If you’re in search of a new cell phone plan, you may be considering Verizon.
Verizon offers premium plans with premium features.
In the 4G LTE era, Verizon was also known for providing robust, nationwide coverage in more places than anyone else.
But, how does Verizon’s coverage hold up in the 5G era? Is it really “America's most reliable network,” as Verizon claims it is?
In this article, we will explore Verizon’s coverage and compare it to the other major carriers to help you make an informed decision.
Verizon is a mobile network operator, also known as an MNO.
MNOs, like Verizon, build and operate their own cellular networks.
Verizon builds cell towers, purchases spectrum licenses from the FCC, installs networking equipment, and develops its own network cores for both 5G and LTE.
Verizon also publishes its own coverage map.
But sometimes Verizon’s map can be…overly optimistic.
It may say you’ll have service in areas you won’t, and it may show Verizon’s new 5G Ultra Wideband network has been rolled out in areas where it isn’t available yet.
To help give consumers a more accurate picture of what cell coverage is really like, the FCC collected coverage data from the carriers. They also made this coverage data publicly available. So, we built our own custom coverage map for you to use.
In addition to using the FCC's data, we also decided to collect our own.
We created a crowd-sourced map of Verizon's coverage built from over 1.6 million speed tests.
These speed tests were run by real Verizon customers to help report coverage in their area.
See Verizon coverage in your area by using the search bar in the coverage maps below:
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, Verizon’s network covers the most area in the U.S., but it still only covers 55% of the land area. This may seem less than you would expect, and 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 Verizon’s network by multiplying the percentage of area Verizon covers by the total area of the United States, which was reported as 3,805,927 by the United States Census Bureau.
Verizon uses their own nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks to provide coverage.
According to FCC data, Verizon is behind when it comes to 5G.
Verizon 5G only covers 12% of the U.S., which is less than T-Mobile (26%) and AT&T (31%).
Still, you don’t need to cover a lot of land area to cover a lot of people.
Verizon says its fast 5G Ultra Wideband network covers 200 million people, or around 60% of the U.S. population. And Verizon’s more extensive Nationwide 5G network covers over 230 million people, or just over 69% of the U.S. population.
Verizon is continuing to build out its 5G network, so you can expect its coverage footprint to continue expanding.
If you haven’t tried Verizon’s network in a while, it may be worth taking advantage of Verizon’s 30 day free trial.
Verizon’s LTE network is nationwide and covers over 99% of the US population.
Verizon’s coverage is similar to AT&T’s coverage.
From FCC data, both Verizon and AT&T 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 very similar between the two carriers.
According to Ookla’s report, Verizon’s median download speed was 69.01 Mbps and its median upload speed was 9.33 Mbps.
Meanwhile, AT&T’s median download speed was 65.57 Mbps and its median upload speed was 7.98 Mbps, very similar to Verizon’s performance.
Both carriers will likely offer similar coverage and data speeds to one another.
You can check more detailed AT&T coverage in your area here.
Verizon coverage is a bit better than T-Mobile coverage.
Verizon covers more of the United States than T-Mobile, with 55% total coverage compared to T-Mobile’s 35% total coverage.
However, T-Mobile has over twice as much 5G coverage as Verizon. 26% of area is covered by T-Mobile 5G, compared to just 12% covered by Verizon 5G.
T-Mobile also has substantially faster median download and upload speeds than Verizon.
According to Ookla, T-Mobile’s median download and upload speeds were 151.37 Mbps and 12.53 Mbps, respectively.
Verizon got just 65.57 Mbps for its median download speed and 7.98 Mbps for its median upload speed.
Verizon’s speeds will likely improve as it continues to build out its faster 5G Ultra Wideband network.
Both Verizon and T-Mobile will likely perform well in cities with T-Mobile providing slightly faster speeds. When it comes to getting service in rural areas, Verizon’s greater coverage footprint may make it a better option.
You can check T-Mobile coverage in your area here.
This data is from the FCC:
Verizon has the largest coverage area of any cellular network and covers over 99% of Americans. For most people, Verizon will have good coverage.
Yes. Verizon offers Nationwide 5G and Ultra Wideband 5G. Nationwide 5G covers more people, and Ultra Wideband 5G delivers super fast data speeds.
Yes. All of Verizon's postpaid plans include unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of high-speed data per day in Canada.
Yes. All of Verizon's postpaid plans include unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of high-speed data in Mexico.
Verizon charges $10 per day for international service for most of their plans. The international add-on is called the TravelPass, and it includes unlimited talk, text, and 2GB of high-speed data per 24-hour period in the country you're visiting.