Wireless Coverage Comparison: Sprint vs. Verizon vs. AT&T
Who Has the Best Coverage?
One of the most critical things to look for in a phone provider is the type of coverage they provide. This is because this radically affects the quality of the phone service in terms of dropped calls, number of bars you get, 3G and 4G availability, and so on. After all, if your wireless provider gives excellent coverage in a city where you aren’t currently living, and terrible coverage in your area, then the overall coverage will hardly be of consolation to you.
The best phone service for you in terms of coverage will depend on your individual needs such as location, 3G versus phone use, and other factors.
The Sprint network costs a minimum of about 30 dollars for a 200 minute plan. The most expensive is around a bit over 100 dollars a month for unlimited minutes. All plans offer complete access to the Sprint network, including roaming. The 100 dollar and 70 dollar plans also offer unlimited data on their network.
-Effective roaming plans
-Push to Talk
-Combined Data Plans
Western U.S. Coverage
The Sprint coverage in areas west of the Continental divide are lacking. For example, areas like Idaho and Colorado in the Northwestern United States have serious coverage problems. Alaska, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming also have very sparse coverage as far as being able to get a good signal with the Sprint network specifically.
The pricing for Sprint roaming tends to be more affordable than other plans, so this helps offset the bad areas of the Sprint network. Generally speaking, you’ll get charged less for roaming with Sprint as a result than you would be with other carriers like Verizon or AT&T.
Coverage Strengths in Unique Areas
The Sprint coverage does much better in a few unique areas like Hawaii, or Puerto Rico for example. The large highways in the United States also receive very good Sprint coverage, making them a wise choice for travel.
Verizon has a new “Global Data plan” that is just 25 dollars and that helps you save Internet cost significantly when you’re going abroad. They have also recently come out with a “Share Everything” plan which has wireless data charges that go from 50 to 100 dollars with varying data caps between 1 GB and 10 GB. The business plans go between 40 dollars per month for 450 minutes, to around 200 dollars per month for 6000 minutes. By adding 20 dollars to any plan, you can also add free texting.
-unlimited mobile to mobile minutes
-vast network with no roaming or long distance charges
-unlimited nights and weekends within large network
Verizon tends to charge more than other providers, which makes sense given their wide network. New customers will also find wireless data costs are considerably higher than with other plans.
Wide Reliable Coverage
As the largest cell provider in the United States, Verizon has by far the best coverage when taken at face value. There are 3 million or so call testers who make 16 million tests throughout the United States annually to ensure as wide and reliable a network as possible. The network isn’t perfect everywhere, with some problems in mountainous areas, but areas like Canada, Alaska, and most of the American Northwest have very good coverage by the Verizon network.
Verizon has coverage in over 40 countries throughout the world. There are many plans, such as “Wireless Cruise Ship” that allows for cheaper rates when going to specific countries. Verizon even has plans that can be made to apply for the duration of a trip to specific countries. Their new “Global Data Plan” is aimed specifically at travellers.
The AT&T rates start at 40 dollars for 450 minutes. The unlimited minutes plan is only 70 dollars. You can add a cheap data plan in the AT&T network for just 20 dollars a month and 300 MB, and the 3 GB is just 30 per month.
-free nights and weekends
-free calling between mobile lines
AT&T has is becoming known for having some serious reliability problems in terms of low bars as well as missed calls, and they have one of the smaller networks compared to the other big name providers. This was determined by groups like JD Power and the Cell Phone Advisor.
Cheap Unlimited Minutes
These days a lot of providers are eliminating unlimited minutes plans due to rising costs, but AT&T still has one for 70 dollars that lets you access their entire coverage network. The free 30 day trial period they offer is also often the longest of any carrier.
Wide Coverage Area
Although the coverage reliability can be spotty, the wide area covered by AT&T includes one of the carriers with the most 4G/LTE cities in terms of coverage. They are one of the oldest in the United States, and that means a truly wide coverage, with many cell phone roaming tower agreements.