Author Topic: Cell coverage - phone type?  (Read 2569 times)

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Offline travellingfoxes

Cell coverage - phone type?
« on: March 16, 2014, 09:00:20 am »
Gday guys

What would be the recommended best cell phone (company) for coverage during cycling/travelling throughout the US?

Thankyou again for any advice

Ken and Jules

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2014, 09:58:08 am »
It's kind of hard to make a definitive statement since few of us have ridden it multiple times with different carriers, or taken multiple phones -- maybe some of the groups can give you comparative answers.

That said, Verizon had good coverage for most of my trip.  There were dropouts in the hills of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, but most of the towns had coverage even there.  Coverage was pretty solid from central Kansas westward.

The "problem" is that a company has to put up towers every 10 miles or so, and it's just not cost-effective to cover every hollow and valley where the population density is low.  I was surprised that the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone had cell coverage (not so in Great Smoky Mountains, which makes it hard for the boss to call me, which makes it a good vacation spot!).

Note that wifi is almost everywhere today in the U.S.  Libraries (although they may be closed and you might not get access), most motels, and a surprising number of greasy spoons all have access points.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2014, 11:00:31 am »
For coverage, Verizon would definitely be my first choice, but AT&T wasn't too bad when I used a work supplied phone on a long tour.  I would skip Sprint based on my observations from my Sprint work phone, coverage was very poor outside of urban areas.


  • Guest
Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 12:02:28 pm »
A few years ago, the GF and I did a 10 day loop in MT, which included some sparsely populated areas. I had Verizon. She had AT&T. I had better coverage. It's not that AT&T was horrible, it just wasn't as good as Verizon in some places. I would avoid T-Mobile based on my experiences several years ago.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 01:01:46 pm »
In my experience T-Mobile is one to avoid. on the Sierra Cascades there was no coverage in WA S of Mt Rainier (confirmed by the locals) and I went for 500 miles in California with no signal. People with other networks were doing OK. Mind you I had T-Mobile on the Northern Tier last summer and it was quite adequate.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2014, 01:04:27 pm by PeteJack »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cell coverage - phone type?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2014, 09:17:41 pm »
I agree with all previous comments. But it depends a bit on where you are going. If I assume that you'll be mostly in remote rural places, then I'd vote Verizon. AT&T shines in New York City and Chicago, but maybe not so much in Rush Center Kansas.

All the carriers have coverage maps online you can study. Look at how your route agrees with the coverage maps, but be aware that all the carriers significantly exaggerate their coverage. The point isn't really to have continuous coverage, but to try to at least have coverage at least once or twice a day. Verizon fits the bill in most places, but you'll still have a day or two here and there with no coverage.