s disappearance, RootMetrics researchers also paid close attention to the 4G LTE connectivity so many regular consumers still greatly rely on for their on-the-fly download needs. The results are obviously not as spectacular as the record figures boasted in Verizon’s 5G UW or T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G measurements, but if you look back several years ago, you’ll definitely be pleased with the industry’s slow but steady progress.

The Big Apple takes the cake

Just in case New Yorkers needed yet another reason to be proud of living in one of the world’s most effervescent and technologically advanced cities, the NYC metro area managed to surpass not only its five top eastern seaboard rivals listed above, but also each and every other place evaluated in terms of aggregate median download speeds for the second half of last year.

New York City and the Tri-State Area eclipsed a grand total of 124 cities with a score of 46.3 Mbps, which essentially means the average NYC resident should be able to download a 5MB song in less than two seconds and a 600MB Netflix video in under two minutes.

NYC is used to emphasize the slow but steady aforementioned improvement of the US wireless industry, as RootMetrics found an astonishing difference between Verizon’s local download speeds registered in H1 2016 and H2 2020, for instance. We’re talking a huge jump of more than 50 Mbps in just four and a half years, from a now-modest 21.2 all the way up to a towering 72 Mbps.

While AT&T and T-Mobile made decent gains of their own in the same timeframe, Big Red seems pretty much untouchable for the foreseeable future in the Big Apple. Unsurprisingly, Verizon was named H2 2020’s fastest carrier in four of the other five major East Coast cities too, while AT&T prevailed in Washington D.C.

How did the other five cities fare between July and December 2020?

With one notable exception, the answer to that question is “quite well.” Said exception is Miami, where the aggregate median download speed couldn’t even reach 30 Mbps, compared to Boston and Atlanta’s incredibly close 38.1 and 38.8 Mbps scores respectively.

In second and third place, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. delivered similarly impressive results of 44.6 and 42.6 Mbps respectively, very narrowly trailing New York City’s dominant 46.3 Mbps average.


Interestingly, the only one of these six cities where AT&T edged out Verizon in terms of the combined 4G LTE/5G median download speed saw Big Red take the 5G speed crown, while Ma Bell earned the rest of the 5G crowns. 
AT&T also topped NYC and Atlanta’s 5G availability charts while tying T-Mobile for first place in Miami from that particular standpoint, which seems to suggest its 4G LTE speeds were generally inferior to those provided by Verizon. 
Magenta single-handedly took home three 5G availability trophies, including one in Washington D.C. where its score reached an absolutely phenomenal 66.5 percent. Unfortunately, those low and mid-band speeds are still not quite where they should be, although the “Un-carrier” is certainly working hard on improving precisely that aspect of its overall network experience.

Adrian Diaconescu

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