Which Carrier Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage in My Area?
Best Cell Phone Coverage in Your Area: 2023
With so many cell phone carriers to choose from, don’t we all want to pick the one with the best service in our area? Selecting the best carrier for you isn’t about the best overall coverage. It’s about which carrier is going to keep you connected where you spend most of your time.
Between Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, our cell phone coverage map comparison will show which service provider reigns supreme in your area.
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Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Coverage Map
Verizon has the best 4G LTE coverage that spans across 70% of the United States. That’s 2% more than AT&T and 8% more than T-Mobile. It covers 327 million people over 2.68 million square miles.
Depending on your location, you may be covered by Verizon's 5G. It’s available in about 12% of the US, lagging behind T-Mobile and AT&T.
At a glance, Verizon's coverage map shows more reliable 4G/5G coverage on the Eastern side of the country. This makes sense, as the Eastern United States is more densely populated, and the Rocky Mountains are far taller and more infrastructure-intense than the East’s Appalachians.
Coverage is slightly lacking in some Western states, predominately rural areas. 5G is currently only available in select urban and suburban areas.
Explore Verizon’s coverage map to see if their 4G/5G service is available in your area. For cell site information, here's how to find a Verizon cell tower near you.
On average, reports state that Verizon users receive a 4G/5G connection 99.1% of the time. Consistent connectivity falls a hairline behind AT&T. Average speeds clock in at around 29.8 Mbps.
Verizon’s prices reflect their dominance, having the highest rates for their superior coverage and reliability.
If you find yourself outside of Verizon’s coverage or in buildings that block that otherwise reliable signal, a signal booster will help you get the most out of Verizon’s signals.
- #1 in 4G LTE Coverage
- #2 in Connectivity
- #3 in 5G Coverage
- #3 in Average Download Speeds
AT&T Cell Phone Coverage Map
AT&T ranks second in LTE/4G/5G coverage and speed. Its 4G network is available across 68% of the US. AT&T 5G is only available across 29%, reaching more than 285 million people in more than 22,000 US cities and towns. AT&T is continuously working on expanding its 5G and 5G+ (faster 5G) coverage footprint.
Verizon and AT&T’s coverage maps look similar. Coverage differences lie in remote and rural areas. Look at AT&T’s 4G and 5G coverage map to ensure they offer reliable coverage where you need it. You can also easily find an AT&T cell tower near you with our handy guide.
Mobile network experience reports state AT&T users enjoy reliable 4G and 5G connectivity 99.3% of the time. That’s .2% more than Verizon and .8% more than T-Mobile. AT&T subscribers spend the largest amount of time connected to the network in the places that matter.
AT&T also delivers faster download speeds than Verizon, but not as fast as T-Mobile. On average, users experience mobile data speeds of 34.4 Mbps. That’s fast enough to browse social media, video call, or stream without a problem.
- #1 in Connectivity
- #2 in 4G LTE Coverage
- #2 in 5G Coverage
- #2 in Average Download Speeds
T-Mobile Cell Phone Coverage Map
T-Mobile's 4G coverage falls behind AT&T and Verizon with it covering 62% of the US. T-Mobile makes up for the incremental 4G coverage difference in other areas. They have the largest 5G network and the fastest data speeds.
The T-Mobile and Sprint merger expanded T-Mobile's coverage footprint and set them up to build the largest and most reliable 5G network. Thanks to the merger, T-Mobile aims to deliver 14x more network capacity, 15x faster 5G speeds, and 5G for 99% of the US population (including rural America) within the next 6 years. Currently, T-Mobile's 5G blankets 53% of the US, delivering reliable 5G to over 320 million people. Find your service area on T-Mobile's coverage map to see what network is available near you. If it is, here's how to find a T-Mobile cell tower near you.
T-Mobile has the least coverage in rural areas. Though, that’s expected to change in the near future due to their partnership with Starlink. Using SpaceX’s satellites, T-Mobile plans to provide near-complete coverage everywhere.
Users report reliable 4G/5G connectivity 98.5% of the time, putting it a tad behind Verizon and AT&T.
While T-Mobile may not have the largest coverage footprint, it does dominate data speeds. Subscribers enjoy average download speeds of 61.7 Mbps and upload speeds of 9.8 Mbps.
- #1 5G Coverage
- #1 in Average Download Speeds
- #3 in 4G Coverage
- #3 in Connectivity
US Cellular Cell Phone Coverage Map
Now with Sprint out of the picture, US Cellular is the fourth-largest mobile network with the least coverage footprint. Respectively, US Cellular’s 4G network covers about 10% of the country, with 5G covering even less.
To achieve nationwide coverage, they have roaming agreements with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Subscribers can roam on partnering 4G and 5G networks to remain connected when US Cellular service isn’t available at no extra cost. The coverage map on US Cellular’s website reflects their core network and roaming network combined.
Just because US Cellular devices can access Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile networks doesn’t mean great service anytime anywhere. Because the device enters roaming mode outside the core network, reception may be of lower quality. A signal booster can definitely help improve US Cellular voice and data reliability at home or on the go.
- #4 in 4G Coverage
- #4 in 5G Coverage
How to Find the Best Phone Coverage in Your Area
You can identify which carrier offers the best service in your area by looking over different carrier coverage maps.
Compare Carrier Coverage Maps:
They’ll disclose estimated 4G and 5G availability in your area. Contrary to other sources, they do not show signal strength or cell tower location. You can use that information to choose the carrier that best fits your needs.
There are also crowdsourced coverage maps via apps and websites available. They may provide a better representation of real-world service in your area. A great and easy-to-navigate option is the OpenSignal app, available on iOS and Android.
Coverage Map Shows I Should Have Signal, But Don’t. Is Cell Phone Reception a Carrier Issue?
So, you’ve looked at your cellular provider's coverage map, as well as others, and saw that your area should be covered. HOWEVER, cell reception is less than decent.
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, there are simply too many factors that play a role in connectivity issues.
Throttling and prioritization, for one, often result in unsatisfactory service. Thus, many point the finger at their carrier for dropped calls and slow data even though carriers disclose said info on all plans.
Other factors that affect your cell signal, which are out of your carrier's control might I add, are:
- Your Phone’s Age: Newer phone models receive much better reception than older devices. As telecom networks evolve (i.e., LTE, 4G, 5G, etc.), newer devices can tap into newer AND faster frequency spectrums rolled out by your carrier.
- Blocking Your Phone’s Antenna: Phone antennas are small and internal, 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 signals.
- WiFi 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, concrete, brick, etc.) and natural obstructions (mountains, hills, valleys, thick foliage, etc.) kill or weaken incoming signals. Thus, limiting cellular coverage inside your home, office, or vehicle.
- Cell Tower Distance: Just like walking away from a speaker, the farther you are from a cell tower or small cell, 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.
To overcome tower distance and obstacle challenges, cellular repeaters can definitely help regardless of which carrier you have. They use powerful equipment designed to amplify your cell signal and broadcast it where you need it.
At Your Wits End with Your Carrier’s Coverage? What Does it Cost to Switch 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, depending on your carrier and how far along you are in your contract. Some mobile carriers offer to pay off early termination fees to gain your business. Just make sure you know all the details about the process. You may be required to pay the fees upfront, and your new carrier will reimburse 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 installment plans, 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. To take full advantage of the promotion, you're required to have the lines and devices active for a certain amount of time. Depending on the remaining balance of your $1,000+ smartphone(s), this has the potential to be a costly expense. Failure to pay the balance will cause challenges when porting your number to a different carrier. It could even result in blacklisting your device.
- Starting service with a new carrier comes with additional expenses, like activation fees, down payment on a new phone(s), and plan costs.
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. 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 existing signals, amplify them, 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 4G cell phone coverage. Though, its competitors do continue to offer comparable coverage at more affordable prices. If you're looking for the best 5G coverage, T-Mobile is the way to go.
Overall, each carrier provides a strong enough signal in most areas of the United States. With a signal booster, even the weakest signal can be amplified to top speeds.
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Keep in mind that cell phone coverage varies by location, so even the most comprehensive service will have some blind spots. There are also certain areas of the country that are so remote that none of the major carriers prioritize coverage there. Make sure to explore the interactive coverage maps provided by each carrier to 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, business, or vehicle (including everything from cars and trucks to big rigs and boats). Email (firstname.lastname@example.org), call (1-800-568-2723), or chat with one of our signal experts here for a personalized recommendation.
Best Cell Phone Coverage FAQs
Which Cell Phone Carrier has the Most Coverage?
In terms of overall coverage footprint, Verizon offers the most coverage. Though, it’s predominantly 4G LTE.
Which Carrier has the Best 5G Coverage?
T-Mobile reigns superior when it comes to 5G coverage. Their 5G network covers 53% of the US, while AT&T only covers 29%, Verizon 12%, and US Cellular less than 10%.
Which Carrier Has the Best 4G Network?
Verizon. They offer reliable coverage across 70% of the US, followed by AT&T with 68%, T-Mobile with 62%, and US Cellular with 10%.
Which Mobile Network is Most Reliable?
Signal reliability will vary by location.
Which Provider has the Best Reception for Rural Areas?
Verizon’s 4G network covers more rural areas than other major US Carriers. Though in some areas, US Cellular may be better. Make sure to explore each network's interactive coverage map. T-Mobile is your best bet for 5G coverage in rural areas.
- USA Mobile Network Experience Report | Opensignal
- US Cellular Coverage Map | WhistleOut
- Finding Best Cell Coverage Guide | WhistleOut
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