When choosing a mobile provider, coverage matters. You want a provider that is not only widely available but also available in your area. Luckily, the major mobile providers, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, have the best coverage throughout the country. We’ll go over their 4G and 5G coverage and touch on smaller mobile providers so you can get an idea of the best provider for you.
- 70% 4G coverage
- 12% 5G coverage
- Mobile plans start at $30/mo.
- 68% 4G coverage
- 29% 5G coverage
- Mobile plans start at $50/mo.
- 62% 4G coverage
- 53% 5G coverage
- Mobile plans start at $60/mo.
Who has the best cell phone coverage?
The top three mobile providers for cell phone coverage are Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. They cover a significant chunk of the country with both 4G and 5G service.
Verizon provides the most nationwide mobile coverage out of the top providers. Its 4G LTE service is available to 70% of the nation. Coverage is a bit spottier in the country’s Western region, but there’s still a great chance it’s available where you live. On the other hand, Verizon provides 5G service to just 12% of the country with availability focused mainly in the Midwest, South and Northeast regions of the country.
Verizon has some great unlimited mobile plans starting at $30/mo. for one line. You can also bundle a mobile plan with Verizon 5G home internet for a discount.
AT&T is right behind Verizon with 68% 4G LTE coverage throughout the country. Like Verizon, there are some dead spots in the West but solid coverage in the country’s other regions. AT&T has more widespread 5G coverage with 29% availability. AT&T’s 5G service is concentrated primarily in the South, Midwest and Northeast but also has some limited availability in the West, mainly in California.
AT&T’s mobile plans start at $30/mo. for multiple lines. You can also save on an AT&T Fiber plan if you bundle your mobile and internet service.
T-Mobile has the best 5G coverage out of all major mobile providers at 53% and only falls slightly behind Verizon and AT&T with 63% 4G LTE coverage. If 5G coverage is your main concern, then T-Mobile is the best mobile provider for you.
T-Mobile’s phone plans start at $60 for one line, but you can save if you sign up for multiple lines. T-Mobile also offers promotional perks and bundling discounts with its 5G home internet service.
Other mobile providers
An alternative to subscribing to one of the top mobile carriers is to subscribe to a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). MVNOs lease network capacity from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), which are the carriers that own and operate their own infrastructure like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
MVNOs like Mint Mobile and Visible Wireless offer affordable pricing and coverage through other provider networks. Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network, so you’ll have access to T-Mobile’s 5G network and speeds with Mint Mobile’s affordable pricing. Visible Wireless uses Verizon’s network to provide 4G and 5G coverage.
Mobile broadband coverage
When you look for a mobile phone plan, you’re going to see many mentions of 4G and 5G networks, so it’s important not to confuse 5G cell coverage and 5G mobile broadband coverage.
You can use your phone to access the internet, but a mobile broadband connection will be far less reliable, slower and have more limitations when it comes to internet activities.
Even so, mobile broadband can be a great resource for those always on the go, and you can usually bundle a mobile plan with a home internet plan to save some money.
What to look for in a mobile provider
Coverage: When searching for a mobile provider, you’ll first want to consider coverage. Check the provider’s coverage map to make sure you have access to the network in your area.
Data: The next step is figuring out how many lines and how much data you need. Many providers offer multiple-line discounts, so it’s likely cheaper the more lines you get. Your data is also important; many providers offer unlimited data, but you can opt for a lower-cost plan if you don’t think you’ll need a lot of data.
Features: Compare the features included with the plan. Do you need unlimited hotspot data? International coverage? No contracts? These features will vary by provider, so compare each one based on what you need.
How to check your cell phone coverage
If you’re curious about your provider’s coverage, you can check their coverage maps online:
Who has the best 5G network?
Right now, T-Mobile has the best 5G network, but where available, Verizon’s 5G network is a top performer. Verizon also has its 5G Ultra Wideband network which will improve its performance as it rolls out.
What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
5G is the latest generation of cellular network technology and provides faster speeds, lower latency and more reliability than 4G networks. 4G networks are still prevalent throughout the country, but carriers are continuing to develop their 5G infrastructure.
Written by:Camryn Smith
Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans…
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content