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Best Cell Phone Carriers That Offer the Best Coverage in 2024: We Ranked Them!

Before switching to a new phone carrier, it’s essential to consider a few factors! Network coverage, pricing plans, and other complementary perks are what really sets the best carrier apart from an average provider. In this comprehensive review, we will compare the best cell phone carriers in the US market to see which one meets your unique needs and provides maximum value!

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Comparing Best Cell Phone Carriers in 2024: Find the Perfect Fit for You

T-Mobile: Best Provider Overall

AT&T: Best for Nationwide Coverage

Xfinity Mobile: Best for Bundling with Home Internet

Verizon: Best for Rural Areas

Metro by T-Mobile: Best for Affordable Family Plans  

Google Fi Wireless: Best for International Travelers

Mint Mobile: Best for Ultra-Low-Cost Plans

Consumer Cellular: Best for Seniors

Visible Wireless: Best for Unlimited Data

The first one on our list is T-Mobile, which claims to provide its 5G network in more cities and towns in America than any other wireless provider. Over the years, it has made substantial investments in growing and improving its network coverage. From the suburbs to rural areas, T-Mobile has an impressive reach, no doubt. The provider also uses advanced technology like 5G and has improved its 4G LTE network, making it more accessible to its diverse user base.

What also sets T-Mobile apart from its competitors is its affordable and best mobile phone plans. The Go5G plan, priced at $75 per month, stands out as an excellent choice for those seeking unlimited data without breaking the bank. Initiatives like Uncarrier, where users can access unlimited talk, text, and data without any surprise or hidden fees, make this carrier a more attractive option than other top providers like Verizon. More on the T-Mobile’s flexible pricing plans later!

With affordable plans come additional perks! We are talking free streaming on Netflix or Apple TV+ and mobile hotspot allowances. Not only that, users can also grab discounted rates for additional lines from time to time. And let’s not forget the exclusive deals on smartphones and other devices. If that was not already impressive, T-Mobile also offers international roaming benefits and other add-ons that can appeal to certain customer segments.

Pricing:

  • Essentials Saver ($50) and Essentials ($60) offer unlimited talk/text + 50GB premium data. 

  • Go5G Next ($100) has unlimited premium data with Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+. 

  • Go5G Plus ($90) adds 50GB hotspot to unlimited data + streaming. 

  • Go5G ($75) gives 100GB premium data and 6 months of Apple TV+. 

  • Magenta MAX ($85) is unlimited premium data with Netflix and Apple TV+. 

  • Magenta ($70) offers 100GB premium data and 6 months of Apple TV+.

USPs:

There’s a lot to boast about T-Mobile, including its attractive unlimited plans, low-cost tiered data options, extensive 5G coverage reaching 330 million people nationwide, and a host of perks for subscribers. Its ultimate USP is its affordable plans! The Go5G plan, in particular, offers a compelling combination of affordability and data allowances, making it an attractive choice for heavy data users. Pair these plans with excellent perks (free streaming subscriptions and mobile hotspot allowances), and you can enhance your overall customer experience.

Pros
Cons

Our Verdict:

In our comprehensive review of the best phone carriers, T-Mobile emerged as the best option for the overall customer experience. From competitive pricing to robust 5G coverage, it covers all the bases well! Not to mention the subscriber-focused perks that make this wireless service even more attractive. The affordable unlimited and tiered best internet plans cater to a diverse user base, while the extensive 5G network ensures high-speed connectivity for users across the country. T-Mobile customer service is also quite commendable.

Despite minor drawbacks such as data caps on prepaid plans and potential speed differentials in certain areas, T-Mobile’s overall offering makes it a strong contender in the wireless provider market. For users seeking value, reliable service, and added benefits, T-Mobile stands out as an attractive option.

AT&T is one of the largest wireless carriers in the United States. In fact, it comes under one of the Big Threes and takes network coverage seriously. The wireless provider has been making strategic investments, just like T-Mobile. It has expanded and improved its 4G LTE and 5G networks in both urban and rural areas. AT&T’s network covers over 68% of the country, as per some independent testings. This makes this high speed data carrier a strong choice for those who frequently travel or live in rural regions.

AT&T’s pricing plans can be generally competitive. It offers a range of plans tailored to different data needs and budgets. If you want a no-nonsense plan and have the budget for it, then the AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan offers great value with unlimited talk, text, and data in 20 Latin American countries with no bars on the speed. Within the same plan, you can also access perks like hotspot data and HD streaming. If you are a budget user, then consider a more pocket-friendly plan. The AT&T Unlimited Starter pack, for instance, lets you enjoy unlimited talk, text, and data, but there’s no guarantee how speedy the network will be!

Let’s get to the additional perks because who doesn’t like that extra cherry on top? If you like to binge-watch your favourite movies and shows, AT&T has some good news for you. With all of their Unlimited packs, you get to enjoy free subscriptions to streaming services like HBO Max (with eligible plans). You will also get discounts on other AT&T services like TV and internet – a pretty sweet deal if you ask us!

Sure, AT&T has wide network coverage, but the speeds are a little questionable. In some areas, AT&T’s 5G and 4G LTE networks deliver fast download and upload speeds. In other regions, the speeds can be average if the network is busy. Though, AT&T is continuing to invest in its 5G network, which should boast data speeds over time.

Pricing:

  • AT&T Unlimited Premium ($50.99/mo. per line): 60GB hotspot per line, 4K streaming, and free services in Latin America.

  • AT&T Unlimited Extra ($40.99/mo. per line): 75GB of premium data, 30GB hotspot per line, standard streaming. 

  • AT&T Unlimited Starter ($35.99/mo. per line): Basic unlimited plan that can be slowed, 5GB hotspot per line, SD streaming.

USPs:

AT&T’s USP is its vast network coverage. You also can’t ignore their growing 5G deployment and budget-friendly plans. Their 5G coverage reaches 290 million people nationwide. The carrier has been improving speeds through the mid-band spectrum, ensuring high-speed connectivity for a large portion of its user base.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

AT&T’s vast network coverage, growing 5G deployment, and competitive pricing make it a solid choice for users seeking reliable wireless service. While premium plans may seem a little expensive to some users, options like the Starter plan balance affordability and essential features. AT&T’s customer service and its strong performance in network testing further reinforce its position as a reputable wireless provider. Overall, AT&T is well-suited for individual users looking for cost-effective plans without compromising on network quality and coverage.

If you use Comcast like most Americans, Xfinity Mobile can save you a lot on the bills. The carrier uses Verizon’s massive 4G LTE network. This means that as an Xfinity Mobile subscriber, you will get the same solid coverage as Verizon users since the network spans over 2.4 million square miles and 327 million people in the US.

Xfinity Mobile offers flexible, affordable options. Bundling it with Xfinity’s internet and TV helps you save even more. The Xfinity Unlimited option costs $40 per line each month. If you don’t use much data, try “By the Gig”. On all By The Gig lines, shared data costs $20 per GB.

Xfinity Mobile uses Verizon’s network, so data connections are fast and dependable. Xfinity Mobile subscribers should get Verizon-like 4G LTE download and upload speeds in locations with robust Verizon coverage.

Pricing:

Pricing for Xfinity Mobile is designed to offer affordable alternatives, especially for users who bundle with Xfinity Internet. The Unlimited plan costs $40 per month, with discounted pricing for extra lines, making it affordable for families. By-the-gig pricing at $20 per gigabyte offers flexibility to consumers with different data demands.

USPs:

One of Xfinity Mobile’s key advantages is its connection with Verizon, which provides extensive 5G coverage. Xfinity Mobile users in Verizon’s 5G zones enjoy powerful and consistent network access. Users can watch HD content, play online games, and video conference with faster download and upload speeds, minimal latency, and seamless communication thanks to Verizon’s infrastructure.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

For Xfinity internet customers, Xfinity Mobile offers low prices, consistent Verizon coverage, and flexible plan options. Non-Xfinity consumers may be deterred by the need for an Xfinity internet subscription, but those bundled with Xfinity services can save money and get advantages. Xfinity Mobile is a high speed data carrier that is a great alternative for families and individuals seeking economical mobile plans with reliable network performance. Not to mention, Xfinity Mobile’s customer service is very helpful.

Verizon has the best countrywide service, especially in rural regions. The wireless carrier has substantially invested in 4G LTE and 5G networks to reach rural and less inhabited areas. Verizon even goes as far as claiming that its 4G LTE network covers more than 99% of the U.S. population. These are not just petty claims – they are well-backed with numerous awards for how reliable and quality-driven their 5G network is!

Verizon charges more than its competitors, but its network performance and coverage typically justify it. Their unlimited plans provide different features and rewards at varying prices. However, for rural customers who prioritise coverage over cost, Verizon’s pricing may be worth it. They can still go for their most base plan, Unlimited Welcome – starting at $30/line.

After selecting a plan, you can choose add-ons like Disney’s streaming bundle or temporary international roaming with TravelPass benefits for $10/month each. While these extras can increase costs, their monthly nature allows flexible addition or removal as needed.

Pricing:

As we discussed, Verizon pricing can be a little overboard for users in the rural region. Though, the wireless phone carrier makes up for it with its premium offerings. They offer three Unlimited plans at different price points for users with varied needs. The Unlimited Plus plan, priced at $45 per month, provides faster Ultra Wideband 5G coverage along with 30GB of hotspot data. If you are looking for a low-cost plan, then the Unlimited Welcome plan might suit you better. It starts at just $30/line and offers reliable and fast 5G. 

USPs:

Verizon’s USPs include its wide network, quick mmWave 5G coverage, and great prepaid pricing. Its concentration on solid rural service makes it suited for users outside urban hubs. Additionally, Verizon’s customer service reputation and device acceptance policies contribute to its appeal among consumers.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Verizon’s strong network, wide coverage, and affordable prices make it a great alternative for rural consumers. The carrier ranks high in the phone carrier market because of its stable connectivity, rapid 5G speeds, and reasonable prepaid alternatives. Despite potential cost additions and speed differentials in certain regions, Verizon’s overall offering makes it a reliable and customer-centric choice for users seeking consistent service and performance.

T-Mobile’s 4G LTE and 5G networks provide good coverage in most urban and suburban US cities for Metro by T-Mobile. While not as widespread as T-Mobile’s postpaid network, especially in rural areas, it provides stable access for most consumers.

Metro by T-Mobile subscribers in regions with excellent network coverage should expect similar internet speeds as postpaid customers. Metro’s internet rates may be deprioritised during network congestion, resulting in slower speeds than T-Mobile’s postpaid users.

Metro by T-Mobile offers affordable options for folks wishing to save mobile costs. Their $40–$60 per line unlimited data plans provide greater advantages and fewer data restrictions as you upgrade. Lower plans include a 1-year VIX Premium membership. Add 8GB of hotspot data and 100GB of Google One to get Metro’s $50 Unlimited Middle plan. The most popular $60 package includes 25GB of hotspot internet and unlimited messaging to 210+ countries. If you don’t want one of their unlimited plans, try the 5GB $30/mo plan for families and households.

With their $60 unlimited high-speed internet package, Metro by T-Mobile offers unlimited messaging to 210+ countries, scam call protection, and exclusive food, gas, and entertainment promotions. The taxes and regulatory costs are applied to your monthly plan, so there are no surprises.

Pricing:

Metro by T-Mobile offers flexible pricing choices to meet diverse budgets and data needs. The $60-per-month best-unlimited plan includes 25GB of hotspot internet and 100GB of Google One storage, making it ideal for heavy data users. Metro’s $30-per-month 5GB package delivers affordability without sacrificing network quality or coverage.

USPs:

Metro’s USPs include its use of T-Mobile’s powerful network infrastructure, assuring stable coverage and high broadband speeds across the US. Metro is ideal for consumers seeking reliable and economical wireless service due to this collaboration, which ensures constant connectivity, minimised disruptions, and smooth performances.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Overall, Metro by T-Mobile is a promising wireless service option for economical family plans and reliable connectivity. Metro is attractive due to its unlimited data possibilities, affordable price, and T-Mobile’s huge network and 5G coverage. While some features are limited to higher-tier plans and network congestion can slow data speeds, Metro’s customer service and total offering make it a good alternative for budget-conscious customers and families seeking reliable wireless coverage.

Google Fi uses a combination of various networks like T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular in the US. It offers 4G LTE and 5G networks in 200+ countries through over 200 providers. Due to its global network coverage, Google Fi consumers may stay connected practically anywhere.

Google Fi’s data speeds vary by partner network and region, although fast 4G LTE and 5G speeds are typical in metropolitan areas. While not the quickest, Google Fi’s data rates are usually good enough for streaming and video chats.

Google Fi’s pricing is simple and affordable for overseas travellers. The Flexible Plan is $20 per month for unlimited calls and texts and $10 per GB for data in the U.S. and overseas. Google Fi’s data offers are limited compared to Verizon and other competitors, so if you need a lot of data, seek elsewhere. Two additional unlimited plans offer data without limitations in the US, Canada, and Mexico, although speed will degrade after markups for each plan.

Pricing:

Google Fi offers many price alternatives to meet consumer demands. Its innovative by-the-gig pricing plan charges $20 for unlimited talk and text and $10 per gigabyte of data. This flexible method lets customers only pay for the data they use, making it appealing to individuals with changing data consumption patterns. Google Fi provides unlimited data options beginning at $50 per month for one line of data, including international data usage.

USPs:

Google Fi Wireless’ USP is its amazing worldwide connectivity. The carrier lets customers utilise data and messaging in over 200 countries without roaming fees, unlike many other cellphone carriers. This function is useful for regular travellers and those who need connectivity overseas for jobs or fun trips. Pixel and Samsung phones also receive 5G in some locations when travelling abroad. 

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Google Fi Wireless is appealing to foreign travellers and flexible data package consumers. It is a flexible and convenient wireless service with reasonable prices, free international internet usage, and device compatibility. Google Fi’s pay-per-gig pricing strategy and other benefits make it a formidable cellular provider, especially for overseas connections and Google Pixel devices. Google Fi Wireless’ customer service is also something worth applauding!

Mint Mobile uses T-Mobile’s countrywide 4G LTE and 5G networks, which serve most urban and suburban regions well. Mint Mobile subscribers, like other MVNOs on T-Mobile’s network, may have slower internet speeds during network congestion than postpaid customers. Users may anticipate T-Mobile-like 4G LTE and 5G broadband speeds in locations with strong T-Mobile coverage and low network traffic.

Mint Mobile excels at low-cost pricing. The provider has some of the cheapest prepaid plans, especially long-term ones. Their 5GB plan is $15 per month, while their unlimited plan costs just $30. These rates are far lower than most major carriers. There’s a great news for all. Mint Mobile is currently offering enormous discounts on their website—any 3-month plan for $15/mo or $45 if you pay upfront for the year.

Mint Mobile has few frills, but its affordable pricing plans are its major perk. Mint Mobile services also allow you to share your data connection as a mobile hotspot with other devices.

Pricing:

Mint Mobile offers ultra-low-cost plans with upfront payments for coverage. Mint Mobile’s 5GB data rates start at $15 per month, considered among the lowest in the industry. The carrier also provides a $30/month unlimited data package, giving consumers options to meet their data demands and budget.

USPs:

Mint Mobile’s affordable plans provide budget-friendly options without losing network coverage. Mint Mobile’s rapid speed and stable connectivity over T-Mobile’s wide network make it a good alternative for budget-conscious individuals. The carrier also lets consumers maximise their cellular connection without breaking the bank with $15 per month for 5GB of data.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Mint Mobile’s ultra-low-cost plans and utilisation of T-Mobile’s network appeal to those who value price without sacrificing network performance. Though the commitment requirement and limited freebies may turn off some consumers, Mint Mobile’s reasonable price and flexible plans make it a solid cellular service. Mint Mobile customer service when paired with affordable rates and consistent coverage, gives you the ultimate phone experience.

Consumer Cellular provides countrywide 4G LTE and 5G service on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. This partnership with two major carriers gives Consumer Cellular consumers strong service in most places, even rural ones. No need to worry as subscribers will have data speeds like those carriers’ postpaid subscribers. Users should have fast 4G LTE and 5G internet rates for surfing, streaming, and other online activities in places with robust coverage.

Consumer Cellular offers simple, affordable pricing for senior users. Heavy users don’t worry about overages with the $50 Unlimited Data plan. The $35 10GB plan suits many with its data allowance and affordability. AARP and couples-sharing discounts are also available from Consumer Cellular.

One of the standout perks is that Consumer Cellular customer service is tailored specifically for seniors. Their U.S. customer care agents are trained to help patiently and clearly. Consumer Cellular provides savings on health and safety items and a free monthly use and charge summary for convenient tracking.

Pricing:

Consumer Cellular provides many plan choices with competitive prices for consumers with different data needs. For heavy internet users, the $50/month Unlimited Data plan offers enough data without overages. The $35/month 10GB plan balances data allowance with pricing, making it appealing to many consumers. Consumer Cellular’s pricing is competitive in its target market despite the lack of prepaid plans.

USPs:

Consumer Cellular’s USPs include savings for AARP members, substantial data allowance, and 5G coverage for compatible devices. The airline stands out by offering simpler plans and low charges to seniors. Consumer Cellular’s use of AT&T and T-Mobile networks assures stable coverage and network performance in many places.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Consumer Cellular is ideal for the elderly and customers seeking economical cell phone service with adequate bandwidth. The carrier’s partnerships with major networks provide dependable service, while AARP savings benefit seniors. While heavy data users may find cheaper solutions, Consumer Cellular’s simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and accessible rates make it a viable competitor. Consumer Cellular is a great choice for dependability, price, and usability.

Visible uses Verizon’s countrywide 4G LTE and 5G networks, which include urban, suburban, and rural locations. In Verizon-covered locations, Visible users may anticipate fast 4G LTE and 5G broadband speeds. Visible’s unlimited data plan deprioritises data; thus, during network congestion, consumers may experience slower speeds than Verizon’s postpaid subscribers.

Visible’s unlimited data price is simple and appealing. Visible and Visible+ are 2 unlimited plans from the carrier. The base plan, starting at $25/mo, offers unlimited talk, text, and data. The taxes and fees are included, so there are no surprises. The Visible+ costs $45/mo. Users get unlimited everything and 50 GB/mo of premium data on Verizon’s 5G and 4G LTE networks. It also prevents high-risk spam and robocalls. You can also save $10/mo on Verizon Home Internet.

Visible now supports Android smartphones, from high-end Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel flagships to cheap variants like the Pixel 7a. Visible’s early upgrade scheme lets you swap phones after paying 50% off. Bring your own device to Visible’s network

Pricing:

Visible offers unlimited data plans beginning at $25 per month and Visible+ at $45 per month. Budget-conscious shoppers can clearly see taxes and fees in these plans for transparency. Visible does not provide tiered or prepaid rates, but its unlimited bandwidth makes it valuable for high-data consumers. Premium customers get access to additional international features and services. We are talking about unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of data per day in Mexico & Canada. The calling applies to 30+ countries & unlimited texting to 200+. 

USPs:

Visible’s USPs include economical unlimited data rates, Verizon network access, and bonuses in the Visible Plus package. The Visible Plus plan includes 50GB of premium data, international calling to over 30 countries, data roaming in Mexico and Canada, and quicker mobile hotspot connectivity. Visible also works with iPhones and Android phones, making it accessible to a varied user base.

Pros
Cons

Our Overall Verdict:

Visible is ideal for those seeking economic unlimited data plans with solid coverage and Verizon’s network. The Visible Plus plan includes international calling and better broadband speeds, and taxes and fees are included in plan pricing for transparency. Visible may slow down amid network congestion and lack multi-line discounts, but its total offering makes it a powerful wireless carrier. Visible customer service and pricing is a good alternative for families and people seeking affordable, unlimited data with consistent performance.

First, evaluate your coverage needs before picking the best phone service company. View each carrier’s network maps and independent testing data to determine which offers the greatest coverage in your home, workplace, and frequent travel destinations. Strong, dependable coverage is essential, especially in rural or distant areas.

Assess your data consumption to determine if an unlimited or limited data plan is best. Heavy data users who stream video or music may desire an unlimited package to prevent overage penalties. Light to moderate data users may benefit from a tiered data plan at a cheaper monthly cost. Compare carrier prices for each plan type based on your data needs.

Finally, weigh extra perks, device alternatives, and customer service ratings. Free streaming, mobile hotspots, and international roaming from some providers may add value. Don’t forget to check your device’s compatibility. See how each carrier resolves issues and provides good customer service. Considering all these factors will help you choose the greatest fit.

When comparing the best cell phone carriers, we consider a few critical aspects that affect customer experience and value:

1. Network Coverage: Assessing each carrier’s countrywide coverage, including urban, suburban, and rural strength, using independent statistics and crowd-sourced reports.

2. Plan prices: Check mobile phone plans’ comparisons. Focus on unlimited, tiered, family/multi-line plan prices among carriers to get the best deals.

3. Data Performance: Assessing real-world speed test data from various market locations to evaluate each carrier’s 4G LTE and 5G download and upload rates.

4. Additional Perks: Consider free streaming, hotspot allowances, foreign options, discounts, and other value-added features.

5. Customer Experience: Considering reviews and feedback on customer service accessibility, issue resolution, and user satisfaction.

Selecting a phone provider can bring forth quite a challenge, given the profusion of carriers accessible to an average user. Our full scale estimation zeroed in on a selection of the finest phone carriers in the United States. Users must go over their network expansiveness, data requisites, tariff affordability, device compatibility, and supplementary incentives when electing a plan that aligns with their requirements.

FAQs

There is no definitive “best” carrier for the entire USA. It depends on individual needs like coverage area, data usage, pricing preference, and features required. Major carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile each have their strengths and ideal user profiles based on performance in specific regions.

Verizon generally has better overall nationwide coverage, especially in rural areas. However, AT&T often has faster data speeds in urban centres. Verizon tends to be more expensive, while AT&T offers more options for bundling services. The better choice depends on your location and prioritisation of coverage vs pricing.

For most urban and suburban areas, T-Mobile provides comparable or better coverage and data speeds than Verizon at lower pricing. However, Verizon’s rural coverage still surpasses that of T-Mobile. If you frequently travel to remote areas, Verizon may be preferable, but T-Mobile is a strong value option for city dwellers.