If you’re looking for a new cell phone plan, you may be considering AT&T.
AT&T is known for having reasonably affordable plans, and for giving both new and existing customers free phones when they go to upgrade.
But, how does AT&T’s coverage hold up? Is it really “America's most reliable 5G network,” as AT&T claims it is?
In this article, we will explore AT&T’s coverage and compare it to the other major carriers to help you make an informed decision.
AT&T is a mobile network operator, also known as an MNO.
MNOs, like AT&T, build and operate their own cellular networks.
AT&T puts up towers, purchases spectrum licenses from the FCC, installs networking equipment, and builds its own network cores for both 5G and LTE.
AT&T also publishes its own coverage map.
But sometimes AT&T’s map can be… a little overly optimistic.
Sometimes it will say AT&T 5G+ is available in areas where it hasn’t been rolled out yet, and sometimes it can be misleading with the type of service to expect in an area.
To help give you a better idea of what AT&T coverage really looks like, the FCC collected signal strength data from the carriers on June 30th, 2022.
The FCC made the data publicly available, so we used the data to create a custom signal strength map.
There is also more to service than just having strong signal.
We also wanted to know how fast AT&T's LTE and 5G data speeds were.
So, we created a crowd-sourced speed test map of AT&T's network. The map is created from over 1.5 million speed tests submitted by real AT&T customers.
Check out both maps below, and search for coverage in your specific area by using the search bar:
The above statistics come from the FCC, which collected data from all network operators on June 30th, 2022.
The FCC displays what percentage of area each carrier covers in the United States.
Currently, the network that covers the most area covers just 55% of the U.S. This number may seem low, but it’s because large areas of rural land where no one lives, like the vast wilderness of Alaska (17.5% of the land area of the United States) don’t get covered with cell service.
We calculate the total square miles covered by AT&T’s network by multiplying the percentage of area AT&T covers by the total area of the United States, which was reported as 3,805,927 by the United States Census Bureau.
AT&T uses their own nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks to provide coverage.
According to FCC data, AT&T is the leading provider when it comes to 5G coverage.
AT&T covers 28% of the U.S. with 5G, which is more than T-Mobile (26%) and Verizon (12%).
Keep in mind that most of AT&T’s 5G coverage is their low-band 5G, which gets about the same speeds as LTE.
AT&T’s 5G+ network uses new 5G technologies, like C-Band spectrum and mmWave, to boast substantially faster speeds.
You can see areas with AT&T’s 5G+ network by filtering out slow speed tests on the coverage map.
If you haven’t tried AT&T’s network in a while, it may be worth taking advantage of Cricket’s 7-day 3GB free trial offer to test the service in your area. Cricket is owned by AT&T and uses AT&T network for service, so you’d get the same speeds and coverage you can expect from AT&T directly.
AT&T’s LTE network is nationwide and covers over 99% of the U.S. population.
AT&T’s coverage is extremely similar to Verizon’s coverage.
Both AT&T and Verizon cover 55% of the United States.
5G coverage is a different story though. AT&T has substantially more 5G coverage than Verizon. AT&T offers 31% 5G coverage compared to 12% 5G coverage from Verizon.
Data speeds are also very similar between the two carriers.
AT&T’s median download speed was 65.57 Mbps and its median upload speed was 7.98 Mbps.
Verizon’s median download speed was 69.01 Mbps, just 3.44 Mbps faster than AT&T. Verizon’s median upload speed was 9.33 Mbps, again very similar to AT&T.
Both carriers will likely offer very similar coverage and data speeds to one another.
You can check Verizon coverage in your area here.
AT&T coverage is a bit better than T-Mobile coverage.
AT&T covers more of the United States than T-Mobile, with 55% total coverage compared to T-Mobile’s 35% total coverage.
AT&T also has slightly more 5G coverage than T-Mobile. 31% of area is covered by AT&T 5G, compared to 26% covered by T-Mobile 5G.
However, T-Mobile has substantially faster median download and upload speeds than AT&T.
According to Ookla, T-Mobile’s median download and upload speeds were 151.37 Mbps and 12.53 Mbps, respectively.
AT&T got just 65.57 Mbps for its median download speed and 7.98 Mbps for its median upload speed.
Both AT&T and T-Mobile will likely perform well in cities with T-Mobile delivering slightly faster speeds. But when it comes to getting service in rural areas, AT&T’s greater coverage area may make it a better option.
You can check T-Mobile coverage in your area here.
Scroll left or right to view more data. This data is from the FCC.
Yes, AT&T coverage is good. It has a robust nationwide LTE network that covers over 99% of Americans, and AT&T currently is the largest 5G network footprint in America.
Yes, AT&T offers 5G and covers 28% of the United States with its 5G network.
Yes. All off AT&T's postpaid plans include free unlimited talk, text and data roaming in Canada.
Yes. All of AT&T's postpaid plans include free unlimited talk, text, and data roaming in Mexico.
AT&T offers international coverage starting at $10 per day. When you pay for international data, you get unlimited talk, text, and data roaming for a period of 24 hours.