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Picking out the perfect phone is important, but none of it means anything if you don’t choose the right cell phone carrier to support it. Consumers are inundated with a consistent flow of information related to which carriers have the best deals or the best 5G support. Trying to sift through all of the advertisements and promotions can get overwhelming to figure out which carrier you should be going with.

These carriers offer different prices and extra features, so it is a good idea to figure out which of these features interests you personally before making a decision. With so many carriers existing in operation at any given time, these companies have to do a lot to stay competitive. If you are patient and do your research, you can find a phone service plan that caters to all your needs.

Who Are the Best Cell Phone Carriers?


About T-Mobile

T-Mobile is one of the biggest mobile providers in the country, with a 5G network that reaches over 310 million people. With its extensive coverage map, you are unlikely to find a provider that reaches more areas of the United States. T-Mobile is known for its exemplary customer service, with regular community events and updates for consumers who choose their services.

T-Mobile Coverage

T-Mobile leads the nation in 5G coverage, while lagging a little behind in last-generation 4G coverage. Here’s how the coverage breaks down geographically:

  • 62% 4G LTE coverage
  • 53% 5G coverage

T-Mobile Plan specs

The most high-profile plan that T-Mobile offers is the Go5G plus series, which includes T-Mobile Go5G, T-Mobile Go5G Plus, and T-Mobile Go5G Next. These cell phone plans are unlimited data plans that include a wide variety of amenities, including premium data and streaming service subscriptions like Netflix. 

Pros of T-Mobile

This plan features competitive prices and a huge mobile network, making T-Mobile a tough company to beat. 

Cons of T-Mobile

This carrier doesn’t allow mixing and matching plans, which means that if one person on your plan needs the most expensive plan, every line will have to be on that plan, which can unnecessarily increase costs.


About Verizon

Another telecommunications powerhouse, Verizon, has many great deals for interested consumers. Verizon places an especially strong focus on 5G connectivity and varied entertainment options. Verizon’s 5G network functions off of their upgraded C band technology, and their reach is very large. Despite a higher cost, Verizon's Unlimited plans are some of the most well-rounded options. 

Verizon Coverage

Verizon offers best-in-class 4G coverage, while coming in last place for 5G coverage. 

  • 70% 4G LTE coverage
  • 12% 5G coverage

Verizon Plan Specs

Verizon’s primary Internet plans are Verizon Unlimited Welcome, Verizon Unlimited Plus, and Verizon Unlimited Ultimate. The plans themselves only include a set amount of premium data, but through Verizon MyPlan, you can optionally choose to add on perks at a reduced fee than what you’d pay for them elsewhere, including Disney+, Hulu, TravelPass, and others. 

Pros of Verizon

Verizon has a ton of features that you won’t find anywhere else, with a future-proof focus on increasing their 5G coverage and offering great plan perks.

Cons of Verizon

Want perks? You’ll have to pay for them. Verizon MyPlan flexibility means you only pay for what you want, but don’t expect to have anything included in the cost of the plan.


About AT&T

AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the world, controlling almost 47% of the market in Q3 2023. As one of the oldest names in the business, AT&T has built up good faith as a strong network carrier with solid customer service and support. AT&T has a coverage map that is comparable to Verizon and T-Mobile.

AT&T Coverage

AT&T is the middle-of-the-road option, coming in second place in both 4G and 5G coverage geographically. 

  • 68% 4G LTE
  • 29% 5G

AT&T Plan Specs

AT&T's unlimited plans and prepaid plans focus on offering a large amount of data for a fair price. Unlike main competitors T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T unlimited plans offer a no-frills, stripped-down option with no perks. You only pay for the data you get. For folks who aren’t interested in streaming services or other add-ons, AT&T plans provide great value. 

Pros of AT&T

AT&T has an expansive coverage map with tried and true service. Its unlimited plans and prepaid plans both offer great data options for customers.

Cons of AT&T

AT&T doesn’t include any perks, either included like T-Mobile or with an optional low-cost add-on like Verizon. 

Mint Mobile

About Mint Mobile

Moving away from the big three telecommunication companies, we have Mint Mobile, which you might recognize from the Ryan Reynolds ads. Mint is a more modestly sized company that runs off of T-Mobile’s network. Mint’s claim to fame is the low prices it offers consumers to compete with the bigger cell phone carriers in the country.

Mint Mobile Coverage

As you’d expect, Mint Mobile’s coverage is exactly the same as T-Mobile’s coverage. Here’s what that looks like:

  • 62% 4G LTE coverage
  • 53% 5G coverage

Mint Mobile Plan Specs

Mint Mobile’s best deal is unlimited talk and text for only $15 per month, plus unlimited standard speed data. Mint doesn’t offer any big perks with its plan other than further discounts for paying upfront. Mint focuses entirely on getting its prices down as low as possible.

Pros of Mint Mobile

None of the bigger companies can compare with Mint’s low prices, and because they use T-Mobile’s network, the coverage and accessibility are incredibly solid.

Cons of Mint Mobile

Mint is a very basic plan, and you aren’t going to find any of the high-tier features here. Premium data is minimal, and you won’t find any entertainment options.

Metro by T-Mobile

About Metro

Another company that runs on T-Mobile’s network, Metro by T-Mobile succeeds in being a great budget mobile carrier. For relatively low costs, you can get an unlimited package that runs about as well as T-Mobile from a well-established name in the industry.

Metro by T-Mobile Coverage

Like other MVNOs that leverage T-Mobile’s coverage, Metro by T-Mobile is also able to offer  the same coverage that T-Mobile can. Here’s what that breaks down to:

  • 62% 4G LTE coverage
  • 53% 5G coverage

Metro Plan Specs

Metro has a $40 per month 10GB plan and a $50 unlimited plan. Coverage is based entirely on T-Mobile’s network, so you will get a comparable experience with both companies as far as the network goes.

Pros of Metro

Metro is a budget option that offers consistent network coverage. It is a great way to access T-Mobile’s network without buying all the bells and whistles.

Cons of Metro

While the prices and network coverage are great, there are other companies that are offering better options. Carriers like Mint have lower prices for access to the same network, and many other companies simply give consumers more choices.

Google Fi

About Google Fi

Google Fi’s coverage is provided by both T-Mobile and UScellular, and it covers a very strong network. Google Fi provides 5G coverage and can reach 310 million people worldwide through its network.

Google Fi Coverage

You might wonder if Google Fi has even better coverage than T-Mobile since it leverages both T-Mobile and UScellular’s networks. The truth is that UScellular only covers around 10% of the country, mostly focusing on the middle of the country with some coastal service areas. 

For the most part, Google Fi uses T-Mobile’s network and might use UScellular in a few of the more rural areas where T-Mobile might not reach. Functionally, you’ll get similar coverage:

  • 62% 4G LTE coverage
  • 53% 5G coverage

Google Fi Plan Specs

Google Fi uses a combination of T-Mobile and UScellular, and Google Pixel phones can switch between the two to ensure you are getting the best possible service. Google Fi offers a plan for $20 per month plus an extra $10 for each gigabyte of data used.

Pros of Google Fi

Google Fi runs on a wide network, and its $20 per month plan is perfect for people who don’t intend to use up much data.

Cons of Google Fi

If you use more data, then there will be less to like about Google Fi. Its other plans are more expensive than the competition, and it doesn’t have much in the way of perks or features to put it above the rest.

What To Look For When You’re Choosing Cell Phone Service

Several factors go into choosing the right cell phone plan. Some things to consider will mean more to certain people than others, so go into this decision with a good idea of what things matter to you.


Everybody has a budget, and you need to know your acceptable price range before you commit to a phone carrier. Mobile plans come with a wide variety of price options, with some being $10-$30 while others easily make it into the triple-digit range.

Price tends to directly correspond with the number of perks and features offered by a plan, but it should also be noted that bigger and more established companies tend to have higher prices as well. Knowing the price range that you are willing to pay should be the first step you take in determining which carrier you want to go with.


5G is becoming more and more integrated into the country’s mobile infrastructure, and as such, the ways we connect to the Internet are changing. The currently accessible networks are a mix of 3G, 4G, and 5G, although 3G is being phased out by the other two.

Different carriers will have different coverage maps, meaning some carriers may give you 5G access in your hometown while others may not. On top of that, some carriers might not cover your area at all. Coverage maps are usually available online, so check out what the coverage area of your favorite carriers looks like.

Customer Service

One of the great things about this virtual era is finding out a company’s reputation with nothing more than a Google search. If a carrier has a history of providing great customer service, it increases the chances of getting the most out of your service for what you pay for it.

You want a provider that will be responsive to calls or complaints and assist in addressing any issues you have promptly and efficiently. Bad customer service could mean getting stuck with a plan that doesn’t work as advertised with overly complex hoops in order to make any changes.

Compatible Devices

Some mobile devices might only be compatible with particular network carriers in certain cases. You don’t want to compromise the phone you want by choosing a provider that doesn’t work with it. The big network carriers will be compatible with a wide range of phones, but some of the smaller ones are more likely to have restrictions.

We’ve compiled a list of some worth checking out here:

It is also worth checking out what devices are available with promotions. Some network companies offer big discounts on certain phones as a perk when choosing them as your provider. Picking the right carrier could vastly reduce starting prices on your phone and phone plan.

Extra Perks

Big companies offer extra perks like entertainment subscriptions or extra cloud storage to people who go with their services to stay competitive.

For some companies, the free subscriptions and extra features are more of a draw-in to customers than the phone plans. Smaller phone companies are less likely to have these kinds of features, but many of them will offer big discounts to compete to compensate.

The Bottom Line

There are a ton of cell phone carriers out there, but with a little research, you can figure out which one is best for your needs. Some of them, like T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, offer many different features that improve your mobile experience if you can afford them. These companies are more expensive, but they come with a level of funding that makes them more advanced than the rest of the market combined.

Other options, like Metro by T-Mobile and Mint Mobile, are based entirely on affordability and giving people options without buying a whole family plan to make it worth the cost. These companies even work on the same networks as larger parent companies like T-Mobile, making them very attractive options on a budget.

Take some time to determine your own needs when deciding on a cell phone carrier. While you should be fully considering a wide range of factors like price, coverage, and company reputation, it is up to you to decide which of these things means the most to you.

Ready to start to compare cell phone plans? Try our free, unbiased Plan Finder below. We take into consideration how many lines you have, how much data you can, and other factors to find the best deals for you.

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