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Central US Cellular Network Reports
Listed Alphabetically by State

Observations about cellular carriers in the central states of the US, broken down by performance based on location, and reported by state. This information is gathered from online research, personal experience and reports by contributors in the field.


ARKANSAS:
Verizon Wireless and AT&T have very good networks in the state but this is also where US Cellular shines as having the best cell phone coverage in most rural areas of Arkansas. T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers very good service in most urban and rural areas of Arkansas. Sprint serves urban areas and the interstates, but not much else. TracFone and StraightTalk work very well in the the entire 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 Kansas with excellent 4G coverage.  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.  US Cellular is a top choice in rural Kansas although they don't serve the western half of the state and the Topeka to Kansas City urban corridor. Viaero Wireless is the rural coverage leader northwestern Kansas and the leader in rural Nebraska if your travels take you over the border. Nex-Tech Wireless provides excellent rural coverage in areas of southwest Kansas where other carriers are marginal. T-Mobile, with their new 4G LTE "Extended" coverage, offers very good service across most of the state 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 partners. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of the state.

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.


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.

NEBRASKA
:
Verizon Wireless is available in most parts of the state with excellent 4G-LTE 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 with only the panhandle of the state uncovered. AT&T has no service of their own in Nebraska other than around Omaha and in the Nebraska panhandle. T-Mobile and Sprint provide almost no service in Nebraska outside of Omaha. TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices across most of the 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 for prepaid 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. One of the most well-established of them is Bravado Wireless who has added more phones to their selection and simplified their plans after the recent name change. Another is Cross Wireless in eastern Oklahoma. Among prepaid carriers, TracFone and StraightTalk serve the largest amount of the state.



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 aquisions, Verizon Wireless is now tops. T-Mobile, with 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. Wichita Falls and surrounding areas are lucky to have US Cellular available, one of our top-rated carriers.  TracFone and Straight Talk are good choices for prepaid 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. Tampnet provides cellular service in the Gulf of Mexico, however, AT&T and T-Mobile customers can roam on the Tampnet network.


WISCONSIN:

Verizon Wireless has several coverage and frequency advantages including the northern reaches of Wisconsin and the Upper Penninsula of Michigan.  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 for prepaid across the whole state.
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