If You Live in the Sticks, You Likely Get Better Cell Service Than City Folk

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The quality of your cellular network connection depends a lot on where you live. But while you may think you have it made in a dense city, new research suggests that’s not the case.

People who live in urban environments actually experience the most problems with their networks, according to a new network quality study published by J.D. powers on Wednesday.

But residents of rural areas didn’t fare much better, the data shows.

Among the three categories, those in rural regions experienced the second-highest volume of network quality problems.

That leaves suburban areas as the best of the three, according to the study. But each could be improved in different ways.

“The network quality problems wireless customers are experiencing in urban, suburban and rural areas each require different solutions, given the unique nature of their environment,” J.D. Power Managing Director Ian Greenblatt said.

One possible solution could be the impending rollout of 5G, since certain bands of the new cellular technology are tailor-made for short-range cellular connections.

That could bump up overall network quality in regions where improvements are needed the most. Per the study, that appears to be densely population urban environments.

On the flip side, lower-range and low-band 5G connections could deliver better network quality to rural regions as well. In other words, it seems that 5G could solve a lot of network problems across the board.

J.D. Power does point out that telecom companies need to set consumer expectations “against the reality of the real-world speeds of 5G.” (It’s also important to take into account just how slow the 5G rollout could be in rural settings.)

But, of course, the carrier you’re on also plays a huge role in how many problems you may run into. J.D. Power took a look at carrier quality as well.

Which Carrier Ranked Best?

According to their testing, Verizon Wireless actually ranked the highest across six different regions in the U.S., including Mid-Atlantic, North Central, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest.

That’s based on the fact that Verizon achieved the lowest number of network quality problems per 100 connections. It subcategorized that number across call quality, messaging quality and data quality too.

While many of these factors may be beyond your control, there are still a number of things you could do to improve your own device’s cellular performance

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