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The best mobile networks in our favorite FMH cities

The new world of working from home is truly a world of working from anywhere. Now that we’ve been largely freed from our COVID bubbles, the liberation from not going to the office doesn’t necessarily mean staying home – it could mean going to the park, the coffee shop or your favorite hideout to get some work done. .

Earlier this year, we selected 50 cities and towns across America that we believe are ideal for working from home. In general, our 50 picks have reasonable real estate prices, sizable homes, and fast fiber internet.

But having fiber internet in your home doesn’t mean you want to be disconnected when you’re away, and when you’re away, a fast mobile network is a good option to have. Many mobile plans now include gigabytes of connection for your laptop, and mobile networks can be faster and more secure than public Wi-Fi.

In our 10,000 miles of driving to find the best US mobile network, we’ve driven through eight of our 50 favorite WFH cities (you can see where they rank on our overall list in the charts below). Here’s who we found was the best network in each:


Layton, UT: T-Mobile

We only had a short drive through Layton as we left Salt Lake City, but T-Mobile came out on top. It’s clear that T-Mobile has installed its “ultra capacity” mid-band 5G in Layton, while AT&T and Verizon are still in the 4G era.

T-Mobile also won overall in the Salt Lake metro area, including, surprisingly, on reliability metrics. Why? We think the massive capacity T-Mobile added recently has really helped with congestion, so there are very few blocked connections if you can get a signal. That makes T-Mobile the fastest on the Silicon Slope.


Milwaukie, OR: T-Mobile

We spent a pleasant hour in Milwaukie, a more affordable suburb of Portland, and once again saw that T-Mobile had mid-band 5G there while other carriers…not so much, at least for the moment. Verizon is getting there – we saw a Verizon mid-band that made it to southeast Portland, but it just hadn’t reached central Milwaukie when we were testing. This made T-Mobile the strongest player there.


Keyport, New Jersey: T-Mobile

Keyport was our #3 city thanks to its relatively affordable price and proximity to the Jersey Shore and New York. Our mobile network tests have shown T-Mobile to be the fastest network in Keyport, New York, and the Urban Northeast in general.

The key: T-Mobile has installed its “ultra-capacity” mid-band 5G in Keyport, and Verizon and AT&T are getting by on older 4G airwaves (though they may show 5G in your status bar). We’ve seen download speeds as high as 600 Mbps with T-Mobile on Main Street in downtown Keyport.

T-Mobile was also more reliable than AT&T in our tests (AT&T had significantly more dropped connections), despite Verizon being the more reliable network.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: T-Mobile

This one we’re confident – we spent an entire day in Philadelphia – but it’s also less clear than it looks. T-Mobile won by showing the most mid-band 5G in the entire Philadelphia metro area. But Verizon has a millimeter-wave setup in downtown, and AT&T’s C-band is everywhere in the same area. Philadelphia is becoming very competitive, which reinforces our judgment that it’s a great city to work in.


Miami Lakes, Florida: Verizon

Miami Lakes is a beautiful planned suburb in West Miami, and we had a quick drive around the Miami metro area. Verizon had the most reliable network when we crossed the Miami lakes; T-Mobile was quick, but two network outages gave us pause.

This matches our overall results for Miami, where Verizon had both the fastest and most reliable overall network this year. Verizon launched much of its new C-band in South Florida, and we even reached Verizon’s super-fast broadband network in parts of Miami (but not Miami Lakes). Verizon is the safest bet for people in this field.

Recommended by our editors


Spring Valley, NV: T-Mobile

The story in suburban Las Vegas is the same as in many other places. T-Mobile has a strong mid-band 5G presence where the other two carriers haven’t configured their systems to C-band yet, or at least they didn’t in our testing. T-Mobile’s system is even more powerful in Spring Valley than other places: we’ve seen standalone 5G there, which has the potential to reduce congestion and latency compared to the more common non-standalone form. of 5G.

T-Mobile also won in Las Vegas overall, again thanks to much, much faster speeds than the other two carriers.


Overland Park, MO: T-Mobile

OK, well. Do you know who was based in Overland Park? Sprint. Do you know which network became T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G network? Sprint. So sure enough, we saw some of the fastest T-Mobile 5G speeds in the country at Overland Park, with several results above 500 Mbps and not a single drop (while AT&T and Verizon each dropped once). Don’t mess with T-Mobile on its own turf, apparently.


Phoenix, Arizona: Verizon

Verizon’s dominance in Phoenix shows what the situation will look like once the carrier further develops its C-band 5G network. We’ve seen Verizon’s C-band in Phoenix proper, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Tolleson , providing coverage wide enough to deliver 5G speeds in the metropolitan area. It also means that Verizon offers 5G home internet service in Phoenix, as an alternative to local cable providers.


Home office 101: Must-have devices for your home office setup

For the most productive and functional home office experience, you need more than good network connectivity: you need to outfit your space with the right accessories. Our top picks will help you stay connected and comfortable.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion