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Which Carrier Has The Best Coverage In My Area
Be sure to answer these questions before changing your wireless service.
Best Phone Carriers Of 2023
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor covering the latest developments in the ever-changing world of mobile, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter for USA Today.
Changing wireless providers is not easy. Although there are three major networks in the United States, the actual number of wireless carriers and plans is much larger. Sifting through this big, complicated mess can be overwhelming, but we want to help make the process a little easier. Here’s how to choose a mobile data plan in 2023.
There are three major networks in the United States: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. All three offer direct service and offer 4G LTE (fast) and 5G (really fast) data to the country.
The most important aspect of choosing a network is to find one that works in your area. This makes it difficult for us to make a general recommendation for each carrier. For example, T-Mobile service in New York might be great, but if you’re in rural Iowa, Verizon is more reliable.
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Regardless of your journey, the good news is that these networks are growing and evolving, especially as three major players continue to work to cover the United States with 5G. When you went online ten years ago, it was perfectly possible to complain about poor service, but now the competition for those customers to buy guns is even tougher.
If you know friends or family members in your area who have used the service you are considering, ask them about their experiences. You can also visit your carrier’s store to see if they offer free trial options before switching, such as the T-Mobile Network Pass, which lets you try the T-Mobile network for free. Verizonnow offers a similar 30-day “trial” program, and subscription service Cricket has its own trial offer that lets you try out AT&T’s home network.
And, of course, own plans. Below is a summary of the latest plans from AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. For this chart, we’ve focused on each company’s cheapest plan, as well as their “mid-range” options, which we think will work best for most people.
It’s worth noting that some plans, like T-Mobile’s Magenta and Verizon’s Play More, include streaming services like Netflix or the Disney Bundle (Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and Hulu).
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Verizon Play More and AT&T Unlimited Extra also don’t require all lines to be on the same plan, so if a line on your home plan needs extra hotspot data, you can upgrade less and save some money there. together (You only need one line in your Play More account to get Verizon’s Disney.)
If you’re looking for multiple lines on T-Mobile and its cheapest plan, it’s best to use its regular priority plan. As part of a promotion the carrier is running, four lines cost $100 a month, which is $20 cheaper than the Base Essentials option.
As you can see, Google Fi and Mint Mobile are just a few of the many MVNOs that rely on major networks. Sarah Tew
While AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon operate the major networks, there are several smaller wireless providers that offer over-the-air service. First, there are prepaid brands that each operator owns. Verizon owns Visible, AT&T owns Cricket, and T-Mobile owns Metro (and soon Mint Mobile). Everyone uses their parent’s respective network for services.
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Small players also rely on large networks for services. For example, Mint Mobile and Google Fi use T-Mobile’s network, while cable companies Comcast and Spectrum rely on Verizon for their Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile brands.
Dish-owned Boost Mobile uses a combination of T-Mobile and AT&T, while Dish is building its own 5G network. Dish recently started offering its own service to compete with the big carriers called Boost Infinite. It is still in the testing phase and will be fully launched later this year.
The advantage of these smaller operators, commonly known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, is that you can get the services of a larger provider at a lower price. If you find that Verizon works best where you live, but its service is too expensive, switching to Visible, Spectrum Mobile, or Xfinity Mobile may get the same coverage but pay less (although you may lose some other benefits) e.g. free streaming services).
We’ve broken down some of these providers, including which providers use which networks, and explained some of the tradeoffs you need to know.
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Two-year contracts have all but disappeared from the US wireless market. Unfortunately, they now seem to have been replaced by long-term installments.
AT&T and Verizon currently only offer 36-month terms on the latest devices from Apple, Google and Samsung. T-Mobile has a 24-month option, but expensive devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 require a 36-month plan if you want to invest in them every month.
You can get a significantly cheaper flagship phone with this long-term limit, but you’ll have to stick with that carrier (and possibly a more expensive unlimited plan) for two to three years. If you leave before this time, you will need to pay the balance on your phone, which some providers require before they can “unlock” the device for use on other networks.
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Major employers often offer hundreds of dollars in transfers that cover the cost of switching. But you’ll want to check your bill online or visit your carrier’s store to find out how much you owe on your phone before you leave.
A phone and network upgrade means your existing phone will work normally with the new carrier. All major wireless carriers offer the latest devices of this type, especially the iPhone and Galaxy series.
To get the most out of any Switch, you may want to take this opportunity to upgrade your device, especially if it’s a few years old and doesn’t have modern features like 5G. When you add or unlock a new line, there are other offers to help you pay for a subscription plan or get a better device.
If you want to keep your current one, your current device will probably work fine with an unlock from your previous provider.
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Keep in mind that all carriers offer premiums that you can get based on your employer, military status, student status, and even your age. If you are on Planned Parenthood, a family member may qualify even if you are not.
First responders, military personnel, veterans, nurses and teachers can get discounts from any major carrier. They have unlimited Premium and Elite plans, called Signature.
If you’re 55 or older, you may also qualify for a discounted plan: T-Mobile offers discounts for as little as $55 a month on two lines, and Verizon and AT&T offer similar options, but only for residents. Florida. .
You can save money by switching, or you can simply lower your current rate and save yourself the hassle of switching providers.
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Many major carriers encourage the use of higher unlimited data plans, especially streaming services. Verizon offers Disney Plus (Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus) to those with unlimited Play More and More plans, while T-Mobile offers versions of Netflix with its Magenta and Magenta Max services, which also include Apple TV Plus subscribers. also available with Magenta. Max.
Even smaller prepaid carriers like Cricket (HBO Max with ads) and US Mobile (lots of options) offer unlimited plans.
Additionally, some Verizon plans (like More Choice) include Apple Music, and T-Mobile’s Magenta and Magenta Max offer unlimited Wi-Fi and data when flying overseas. T-Mobile’s Metro is offering 100GB of Google One storage, and AT&T is offering six months of free gaming with an extended trial of Nvidia’s GeForce Ultimate.
If you are paying for one or more of these subscriptions, you can save even more by switching to the right provider. If you buy from links on our site, we may earn money
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