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Local Cellular Network Reports
Listed by State, Idaho to Montana

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.


IDAHO:
There are big differences between wireless service in rural and urban Idaho, but the edge is held by Verizon Wireless. They serve the largest amount of territory in the state.  AT&T and T-Mobile are tied for second place in Idaho with good coverage in most populated areas. Inland Cellular is one of the most well-established carriers in rural Idaho with very good coverage in the northern half of the state.  Sprint is a close third especially with good service around Boise but less in rural areas off the Interstate. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices over most of the state.



ILLINOIS:
AT&T is the leader for the 
best cell phone coverage in most areas of Illinois outside of Chicago, but Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages in many locations.  The northwestern half of Illinois is covered by US Cellular and if they're in your neighborhood, we prefer them over almost all others. Sprint performs slightly better than AT&T in many cities, including Chicago, but they suffer in rural areas.  T-Mobile, does not have their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage in Illinois, but they do offer good service along major highways and in most urban areas. TracFone and Straight Talk are also good choices across the state.

INDIANA:

Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages for the
best cell phone coverage in rural areas of Indiana with AT&T at the top in as many locations. With so many urban areas and busy highways, Sprint performs well, even slightly better than AT&T in some areas.  T-Mobile, offers good coverage in the populated parts of northern Indiana and very good coverage with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage over the southern half of the state including Indianapolis. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across the whole region.


IOWA:
Verizon Wireless and AT&T have assembled very good networks in the area but this is also where US Cellular shines as having the
best cell phone coverage in most rural areas of Iowa. T-Mobile has taken over their Iowa affiliate, iWireless which performs well over populated parts of the state,  but they haven't built their 'Extended' network there, yet. Sprint serves urban areas and the interstates, but not many rural areas. TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in the the entire state.

KANSAS:
Verizon Wireless dominates the overall region with excellent 4G 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 in rural Kansas with only the western half of the state uncovered. AT&T offers good coverage in the urban areas of Kansas, and is tied with Verizon for coverage in the western half of the state.  One of America's best wireless carriers, Nex-Tech Wireless provides excellent rural coverage in areas where other carriers are marginal. T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers very good service across most of Kansas with the exception of some rural areas in the western part of the state. Sprint has some coverage in the eastern half of Kansas, otherwise they have no service other than with their roaming parties. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of both states.

KENTUCKY:
AT&T has the best coverage in Kentucky. Verizon Wireless only serves half of the state. T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of KentuckySprint has adequate coverage in populated areas and along major highways. The eastern part of Kentucky is particularly challenging with only Appalachian Wireless serving the southeast part of the state. Central Kentucky is well-served, especially for coverage, by Bluegrass Cellular. TracFone and StraightTalk work in some of those 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.

LOUISIANA:
Our reports show AT&T and Verizon Wireless are about tied for the best cell phone coverage in Louisiana.  T-Mobile with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, now offers excellent service across much of the state with the exception of a few remote rural areas. Sprint is a reasonable fourth choice with a notable number of dead spots in rural areas away from major highways.  We also like the availability of service in much of the state from Straight Talk and TracFone. Tampnet provides cellular service in the Gulf of Mexico, however, AT&T and T-Mobile customers can roam on the Tampnet network.


MAINE:
Our top choice in Maine 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 below and 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.

MARYLAND:
From our reports, there's little difference between AT&T and Verizon Wireless so they both provide the best cell phone coverage, statewide in Maryland.  T-Mobile with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of Maryland with the exception of a few remote rural areas.  Sprint  also does well along highways and the cities but has many rural areas without coverage. US Cellular is a top choice in western Maryland.  TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in the the state.

MASSACHUSETTS:
Verizon Wireless has historically had
the best cell phone coverage in Massachusetts, but the market is very competitive so the others have caught up. AT&T has made improvements that have fixed most of their capacity and coverage problems putting them in first or second place depending on location. Closer to urban areas, Sprint and T-Mobile are strong contenders.  TracFone and StraightTalk work well all over Massachusetts.

MICHIGAN:
Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages including the Upper Peninsula to give them the best cell phone coverage in the largest area of Michigan.  AT&T is the leader in a few areas including certain rural locations, but they suffer in some urban areas. If you live in the "thumb", Thumb Cellular has the best coverage in the area. Sprint performs slightly better than AT&T in urban areas but they suffer in rural areas.  T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers excellent service across most of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across the state.

MINNESOTA:
Verizon Wireless and AT&T have assembled networks with the best cell phone coverage in Minnesota. T-Mobile has good coverage in most of the state and is excellent in the southeast half of the state with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage. Sprint serves urban areas and the interstates, but not much else. TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in the the state.

MISSISSIPPI:
Without question, our favorite network here is C Spire Wireless with the best cell phone coverage in Mississippi along with consumer-friendly customer service. They operate in all of Mississippi with some coverage in border states, especially Tennessee. Followed closely in coverage, but not as consumer-friendly, are AT&T and Verizon Wireless.  T-Mobile does not have coverage with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage in Mississippi, their coverage is good along major highways and in urban areas. Sprint is a reasonable fourth choice with a notable number of dead spots in rural areas away from major highways.  We also like the availability of service in much of the area from Straight Talk and TracFone. 
Tampnet provides cellular service in the Gulf of Mexico, however, AT&T and T-Mobile customers can roam on the Tampnet network.


MISSOURI:
Verizon Wireless and AT&T have the most coverage in Missouri, but this is also where US Cellular shines as having the best cell phone coverage in most rural areas with the exception of the southwest corner of the state. T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers very good service in most urban and rural areas of Missouri. If you live in the northwest part of the state, NorthwestCell provides very good coverage if you can find a plan to your liking. Sprint, which is based in Kansas City, serves urban areas and the interstates, but not much else. TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in the the entire area.

MONTANA:
Verizon Wireless dominates the state with good coverage and plans. AT&T through acquisitions now provides good coverage across most of the state. T-Mobile offers service in western Montana and recently acquired spectrum that will allow them to eventually provide coverage to the entire state.  Triangle Mobile provides very good coverage across the northeast quarter of Montana.  That same area is served by Mid-Rivers Wireless whose local service extends into oil country of North Dakota but with slightly inferior plans and phone selection. Sprint is not available in Montana. TracFone and Straight Talk are also available in most areas of the state.  There are places in the state that are served by just one carrier, so check locally for coverage in rural areas.



Go to States, Nebraska to Puerto Rico

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