MW-Top-18
Mountain Wireless
Home Network ReviewsCarrier Pros & Cons Local Reports Carrier Archives

Mountain Wireless Local Cellular Reports
Listed by State, N-Z
States A-M

Observations about cellular carriers in the US, broken down by performance based on location, and reported by state. This information is gathered either from personal experience or from reports by contributors in the field.

NEBRASKA:
Verizon Wireless dominates the overall region with excellent 4G-LTE coverage.  Viaero Wireless is the rural coverage leader in Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. For a large part of both states, US Cellular is a top choice with only the western edge of the state uncovered. AT&T has no service of their own in Nebraska other than around Omaha and in the Nebraska panhandle. T-Mobile and Sprint provide almost no service in Nebraska outside of Omaha. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of the state.

NEVADA
:
There is a big difference between urban and rural Nevada cellular service. Verizon Wireless now has the overall lead in the state for coverage. If you live in rural Nevada, you would do well with Choice Wireless in the western half of the state, and AT&T in the eastern half. AT&T also provides excellent urban coverage. Sprint is next in line for coverage across the state due to good in-town and highway coverage, and being able to roam in some rural areas. T-Mobile does well in Las Vegas and is usable along I-15 and I-80, but there is almost no other coverage in the state.  TracFone and Straight Talk are available over most of the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
:
Our top choice in New Hampshire is US Cellular with a slight coverage advantage and consumer-friendly policies. Since US Cellular isn't available in the entire state, Verizon Wireless gets the top honors elsewhere. AT&T is generally a step below except in the mountain areas. Sprint has adequate coverage on their own network in most towns and along major highway corridors but not in rural areas. TracFone and Straight Talk are also good choices over most of New England.  We have no reports on T-Mobile in the northeast although we expect some improvements with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage in populated areas.

NEW JERSEY:
Verizon Wireless gets credit for the best cell phone coverage over most of New jersey, but as you travel eastward the others are just as good. AT&T has made improvements that have fixed most of their problems putting them in first or second place depending on location. As you move closer to the coast, Sprint and T-Mobile are strong choices.  TracFone and Straight Talk work well in the the entire area.

NEW MEXICO:
Verizon Wireless dominates the state with coverage in virtually every county although not necessarily with the best coverage. They have a surprising number of coverage "holes", even along I-25. Following closely is Sprint who has some strategically-located cell sites in urban areas. T-Mobile with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage offers excellent service across most of New Mexico with the exception of a few remote rural areas in the western third of the state. AT&T has had poor coverage in New Mexico but has improved in rural areas with their acquisition of the Alltel and Plateau networks, however, they still have surprising gaps in some urban areas. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of the state.
NEW YORK:
Verizon Wireless has covered the western part of New York a bit better than the others, but as you travel east, the other carriers do their best to serve as much of  New York and surrounding areas as possible. AT&T has made improvements that has put them in first or second place depending on location. Sprint and T-Mobile are strong competitors
, but they don't do as well toward the northern part of the state.  TracFone and StraightTalk work well in the the entire area.

NORTH CAROLINA:

In most locations, there's little difference between AT&T and Verizon Wireless for the best cell phone coverage North Carolina.  T-Mobile with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of the region with the exception of the western part of the state.  Sprint also does well along highways and the cities but has large rural areas without coverage. Look for US Cellular as a top choice in eastern North Carolina. In the western part of the state, Carolina West Wireless tries hard to serve their home market better than the others.  TracFone and StraightTalk work well in the the entire area. Coverage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is quite variable. Public records indicate good service near the entrances to the park but signals within the park are unrelaible.

NORTH DAKOTA:
AT&T now has a slight edge in the area with Verizon Wireless a close second.  There are often significant local differences between the two.  T-Mobile has introduced their "Extended" coverage into large parts of the eastern parts of the state which works very well. Sprint appears in Fargo and Grand Forks and no where else.  There are a couple of tiny carriers that serve isolated communities who do a good job locally, so don't forget to ask about them in your area.  TracFone and Straight Talk do well in most areas.

OHIO:
Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages for our choice with the best cell phone coverage through most of Ohio.  AT&T is the leader in south and southeast Ohio, but they suffer in several urban areas including Cleveland and Akron, and off-highway areas of the north. Sprint performs slightly better than AT&T in many urban areas of the state, but they suffer in rural areas.  T-Mobile, has added to their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage and offers excellent service across many, but not all, parts of the state. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across Ohio.

OKLAHOMA:
The area from I-35 eastward is served best by US Cellular with good coverage and a customer-friendly experience. AT&T serves most of the state very well.  Verizon Wireless has some big holes in the southeast and northwest parts of the state, and Oklahoma City is not their best urban market.  T-Mobile offers good service in most populated areas of the state and has some of their 4G LTE "Extended" coverage in the extreme southeast part of the state. Sprint covers most populated areas, but the western third of the state is served well by Pioneer Cellular, a Sprint affiliate.  The panhandle is best covered by Verizon Wireless and PTCI.  Oklahoma is one state that has several rural areas served with cellular from the local co-op telephone company.  The quality of these services vary considerably.  Most of Oklahoma is also covered by TracFone and StraightTalk.

OREGON
:
Seattle is the former home of AT&T Wireless and that may have contributed to their superior coverage in Oregon. Verizon has expanded to a strong second choice in the state, especially in rural areas.  T-Mobile was also based in the area (as Voicestream) and covers the cities and major highways well, but has little rural service. Sprint offers acceptable coverage in the populated parts of the state but has poor coverage along some highways and little in rural areas. US Cellular does a great job in rural areas and, if they're available near you, are a preferred choice.   TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices over the entire region.

PENNSYLVANIA:
Verizon Wireless has been the coverage leader in Pennsylvania with AT&T making significant improvements, especially around Philadelphia that have fixed most of their capacity and coverage problems. 
T-Mobile with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across both urban and many rural areas. Sprint works well along the eastern edge of the state, adequate along highways and urban areas with many uncovered rural areas elsewhere. TracFone and Straight Talk work well in the the entire area.

PUERTO RICO:
Claro leads with more coverage over the island than others. AT&T provides nearly as good coverage but at higher prices. Sprint and T-Mobile have adequate coverage in the area but T-Mobile gets extra credit for tailoring their product to more reflect a Puerto Rico lifestyle. Open Mobile offers an even more "local" product but we have no coverage reports. Open Mobile and Sprint have agreed to a joint operating agreement in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands which should help both carriers when the deal is finalized, probably in 2017. Keep in mind, wireless in Puerto Rico is governed by the FCC which means mainland US phones should be compatible in Puerto Rico if your plan allows, and vice versa.

RHODE ISLAND:
With more urban areas than other states, there is little difference among the Top 4. Verizon Wireless and AT&T have the more established networks. 
T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, now offers better building penetration than before, and Sprint also does an acceptable job in most places. TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in Rhode Island.


SOUTH CAROLINA:

There's little difference between AT&T and Verizon Wireless for the best cell phone coverage in South Carolina.  T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of the region with the exception of a few areas in the northeast part of the state.  Sprint  also does well along highways and the cities but has some rural areas without coverage.  TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in all of South Carolina.

SOUTH DAKOTA
AT&T now has a slight edge in the area with Verizon Wireless a close second.  There are often significant local differences between the two.  T-Mobile has introduced their "Extended" coverage into large parts of the and the southern half of South Dakota which works very well. Sprint covers mainly the urban areas and some highways. There are a couple of tiny carriers that serve isolated communities who do a good job locally, so don't forget to ask about them in your area.  TracFone and Straight Talk do well in most areas.

TENNESSEE
AT&T and  Verizon Wireless are about tied for coverage in Tennessee. US Cellular, one of our highest-rated carriers, serves most of eastern Tennessee, and if that includes your neighborhood, give them serious consideration.  T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across a small part of rural Tennessee. Sprint has adequate coverage in populated areas and along major highways. TracFone and StraightTalk work in most areas, with the ability to choose whichever carrier is available. There are a few small carriers that get good marks for serving their home area quite well. Coverage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is quite variable. Public records indicate good service near the entrances to the park but signals within the park are unreliable.

TEXAS
For a state as large as Texas, it's difficult to declare any carrier "The Best", but if we had to choose, it would be AT&T. Through mergers, acquisitions and government generosity, they ended up with more of the best spectrum available. But they do not dominate in west Texas where, after the takeover of the Alltel network, Verizon Wireless is now tops. T-Mobilewith their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of Texas with the exception of the southeast corner of the state. Sprint works reasonably well in populated areas and along major highways but leaves many rural areas without coverage. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across the entire state. There is a handful of small carriers in the state with widely varying quality, many of which offer reasonable Unlimited local plans. West Central Wireless around the Hill Country is a good choice for both coverage and service.

US VIRGIN ISLANDS:

AT&T is reported to have the most cell sites and currently has a lead in coverage in the US Virgin Islands. Viya Mobile has benefitted from the combination of 2 networks that now provide very good wireless coverage. Sprint serves most of the island with coverage that is a step below AT&T but Sprint has agreed to a joint operating agreement with Open Mobile to serve the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This is not an acquisition and the transition should be smooth but it will not immediately improve service to Sprint users in USVI.
UTAH
Verizon Wireless has the overall lead in the state for coverage. AT&T has some noticeable urban dead spots, but in rural Utah, AT&T has taken over the excellent Alltel network which, on average, provides very good rural coverage. Sprint gets the nod next in the state due to good in-town coverage and features, and coverage on major highways. TracFone and Straight Talk have coverage available in most of the state. T-Mobile does well within urban areas, but doesn't measure up to the CDMA carriers outside of the cities. There are several small carriers in Utah that deserve consideration as long as they cover where you go. Utah is one of the few places with no coverage on significant sections of Interstate highways, including I-70 west of Green River and I-80 east of Salt Lake City.  There are several popular national parks in Utah and some of them have good cellular service, however, that service is supplied from outside park boundaries and cannot be relied upon in areas inside each park. Also, a large percentage of Utah is covered by National Forest lands which generally do not permit cellular sites.

VERMONT
Our top choice in Vermont is US Cellular with a slight coverage advantage and consumer-friendly policies. Since US Cellular isn't available in the entire area, Verizon Wireless gets the top honors elsewhere. AT&T is generally a step above in the mountain areas. Sprint has adequate coverage on their own network in most towns and along major highway corridors with help from the V-Tel network for boradband in rural areas of the state. TracFone and Straight Talk are also good choices over most of New England.  We have no reports on T-Mobile in the northeast although we expect some improvements with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage in populated areas.

VIRGINIA

From the few reports we have received in this area, AT&T appears to have the advantage in coverage, with Verizon Wireless is a close second, and has a few communities with better coverage based on local conditions. Sprint, after recent acquisitions, now covers most populated areas of Virgina. T-Mobile has been expanding in the eastern half of the state and serves some of the urban areas and highways of western parts of Virginia. Straight Talk and TracFone also serve the entire area.

WASHINGTON

Seattle is the former home of AT&T Wireless and that may have contributed to their superior coverage in Washington. Verizon has expanded to a strong second choice, especially in rural areas.  T-Mobile was also based in the area (as Voicestream) and covers the cities and major highways well, but has little rural service. Sprint offers acceptable coverage in the populated parts of the state but has poor coverage along some highways and little in rural areas. US Cellular does a great job in rural areas and, if they're available near you, are a preferred choice.   TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices over the entire region.
WEST VIRGINIA
AT&T appears to have the advantage in coverage, with US Cellular as another great choice for extensive coverage in West Virginia. Verizon Wireless is a close second with a few communities with better coverage based on local conditions. Sprint, after recent acquisitions, now covers most populated areas of the state.  T-Mobile does not cover West Virginia. Straight Talk and TracFone serve most of the state.

WISCONSIN:
Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages including the northern reaches of Wisconsin and the U.P.  About half of the region is covered by US Cellular and if they're in your neighborhood, we prefer them over almost all others. AT&T is the leader in a few areas including certain rural locations, but they suffer in some urban areas. Sprint performs equally well as AT&T in many cities, including Milwaukee and Madison, but they suffer in rural areas.  T-Mobile, does not have much service outside of the urban areas of the southeastern part of the state. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across the whole state.

WYOMING

Verizon Wireless covers the largest amount of territory in Wyoming. Wyoming's own Union Wireless does a very good job, especially across the western half of the state.  AT&T covers most of the eastern half of the state with coverage yet to be built on the western half. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of the state. Other than a few sites in Cheyenne, T-Mobile and Sprint have little service in Wyoming. There are a few small carriers that do a respectable job locally, and may provide the best signal in some communities. I-80 in Wyoming is one of the few Interstate highways with dead zones for all carriers, but they are short. Yellowstone National Park has coverage in several areas: near park entrances, at Yellowstone Lake, around Old Faithful and a few other locations, but service cannot be relied upon in many areas of the park.

Back to the Top
click_table.htm
Related Topics:
mw_bottom_18.htm
Mountain Wireless Resources:
Home
What's New
About Us
Site Map
Do We Get Paid for Reviews?
Privacy
Search Our Site
Are We in the Mountains?
Carrier Reviews
Carriers A-Z
"The Best" of Cellular
Go Totally Wireless
Carrier Pro's & Con's
Network Ratings 1 to 10
Local Reviews
Old Carriers & Name Changes
Wireless for Seniors
Mobile Site
Contact Us
Wireless Noise
Mountain Wireless Networks
Twitter