As mobile network operators begin to roll out their initial 5G markets, there isn’t a lot of overlap between their top-performing cities for LTE and where they are making their forays into 5G.

Analysis from Rootmetrics, which recently released its network performance rankings of 125 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the second half of 2018, found that only about half of the first wave of 5G cities fall within the top 45-ranked cities.

One notable exception to that is Kansas City, which ranked first in Rootmetrics rankings and is also being targeted by Sprint for a 5G launch this year. Sprint’s other initial 5G cities will be Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas, with Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington D.C. also slated to launch in the first half of 2019.

Rootmetrics ranked the top five metropolitan areas for current network performance as Kansas CIty, Missouri; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Wichita, Kansas.

None of the 10 U.S. biggest markets, population-wise, ranked in Rootmetrics’ top 20, the testing company noted. Verizon currently has its 5G Home service available in limited areas of Sacramento and Los Angeles, California; Houston, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indiana. Chicago — where Verizon plans to launch mobile 5G New Radio, as well as in Minneapolis, Minnesota — was the top-ranking major metro area, but it only made #26. Minneapolis came in sixth place in current network performance among metro areas, according to Rootmetrics.

AT&T’s 5G New Radio network launch covers parts of Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Oklahoma City. Indianapolis ranks 22d in Rootmetrics’ assessment of current network performance.

RootMetrics identified the top 10 5G cities in terms of their current network performance ranking as follows:

  1. Kansas City – #1 in Rootmetrics’ metro network performance rankings
  2. Minneapolis – #6 in Rootmetrics’ metro network performance rankings
  3. Phoenix – #19
  4. Indianapolis – #22
  5. Chicago – #26
  6. Las Vegas – #30
  7. San Antonio – #33
  8. Louisville – #37
  9. Sacramento – #43
  10. Dallas – #45

Rootmetrics’ metro rankings are based on an average of the its RootScore metrics for the four major US networks and are weighted by the estimated national percentage of subscribers for each network.


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