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Which cell phone carrier has the best coverage in my area

Smartphone Signal 4
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How do you find the best cell phone network in your area? In this guide, NextPit explains how you can find out the best coverage of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile & others. We also explain what you need to look out for when deciding between a cell phone operator and a prepaid carrier.

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A wide variety of network providers advertise massive data speeds and great networks. However, the quality of these networks is not necessarily the same everywhere. Various factors play a role here, such as where you live or even the construction of your own house. You should also take into account which hotspots there are in your everyday life besides your home.

Selecting the best network provider can be difficult. Many people tend to look at the price and the available data package - and are then annoyed that the reception in parts of the house or even in some neighborhoods is not satisfactory. However, this does not mean that the most expensive rates are also the right ones for you.

Best phone contracts
AT&T Verizon Verizon Business
Best prepaid phone plans
Straight Talk Mint Mobile Lyca Mobile
  Tello Mobile  
Find the best mobile plan for your needs
Find the best network coverage in your region

Check network coverage where you live

Almost all of you have already heard about network coverage. This not only means that there are cellular antennas in your area, but also indicate how many masts are installed for any number of users. Many network providers have maps available on their websites that show you whether you are in a coverage area or not. In the following table, you will not only find the direct links to them, but also our plans overviews, if you are interested in a certain provider and are looking for offers!

The NextPit phone plans overviews!

Carrier plans Network coverage map
Verizon phone contracts overview  Click here for the map
AT&T phone contracts overview Click here for the map
Straight Talk prepaid plans overview Click here for the map
Mint Mobile prepaid plans overview Click here for the map
Lyca Mobile prepaid plans overview Click here for the map
Tello Mobile prepaid plans overview Click here for the map

In addition to their own maps, there are always independent companies that put the network coverage of mobile providers through their paces. Additionally, the FCC maintains a coverage map comparison between AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Cellular, painting a more realistic view, but it was last updated in May 2021 and only shows 4G LTE coverage.

FCC USA 4G Coverage map (2021/may)
Most metro areas are well covered by the big-4, but Verizon usually offers better coverage in western states / © FCC

Of course, poor reception does not directly mean that your chosen network is not covered. Interference in the mobile network also often leads to problems. The carrier's social media accounts can usually help troubleshoot temporary problems in your region.

Difference between network operators and prepaid carriers

The selection of different rates can be quite overwhelming. For many of us, of course, the price we have to pay in the coming months - and the contract term - are the most important factors. Low-cost prepaid plans in particular sometimes drive prices down to such an extent that one wonders why anyone would ever reach for the big carriers. The answer is often hidden in the fine print of the low rates.

Sometimes the discounters restrict the bandwidths right from the start of the contract. No matter how good the reception, the speed of the mobile Internet is simply not sufficient.

Discount providers also rent the major operators' networks. For example, Tello and Mint Mobile operate in the T-Mobile network. However, during peak times, T-Mobile can prioritize its own traffic and limit services provided to prepaid carriers.

NFL's Super Bowl 50 opening ceremony
High attendance events like the Super Bowl often lead to cellular traffic congestion / © Spc. Brandon C. Dyer/US Department of Defense (public domain)

This means that you will experience more frequent disruptions and poorer reception than carrier subscribers. So if you're interested in a prepaid low-cost contract, be sure to take a closer look at the network coverage beforehand!

If in doubt, you will also find monthly cancelable rates with almost all low-cost carriers. This gives you the opportunity to test the provider first before you commit to 24 months, and if your phone is dual SIM compatible you can test and compare coverage areas in your region.

You should definitely pay attention to this!

Of course, the question now arises as to what you should pay attention to if you want to get a new cell phone contract. To make sure that you don't have any problems at home or on your way to work, you should first check the network coverage of your preferred carrier.

Then you should consider other external aspects. For example, if you live in an old house with thick walls, the network may also suffer. In this case, it is advisable to place the smartphone near windows and doors so that you can make calls in peace. If that is not an option, you can also use messengers like Facebook, WhatsApp, or Telegram to make calls using your local Wi-Fi connection.

It is also important that you pay attention to where and how fast you move. Of course, I don't mean that you don't run a marathon between the kitchen and your bedroom, but rather that you're sure to check your daily commute. Check the network coverage maps to see if your most frequently used routes are covered, and keep in mind that reception tends to suffer at higher speeds.

That was the NextPit How-To for finding the carrier with the best cell phone reception in your area. Do you have any other tips for improving your network at home? And what do you look for when choosing a provider? Let us know in the comments!

NextPit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
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