An In-Depth Cell Phone Coverage Map Comparison
With so many cell phone service carriers to choose from, don’t we all want to pick the one with the best service? Between Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, our cell phone coverage map comparison breaks down all of the options and proves which service provider reigns supreme in your area.
Find your service area on the Verizon Coverage Map
Let’s begin with the largest network. Verizon’s 4G coverage map provides coverage for 327 million people over 2.68 million square miles accounting for 99% of the United States population. Verizon’s prices reflect this dominance, ringing the highest rates to match their superior coverage. If you find yourself in the 1% that resides outside of Verizon’s coverage (typically rural areas) or in buildings that block that otherwise reliable signal, a signal booster will help you get the most out of Verizon’s signal.
The Verizon 3G coverage may vary by location, kicking in when 4G service is unavailable, and the Verizon 5g coverage map is ever-evolving, so please explore their site as this new technology is rapidly expanding to more cities.
Find your service area on the Coverage Map for AT&T
AT&T ranks a close second in available coverage (it’s actually catching up with Verizon), with the fastest overall wireless speeds.
Its 3G network, which is expected to shut down in 2022, covers 70% of the country, while its 4G network covers 68%. AT&T 5G is not available everywhere, but as of 2021, it has reached more than 14,000 cities and towns. Not to mention, AT&T 5G+ (faster 5G) is now available in parts of 38 cities.
Take a look at their coverage map to see which networks are available in your area and how reliable they are. Their 5G coverage is limited on the map, but AT&T has plans to continue expanding to provide their subscribers with superior coverage and data speeds.
Find your service area on the Coverage Map for T-Mobile & Sprint
As of April 1, 2020, the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been completed to create the largest and most reliable 5G network. With this merger, the New T-Mobile holds the second spot for the largest carrier, but is ranked third for coverage in the United States. Within the next 6 years, T-Mobile plans to deliver 14x more network capacity, 5G speeds that are 15x faster, and 5G for 99% of the US population (including Rural America).
By incorporating Sprint’s coverage map into their own, T-Mobile’s 5G & 4G coverage map (and corresponding 3G coverage map) has expanded quite a bit. T-Mobile claims their 5G map is currently the largest – covers over 9,100 cities and towns in all 50 states (nearly 90% of America).
Sprint subscribers have seen a great improvement in coverage. Before the merger, Sprint’s coverage map showed reliable coverage across the more populated areas of the United States, so city dwellers would experience quality service, while more rural subscribers could have some issues. Sprint users with compatible devices can now access most T-Mobile towers for stronger and faster coverage in areas where they otherwise wouldn’t have adequate signal. Because some towers are not available to Sprint subscribers, make sure to check out Sprint’s coverage map.
A larger network and better coverage must mean higher prices, right? The answer is still unknown. The New T-Mobile has committed to not increase prices until 2023. So, stay tuned!
Find your service area on the US Cellular Coverage Map
With a focus on “fairness” and its non-profit contributions, US Cellular provides a comprehensive package for cell phone service, including unlimited talk, text, and data starting at just $30 per line. The US Cellular 5G, 4G LTE, & 3G coverage map includes interactive options, and covers a large portion of the majority of the United States at some of the lowest prices available.
Coverage Map Shows I Should Have a Strong Signal, BUT Don’t. Is Cell Phone Reception a Carrier Issue?
So, you’ve looked at your cellular provider's interactive coverage map, as well as others, and saw that you should be receiving superb cellular reception, but aren’t.
This raises the question: Is your carrier at fault for bad cell phone reception?
As easy as it is to blame your carrier for spotty coverage and dropped signals, there are simply too many factors that play a role in connectivity issues. Throttling and prioritization, for one, often result in unsatisfactory service. As a result, many point the finger at their carrier for dropped calls and slow data even though this information can be found in fine print on your plans terms and conditions. Other factors that affect your cell signal, which are out of your carrier's control might I add, are:
- Your Phones Age: Newer phone models receive much better reception than older devices. As telecom networks evolve (i.e., LTE, 4G, 5G, etc.), newer devices are able to tap into newer AND faster frequency spectrums rolled out by your carrier.
- Blocking Your Phones Antenna: Nowadays, phone antennas are really small and inside your phone, allowing cellular devices to be visually appealing and compact. However, this also means the antenna can easily be blocked by thick or metal cases, as well as your hand position. As a result, the antenna will struggle to maximize incoming cell signal.
- Your WiFi Setting is On: When your WiFi is on, your device will try to access a WiFi network before cellular. This causes your phone to run slow, and sometimes if the phone doesn’t find a WiFi connection, it won't load at all.
- Obstacles: Building material (metal, tinted glass, radiant barriers, concrete, rick, etc.) and natural obstructions (mountains, hills, valleys, thick foliage, etc.) kill or weaken incoming signal. Thus, limiting cellular coverage inside your home, office, or vehicle.
- Cell Tower Distance: Just like walking away from a speaker blasting your favorite song, the farther you are from a cell tower, the weaker the incoming signal becomes. Add in obstacles, and the signal is degraded even further. Tower distance tends to be the main cause of bad cell reception in rural areas.
It’s difficult for cellular carriers to take every possible variable into account and reflect it on their coverage maps. When it comes to overcoming cell tower distance and obstacle challenges, a cellular amplifier can definitely help regardless of which carrier you have.
At Your Wits End with Your Carrier’s Coverage? What Does it Cost to Switch Cell Phone Carriers?
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to improve your cell signal to no avail, then it may be time to change cell carriers. Let’s look at how much it costs to break up with your carrier:
- Early termination fees may apply if you signed up for a contract that you haven’t yet fulfilled. Those charges alone can cost you up to $350 (as of mid-2021), depending on your carrier and how far along you are in your contract. Some mobile carriers offer to pay off your early termination fees to help break your old contract and gain your business, which could be a big win for your wallet. Just make sure you know all the details about the process because you may be required to pay the fees upfront, and your new carrier will credit the amount to your account after a certain period as long as you meet their terms.
- You’ll have to pay off your cellular device(s) before switching carriers. Most carriers offer finance options for their mobile devices, allowing you to slowly chip away at the large price tag. They also offer attractive deals, like BOGO or a free device with a new line, to get you to open an account, upgrade, or add a line. Those deals and discounts require you to have the lines and devices active for a certain amount of time to take full advantage of the promotion and truly get a “FREE” device. Depending on the remaining balance of your $1,000+ smartphone(s), this has the potential to be a pretty costly expense - especially if you recently upgraded or opted into a promo. Failure to pay the balance will cause challenges when porting your number to a different carrier and may even result in blacklisting your device.
- Starting service with a new carrier comes with additional expenses, like activations fees, down payment on a new phone (assuming you didn’t bring your own), and plan costs. Make sure to check your new contract carefully to make sure you’re willing to pay what they’re asking and getting what you really need in return.
For those who own weBoost or WilsonPro signal boosters, they are compatible with all carriers, so you don’t have to worry about making the switch. On the other hand, if you have yet to invest in a signal booster, it’s a wise option to consider before pulling the plug on your current cell phone service provider. The right booster will capture the nearest signal, amplify it, and re-broadcast your new, superpowered signal directly to your mobile devices. Plus, it may be a more economic option since it’s a one-time purchase without monthly fees.
So, Who Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage?
Verizon continues its stranglehold on the top spot for cell phone coverage, though its competitors do continue to offer comparable coverage at more affordable prices. Each carrier provides a strong enough signal in most areas of the United States, and with a signal booster, even the weakest signal can be amplified to top speeds.
Keep in mind that cell phone coverage varies by location, so even the most comprehensive service will have some blind spots. Obviously, looking at our maps above, there are certain areas of the country that are so remote that none of the major carriers prioritize coverage there. Make sure to explore the interactive cell phone coverage maps provided by each carrier to pinpoint your exact location and find the right provider for you.
If weak coverage in your area is presenting problems, a cell signal booster can work wonders. Voice, call, and text all get the boost they need to keep you connected, even in the face of natural and man-made obstructions.
Find the perfect signal booster for your home, office, or vehicle (including everything from cars and trucks to big rigs and boats). Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 1-800-568-2723, or chat with one of our signal experts here for a personalized recommendation.
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