You're at the drugstore trying to remember what your husband asked you to pick up, so you call him.
He's in his car on the way to work. He quickly answers and reminds you that he's out of shampoo. Oh, yeah, that's it, you think.
As you continue your errands, it's unlikely that you'll stop to marvel at the technology that made it so easy for you to connect without static or worrying about a dropped call. But the folks at RootMetrics by IHS Markit don't take those things for granted.
The firm Tuesday released a study that shows Fort Wayne has the third-best mobile experience for callers of the 125 most populous U.S. cities.
“Mobile users expect an always-on experience and demand that mobile carriers provide a fast and reliable experience everywhere they go,” the report states. “While network performance is generally strong in major markets across the country, our data shows that not all areas are created equal when it comes to mobile performance.”
Of the 10 biggest U.S. cities, the one with the best cellphone performance is Chicago, which ranks third in population but 26th in mobile performance.
Doug King, RootMetrics' business development director, said high-rise buildings “create challenges for mobile coverage and performance.”
The number of people accessing a network at any one time also makes a difference, he said during a phone interview.
The rankings are based on an average of the RootScores for the four major U.S. networks – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon – in a given metropolitan area. The scores are then weighted, with the providers with more customers receiving heavier scores than those with fewer subscribers.
Both trained staff and consumers gathered information used in the study, which is sold to the major carriers.
The six areas evaluated were:
• Network reliability
• Network speed
• Data performance
• Call performance
• Text performance
• Overall performance
Indianapolis, the only other Indiana city in the top 125 largest U.S. cities, ranked 22nd. The highest ranked city in Ohio was Columbus, which finished second. Michigan's highest ranked city was Lansing, which ranked 14th.
Because the Summit City's scores were so high across categories for all four major networks, local residents can shop for mobile phones based on lowest price rather than worrying about performance quality, King said.
“In Fort Wayne,” he said, “that is a good way to go.”
At a glance
The top five U.S. markets – from the 125 largest cities – for mobile phone performance:
1. Kansas City, Mo.
2. Columbus, Ohio
3. Fort Wayne
4. Harrisburg, Pa.
5. Wichita, Kan.