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These US cities have the best mobile networks

Indianapolis tops the list of cities with great cell coverage. New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles -- not so much.

Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Think "speed" and Indianapolis, and there's a good chance you'll conjure up the Indiana city's famous speedway, which has been hosting motor sports for 108 years. Who knew Indianapolis also took the checkered flag for best mobile network coverage of any US city in the last half of 2016?

The next four on the list of cities with the best coverage: Richmond, Virginia; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to rankings released Tuesday by Root Metrics. The research firm looked at carriers -- such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon -- across 125 of the country's most-populated metro areas. It then ranked the cities from highest to lowest across six categories: overall performance, network reliability, network speed, data performance, cell performance and text performance.

Two things stand out from the rankings. First, smaller metro areas have better coverage. Chicago, ranked eighth on Root Metrics' list, is by far the biggest city in the Top 10. And second, coverage in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, well, sucks.

Los Angeles ranks No. 49, New York and the Tri-state area earned the 66 spot and San Francisco -- synonymous with the tech industry -- scored 86 on Root Metrics' list.