top
Mountain Wireless Network Reports & Ratings
Home  |  Network Reviews  |  Carrier Pros & Cons  Local Reports  |  Carrier Archives  |  Noise   

Mountain Wireless Local Cellular Reports
Observations from information gathered on all the cellular carriers in the US from various sources, to help you determine which is 'best'. This analysis is arranged by state, alphabetically, Ohio through Wyoming.



Cellular Network Observations for Each State:

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:
AT&T Wireless has a slight edge of the others in coverage, with Verizon doing a very good job in both urban and rural areas.  T-Mobile covers the cities and major highways well, but they are growing their 4G LTE "Extended" service in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the stateSprint 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 for the best cell phone coverage in South Dakota, 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 and southern half of South Dakota which works very well. Sprint appears in Fargo and Grand Forks and no where else.  There are a few tiny carriers that serve isolated communities who do a good job locally, like Standing Rock Telecom in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and NVC Wireless in Aberdeen.  TracFone and Straight Talk do well in most areas.

TENNESSEE:
AT&T is tied for first with Verizon WirelessUS 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 in some parts of the state, but less coverage in rural Tennessee. Sprint has adequate coverage in populated areas and along major highways. TracFone and StraightTalk work in some of the challenging areas of the mountains. If you live or work in Memphis and travel southward into Mississippi, you should consider C Spire, one of our top-rated carriers.


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. Choice Wireless has purchased Innovative Mobile and the combined networks have enabled a network with very good wireless coverage. Sprint serves most of the island with coverage that is worse than 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 inside each park. A large percentage of Utah is covered by National Forest lands which generally do not permit cellular sites.

VERMONT:
Our top choice in the area is US Cellular with a slight coverage advantage and consumer-friendly policies in the southern portion of Vermont. Since US Cellular isn't available in the entire area, 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 and now may be available roaming in Vtel areas. TracFone and Straight Talk are also good choices over most of New England.  We have no reports on T-Mobile in the area 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 of the southern half of the state and, if they're available near you, are a preferred choice.   TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices over most of the state of Washington.

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.

Go to: Alabama - Kentucky



Getting Around the Web Site: Wireless Resources: Talk Back to Us:
Home
What's New
About Us
Disclaimer
Privacy
Search Our Site
Mountain Wireless Networks
Are We in the Mountains?
Mobile Site
Carrier Reviews
Carriers A-Z
"The Best" of Cellular
Site Map
Going Totally Wireless
Carrier Pro's & Con's
Network Ratings 1 to 10
State Reviews
Old Carriers & Name Changes
Wireless for Seniors
Email
Wireless Noise
Twitter