Best Cell Phone Coverage in Minnesota

Stetson Doggett
by
Stetson Doggett
|
Updated:
November 21, 2023

What carrier has the best cell phone coverage in Minnesota?

In this article, we'll cover:

  • A ranking of the best carriers in Minnesota based on the best overall performance
  • How coverage compares between carriers
  • How data speeds compare between carriers
  • The best cell phone plans that will save you money

Let's dive in!

Best Cell Phone Carriers in Minnesota

Most people simply want to know the overall best carrier in their location.

So what carrier is best in Minnesota?

We used data from our crowd-source speed test map and signal strength data from the FCC to rank the best carriers in Minnesota:

#1 AT&T
AT&T ranks best overall in Minnesota
Overall Score:
5.8
/10
icon of cell tower
Coverage
6.2
/10
icon of a speedometer
Data Speeds
5.1
/10
Reliability
5
/10
#2 Verizon
Verizon ranks second in Minnesota
Overall Score:
5.7
/10
icon of cell tower
Coverage
6.1
/10
icon of a speedometer
Data Speeds
5.5
/10
Reliability
4.9
/10
#3 T-Mobile
T-Mobile ranks third in Minnesota
Overall Score:
5.3
/10
icon of cell tower
Coverage
3.7
/10
icon of a speedometer
Data Speeds
10
/10
Reliability
7.6
/10

Promoted Plans:

Mint Mobile 5GB
T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
15
/mo
+tax
tax included
5GB
high-speed, then 128Kbps
Deprioritized
Included hotspot
4K video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Visible Base
Verizon coverage
1 Line
$
25
/mo
+tax
tax included
Unlimited
high-speed
Deprioritized
5Mbps hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Boost Infinite
AT&T or T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
25
/mo
+tax
tax included
30GB
high-speed, then 512Kbps
Deprioritized
5GB hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts

The Carrier with the Most Coverage in Minnesota

If you want coverage in the most places in Minnesota, what carrier is best?

The answer is simple: AT&T.

AT&T has the most coverage in Minnesota. Its 4G LTE and 5G networks cover 92.9% of the state. 

You can further break AT&T's coverage down into areas with good, great, or poor reception.

Here's the full breakdown of AT&T coverage in Minnesota:

  • Total coverage area: 92.9%
  • Great reception: 30.5%
  • Good reception: 36.1%
  • Poor reception: 26.3%
  • No coverage: 7.1%
None (7.1%)
Poor(26.3%)
Good (36.1%)
Great (30.5%)
AT&T Coverage

The network with the second best coverage in Minnesota is Verizon

Verizon covers 84.8% of the state with its 4G LTE and 5G networks.

But how good is the quality of the coverage on Verizon?

Here are the full details of Verizon's coverage in Minnesota:

  • Total coverage area: 84.8%
  • Great reception: 36.6%
  • Good reception: 30.5%
  • Poor reception: 17.7%
  • No coverage: 15.2%
None (15.2%)
Poor (17.7%)
Good ( 30.5%)
Great (36.6%)
Verizon Coverage

T-Mobile is the third best option in Minnesota.

Its 4G LTE and 5G networks cover 65.5% of the state.

How good is the quality of coverage?

Here is how the quality of T-Mobile's coverage is broken down in Minnesota:

  • Total coverage area: 65.5%
  • Great reception: 12.9%
  • Good reception: 19.2%
  • Poor reception: 33.4%
  • No coverage: 34.5%
None (34.5%)
Poor (33.4%)
Good (19.2%)
Great (12.9%)
T-Mobile Coverage

But how do AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile compare side-by-side in terms of overall coverage and reception quality in Minnesota?

Use the comparison below to see how the three carriers stack up:

Cell Phone Coverage Comparison in Minnesota

AT&T Coverage
Verizon Coverage
T-Mobile Coverage

Coverage Key:
Great reception
Good reception
Poor reception
No reception

Minnesota Cellular Coverage Map

Want to see an interactive map of cell coverage in Minnesota?

Click or tap the image below to launch a full-screen interactive coverage map created with crowd-sourced data.

You can also download our free Coverage Map app for iPhone or Android.

Wondering how to contribute data to the crowd-sourced map? Check out our guide on how to upload data to the map. If you choose to upload data, you are helping to build more accurate coverage maps for everyone, so thank you!

Image of coverage map with text overlayed on top that reads "click to launch map"

Coverage Map App

Download the free Coverage Map app for iPhone and Android.

Download Coverage Map app on the Apple App StoreGoogle Play Store badge
iPhone 15 Pro showing Coverage Map app on screen

Best Cellular Data Speeds in Minnesota

Getting great coverage is one thing.

But what is the point of having great coverage if your data speeds are slow and your apps take forever to load?

There is probably not much point at all.

To help you out, we analyzed the data from our crowd-sourced speed test map, where users upload speed tests performed on each of the carriers, to determine what carrier has the fastest data speeds in Minnesota.

Here is what we found:

  • T-Mobile has the fastest speeds in Minnesota. Its median download speed is 111.6 Mbps. Its median upload speed is 37.3 Mbps.
  • Verizon is in second place. It has a median performance of 55.1 Mbps for download speeds and 10.6 Mbps for upload.
  • AT&T has the slowest speeds in Minnesota. Its median download speed is 53.5 Mbps. For upload speeds, AT&T got 9.2 Mbps.

Compare the performance on all three carriers below:

Download Speed Comparison

53.5 Mbps
AT&T
55.1 Mbps
Verizon
111.6 Mbps
T-Mobile

Upload Speed Comparison

9.2 Mbps
AT&T
10.6 Mbps
Verizon
37.3 Mbps
T-Mobile

What Affects Data Speeds?

Data speeds can be affected by various factors, including network congestion, signal strength, device capabilities, and the technology used by the service provider.

You might experience slower data speeds during peak hours when many people are using the network simultaneously, or in areas with weak cellular coverage.

Best Cell Phone Plans in Minnesota

Okay, now that you know the carrier with the best coverage and fastest data speeds in Minnesota, what cell phone plan should you sign up for?

There are a few great options.

And some of them can save you a LOT of money.

But how?

It turns out that the big carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, are known as MNOs, or mobile network operators. They build and operate their own networks by putting up cell towers, laying fiber optic cable, and purchasing spectrum licenses from the FCC.

The MNOs will also sell access to their networks to MVNOs.

What is an MVNO?

An MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, is any carrier that does not own its own wireless network. Instead, these small carriers purchase network access from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon.

Popular examples of MVNOs include Mint Mobile, Boost Infinite, and Visible.

Why is this important to you?

Understanding MVNOS is important because it means you can sign up for service on an MVNO and get the exact same coverage as one of the major carriers. Whichever major carrier the MVNO has an agreement with is the underlying network you will use for coverage.

MVNOs can also save you a LOT of money, too, because they have more affordable plans.

In addition to negotiating low wholesale rates for network access from the major carriers, MVNOs also use other cost-saving strategies such as operating online only to pass additional savings on to consumers.

Would you save money by signing up for an MVNO?

See for yourself by comparing some highlighted plan options on each of the major networks below:

US Mobile 6GB
T-Mobile or Verizon coverage
1 Line
$
18
/mo
+tax
tax included
6GB
high-speed, then data stops
6GB priority
Included hotspot
720p HD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Visible Base
Verizon coverage
1 Line
$
25
/mo
+tax
tax included
Unlimited
high-speed
Deprioritized
5Mbps hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Verizon Unlimited Plus
Verizon coverage
1 Line
$
80
/mo
+tax
tax included
Unlimited
high-speed
Unlimited priority
30GB hotspot
720p HD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Boost Mobile 5GB
AT&T or T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
15
/mo
+tax
tax included
5GB
high-speed, then data stops
Deprioritized
Included hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Boost Infinite
AT&T or T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
25
/mo
+tax
tax included
30GB
high-speed, then 512Kbps
Deprioritized
5GB hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
AT&T Unlimited Starter
AT&T coverage
1 Line
$
65
/mo
+tax
tax included
Unlimited
high-speed
Deprioritized
3GB hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Mint Mobile 5GB
T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
15
/mo
+tax
tax included
5GB
high-speed, then 128Kbps
Deprioritized
Included hotspot
4K video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
Mint Mobile Unlimited
T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
30
/mo
+tax
tax included
40GB
high-speed, then 512Kbps
Deprioritized
10GB hotspot
480p SD video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts
T-Mobile Go5G Plus
T-Mobile coverage
1 Line
$
90
/mo
+tax
tax included
Unlimited
high-speed
Unlimited priority
50GB hotspot
4K video streaming
Unlimited minutes
Unlimited texts

Frequently Asked Questions

What carrier has the best cell phone service in Minnesota?

AT&T has the best overall cell phone service in Minnesota. It offers the best balance between coverage, data speeds, and reliability.

What carrier has the most coverage in Minnesota?

AT&T has the most coverage in Minnesota. It covers 92.9% of the state.

What carrier has the fastest speeds in Minnesota?

T-Mobile has the fastest speeds in Minnesota. Its median download speeds are 111.6 Mbps and its median upload speeds are 37.3 Mbps.

Check Coverage in Minnesota

How are the Coverage Scores calculated?

The Coverage Scores are calculated for each of the carriers by looking at three key metrics:

  1. Coverage
  2. Data Speeds
  3. Reliability

Coverage

The Coverage Score is on a scale from 0 to 10.

To calculate the coverage score, we look at two key metrics: 1) the total area covered and 2) the tower density.

The total area covered comes from the signal strength data from the FCC. Any area that has signal is counted toward the total the total coverage area. A higher coverage area means a higher score. A lower coverage area means a lower score.

The tower density metric is also calculated using the FCC signal strength data. We estimate a carrier's tower density by looking at how many areas have high signal strength compared to low signal strength. Lots of areas with great signal indicate a higher tower density, and thus a higher score.

Data Speeds

The Data Speeds score is on a scale from 0 to 10.

We calculate the score by looking at a carrier's median download and upload speeds in a given area. Faster speeds means getting a higher score. We weigh the median download speed at 70% of the total score and the median upload speed at 30% of the total score.

To score a perfect 10/10, a carrier would need to get median speeds of 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload.

Reliability

The Reliability Score is on a scale from 0 to 10. The goal for the Reliability Score is to estimate how likely you'll have a usable connection when you have service.

To calculate the Reliability score, we look at the bottom 10%, 5% and 1% of data speeds in a given area. The download speeds are weighted at 50% of the score. Upload speeds are weighted at 20% of the score.

We also look at latency to calculate the Reliability Score.

Latency is a measurement of how long it takes a data packet to travel from the sender to the receiver. You can think of latency as answering the question, "how much delay is there in the network?"

If there is high latency (30ms to 100ms), it takes a long time for data packets to be sent and received by your phone. Your connection may feel slow or "laggy."

If there is low latency (under 30ms), your connection will feel fast and responsive.

Latency is weighted at 30% of the Reliability Score.

Overall Score

The overall score looks at the Coverage, Data Speeds, and Reliability Scores and weighs them as follows:

  • Coverage Score: 70%
  • Reliability Score: 23%
  • Data Speeds Score: 7%

Where does CoverageMap.com get its coverage and speed data from?

CoverageMap.com gets different data from different sources.

The overall coverage and signal strength data comes from the FCC's mobile broadband map.

The information about data speeds and network performance comes from community members contributing speed test results to our crowd-sourced coverage map. If you are interested in contributing to the project and helping to build better, more accurate coverage maps for everyone, you can learn more here.