The Best Cell Phone Service: Coverage Maps

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If you’re planning to switch to a cheaper cell phone plan, you can avoid dropped calls and slow data by finding a wireless provider with great network coverage where you live, work and travel.

In this article, I’ll share each of the major carriers’ coverage maps, nationwide service scores and discuss the differences between 4G and 5G access.

Finding the Best Cell Phone Coverage

Strong coverage is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a cell phone plan. While service varies in specific areas, RootMetrics (an independent mobile analytics firm) measures reliability, accessibility and speed performance across all 50 U.S. states to determine which networks offer the best coverage. 

Below, you’ll find more detailed information about the best national coverage among the “big three” cell phone network providers.

Table of Contents:

The Best Cell Phone Coverage

Cell phone service includes more than simply being able to make phone calls and send text messages. It also includes 4G and 5G data, speed, accessibility and reliability. During the first half of 2022, RootMetrics tested each network to analyze these factors in more than 3,000 locations throughout the U.S. 

After looking at each network’s reliability, accessibility, speed, data, calling and texting, here are the final overall RootScores: 

  • Verizon: 96.2
  • AT&T: 96.2
  • T-Mobile: 92.5

Based on RootMetrics data, you’ll likely find the best coverage with Verizon or AT&T followed by T-Mobile. Here are the key takeaways from RootMetrics’ report, U.S. State of the Mobile Union 1H 2022

  • Verizon earned four out of seven U.S. RootScore Awards with great results in state testing and metro areas. Verizon also delivered fast speeds and “superb reliability” in major metros while the carrier’s new C-Band spectrum helped Verizon offer outstanding 5G reliability, improved 5G availability and faster 5G speeds. 
  • AT&T won/tied for the most United States RootScore Awards of any carrier and won the most State RootScore Awards of any network. AT&T fared well in major cities with good speeds and great reliability. AT&T also showed improvement to its 5G availability and speeds, which will likely continue as the carrier continues integrating C-Band spectrum into its network. 
  • T-Mobile came out ahead in major cities with the only carrier that posted median download speeds above 200 Mbps. T-Mobile also showed improvement in state and national testing while continuing to provide a “stellar combination” of widespread 5G availability and fast 5G speeds. 

Here’s a closer look at how each network scored in various categories: 


For more information on RootMetrics’ data, check out its website. You can also read the full 1H 2022 report online.

Cell Phone Coverage Maps

Coverage maps are a great way to help figure out if you’ll have reliable service with a particular network. 


You can find each network’s coverage map on its website. From there, you can enter your ZIP code or address to view voice and data coverage in your specific area.

Below, you’ll find each major network’s coverage map and a link to check out the service in your area. I’ve also included a list of more affordable MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) that use the same towers and a link to their respective coverage maps. 

Verizon Coverage Map

According to RootMetrics, Verizon offers arguably the best service in the U.S. If you’re thinking about getting a plan that runs on Verizon’s towers, I recommend checking out the coverage map to make sure you’ll be covered. You can visit Verizon’s website and enter your address or ZIP code on the coverage map to see coverage in your local area. 

Verizon MVNOs

Verizon does offer great service, but that doesn’t mean that you have to get a plan directly from the carrier. Instead, you can opt for an affordable Verizon MVNO that runs on the same towers. Here are a few cell phone service providers that work on Verizon’s network: 

AT&T Coverage Map

If you’re considering switching to an AT&T plan, you’ll likely be covered. Still, it’s a good idea to check out the AT&T coverage map online and enter your address, state or ZIP to make sure. 


In addition to strong coverage on an AT&T plan, the network also provides coverage for a variety of affordable AT&T MVNOs. You can access the same towers that AT&T runs on with one of these more affordable phone plans: 

T-Mobile Coverage Map

If you’re thinking about a T-Mobile phone plan, make sure you’ll have service around home and work. You can check out the interactive 5G & 4G coverage map online to check the service in your area. Simply enter your ZIP code or address into the search bar to see your local map.

T-Mobile MVNOs

If you are a fan of T-Mobile, consider an MVNO that uses T-Mobile’s towers. A few of my top picks for phone plans came from these T-Mobile MVNOs:

The Best 5G Network

If you’re curious about 5G, you aren’t alone. 5G access is expanding nationwide, and according to RootMetrics, the 5G landscape can change quickly. 

In the first half of 2022, T-Mobile took the lead in everyday 5G availability. AT&T led for 5G reliability and Verizon’s 5G network is rapidly improving. You can check out the details of the study on RootMetric’s website.


If you’re weighing the importance of 5G coverage on your phone plan, it’s important to know exactly how 5G works. Here’s a brief description from Business Insider

“The 5G standard uses millimeter waves, which are a lot shorter than the wavelengths 4G uses. The shorter wavelength means 5G can carry a lot of data much faster than 4G, but it also means a much shorter range. 4G wavelengths have a range of about 10 miles. 5G wavelengths have a range of about 1,000 feet, not even 2% of 4G’s range.”

Basically, while 5G provides faster data, it won’t be nearly as accessible in all areas. It will be beneficial only if you have 5G coverage in your area. 

You can check 5G coverage on most coverage maps, but unless it’s widely available in your area, it isn’t worth the extra cost. You can likely get by with a cheaper phone plan that offers more reliable 4G access.

You can learn more about 5G and whether or not you should upgrade to a 5G-capable phone here.

Final Thoughts

If you’re shopping for a new phone plan, you want to make sure you’ll be paying for best cell phone service possible. While it varies by area, RootMetrics‘ extensive testing has provided excellent data on each networks’ coverage across the U.S. 

In the first half of 2022, Verizon and AT&T led the way with an overall RootScore of 96.2 based on data, calling, texting, reliability, accessibility and speed.

T-Mobile showed significant improvements in coverage with a RootScore of 92.5. Still, T-Mobile does continue to deliver incredible speeds and excellent 5G results in the first half of 2022 according to RootMetrics. Unfortunately, 5G will provide faster data speeds only if it’s available in your area. 

To find the best wireless network for you, follow these three steps: 

  1. Review coverage maps: You can visit any cell phone service provider’s website to find its coverage map.
  2. Confirm coverage: Enter your ZIP code or address on a carrier’s website to view coverage in your specific area.
  3. Get recommendations: Ask your family, friends and neighbors about their cell phone coverage. You can also ask for feedback from locals using an app like Facebook or Nextdoor.

Once you’ve found out which networks provide coverage in your area, check out our guide on the best cell phone plans and deals available now for specific recommendations. Once you’ve decided on a new phone plan and you’re ready to make the switch, check out this guide that we put together to take you step-by-step through the process.

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