Chicago rules the roost in wireless service; Kansas City holds its own

In the wireless world, Chicago and Oklahoma City rock. New York and Los Angeles not so much.

The Kansas City market – Overland Park-based Sprint Corp.’s home market – is doing all right though it’s a little slow, according to market rankings by RootMetrics.

Seattle-based RootMetrics tests wireless networks nationwide to compare service in the 125 largest metropolitan markets.

It combined results for all four national carriers’ service in each market to see how well calls, texts, data, speed and reliability held up. It gave greater weight to Verizon and AT&T because they have more customers than Sprint and T-Mobile. Population also figured into the rankings.

“Generally speaking, Kansas City is performing well for the size of market it is. In particular, with calls and reliability there’s a lot of positive news for the folks that live there,” said Julie Dey, vice president of marketing at RootMetrics.

This market, however, is “quite a bit slower than the population ranking would suggest,” Dey said.

Kansas City’s overall rank was 29th, compared with its population rank of 30th. This market fared well with reliability, ranking ninth, but not so hot on speed, ranking 75th.

Population matters because wireless carriers tend to put their resources where there are more customers to win. However, Dey said it’s not clear that higher population and more investment means better performance. Population also means greater use and more demand on networks.

Los Angeles, the No. 1 market in size, came in at No. 111 in overall performance. New York ranked 98th though it’s the second-largest market.

Chicago, the third-largest market, topped the overall ranking and was second in reliability, third in speed.

Dey said the Windy City has become something of a competitive technology showplace with all four carriers talking about their investments there. She didn’t have a ready explanation for Oklahoma City’s No. 2 overall ranking.

Next, RootMetrics plans to rank the specific performance of each of the 125 markets by carrier.

“We’ll be able to tell you where Sprint does the best and where they perform the worst,” Dey said.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @mdkcstar.