Which US cellphone carrier has the best coverage to use Waze? (1 Viewer)

Out for Germany

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Waze can only function as well as the 3G/4G cellular data reception you have.

In Eastern Canada, Bell seems to be an ideal carrier that gives strong 3G signals for Waze on almost every major highway, even through remote areas. Meanwhile, cheap carriers like Freedom Mobile's miserable reception barely allows Waze to work.

I recently tried T-Mobile on I-90 in NY and New England. In most parts I have only cellphone signal ("E" for EDGE, aka 2.5G) but no 3G/4G signal. This renders Waze basically useless. So I did some research:

e6868e0f47f8799b083269b13e73ac6e.jpeg


e6868e0f47f8799b083269b13e73ac6e.jpeg


Which seems to indicate that Verizon is the best carrier for using Waze on highways.

What's your experience and recommendation for the best US cellphone carrier for Waze?
 

omgboost

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Verizon typically had the best coverage, especially in the rural parts of the states. I have t mobile and have pretty much used it populated cities and major highways without a hiccup. It also helps if you have a phone that can take full advantage of all the bands that a carrier uses.
 

dchemist

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I have Project Fi (which uses Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and available WiFi) for my personal phone and Verizon for my work phone. Without a doubt Verizon has the best coverage with AT&T being pretty close. If you're going to pick from the major four than Verizon is the only choice, assuming cost is not an issue.

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thebravo

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major carriers will have the best coverage, but also remember to look at the companies that resell on a major network, I'm on Cricket, (which uses AT&T's network) so I have basically the same coverage as AT&T but pay a fraction of AT&T's cost. I have yet to have coverage issues any place I have been.
 

Gotic

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I don't live in US but I have done lots of road trips and imo Verizon has most coverage .
 

Transporter

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AT&T and Verizon have the largest LTE/4G coverage in the United States. And yes this doesn't at the same time mean there are not pockets where Sprint and T-Mobile will have superior coverage as there are actually still some niche markets out there (America is a big place) plus there are places like White Sands with no coverage from any Carrier.
 

Gotic

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He asked for the best coverage he didn't mention any budget hehe.
 

Out for Germany

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Many thanks for your inputs. I should go for Verizon or AT&T then. A couple weeks ago I saw on JD Power that T-Mobile has the best customer service. So I tried it and it turned out miserable. Waze got poor reception and I had to follow a rabbit most of the time on the interstates.

He asked for the best coverage he didn't mention any budget hehe.
I guess in the context of this forum, the cost of paying a cellphone carrier would be considered peanuts. That is, when you think about how a typical ECM like 3-head AL Priority costs.:dance:
 

Out for Germany

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I have Project Fi (which uses Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and available WiFi) for my personal phone and Verizon for my work phone. Without a doubt Verizon has the best coverage with AT&T being pretty close. If you're going to pick from the major four than Verizon is the only choice, assuming cost is not an issue.
Very interesting mention here. I had misconception about Project Fi and thanks for letting me know.
 

Transporter

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Also remember that Cricket is on the AT&T Network. Just make sure you look at the plan you select and note the Data Plan and Roam plan. There rates are great if the main plan covers where you drive with the all you can eat.
 

bkayrac

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As a truck driver Verizon is the best for rural coverage. Main roads and most areas att is second.......Sprint will leave you with no data a lot, even on interstates. And TMobile is the same. Sprint does roam on Verizon though, so you always have voice :p

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HeartDoctor

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That phone is best whose antenna you are closest to. I believe that the answer to your question will depend on your location. I suspect that in areas where Verizon is the landline provider, their network will be denser and similarly in AT&T areas their antennas will be more common. For years I worked in a building where only AT&T worked reliably because they had a cell site on the roof. Then Verizon added a cell site on the opposite end of the roof and T-Mobile added a site 1/4 mile away. Now there is no problem with any of them in that building. So I doubt there is a clear answer for the entire country but there may well be regional answers.
 

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As a truck driver Verizon is the best for rural coverage. Main roads and most areas att is second.......Sprint will leave you with no data a lot, even on interstates. And TMobile is the same. Sprint does roam on Verizon though, so you always have voice :p

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
Problem is Sprint has a cap on data roaming. Once you hit it (and it ain't much it all), you're done for the month even if you were willing to pay for overage for it (wasn't always that way).
That's why I had to switch to Verizon.

Verizon is actually $200 for 4 lines unlimited if you setup AutoPay. Which is not a bad deal.
 

TeamQuack

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You don’t want to run waze on 3g/4g connections because it will have issues finding addresses as well as updating route and alert information.

You need a strong LTE connection therefore Verizon and At&t are your best bet.

The bonus with At&t is that you can make calls and receive data at the same time such as text messages and i would assume waze updates. If your on a phone call with a verizon phone, you have no data flow.
 
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dchemist

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You don’t want to run waze on 3g/4g connections because it will have issues finding addresses as well as updating route and alert information.

You need a strong LTE connection therefore Verizon and At&t are you best bet.

The bonus with At&t is that you can make calls and receive data at the same time such as text messages and i would assume waze updates. If your on a phone call with a verizon phone, you have no data flow.
And the same applies for Sprint when receiving calls.

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sdrawkcaB

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I’ll keep it as objective as possible. I read this article a few months back while looking to confirm my own hypothesis about one carriers perceived superiority in coverage — which of course was my opinion.

Take a look at the science presented here. Essentially whichever carrier has the lower spectrum will have a huge and I mean HUGE home field advantage. Carriers who have higher frequency spectrum will be at a disadvantage to those who have lower frequency spectrum. Those with higher frequency spectrum will then have to employ other methods to compensate for the difference. Note the difference between 700 Mhz and 1900 Mhz.

searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com: 700 MHz -- Why is it so valuable?

Now of course this does not take into account any variables in a carriers network, ie: OSI layers 2 through 7, but simply focuses on the science of the differences in the multiple areas of spectrum reserved for, licensed to, and utilized by the different cellular network carriers in the United States.

Assuming all other network conditions equal, the carrier that has the lower dedicated licensed spectrum (700 Mhz) has the advantage over the carrier with 1900 Mhz spectrum.


Written from my mobile device.
 

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You don’t want to run waze on 3g/4g connections because it will have issues finding addresses as well as updating route and alert information.

You need a strong LTE connection therefore Verizon and At&t are you best bet.

The bonus with At&t is that you can make calls and receive data at the same time such as text messages and i would assume waze updates. If your on a phone call with a verizon phone, you have no data flow.
Not true. If you are on LTE on Verizon and have "Data and Voice over LTE" enabled you can do data during a phone call. Some carriers don't have this option.

In fact, I often will DISABLE Voice over LTE because you can often get better Call Quality and Service if you do Voice over the older Analog network and I'm willing to give up data for it.
If no LTE is available it automatically will use Analog (it will show as "1x"). But if you are on weak LTE often you are better off on Analog for calls.

Also the signal strength is often now on LTE when the Analog strength might be completely different. So it's hard to see what's going on.

Also I've been on 3G/1x Data and had things like Waze, even Pandora work fine and other times not. Sometimes you are roaming and don't have data rights even with reasonable signal strength you have voice only. Again the displays don't tell you the whole story.

LTE on all carriers is the same tech. When LTE is absent the carriers vary wildly to their older backup networks.
 
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cubanbrew

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I have a T-mobile phone and never have any issues with Waze, although I don't go out in the boonies either... :)
In my experience, Verizon has the best coverage but at the highest cost. Then T-mobile, AT&T and Sprint. AT&T's customer service is terrible too.
 
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sdrawkcaB

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Edit note: link added to T-Mobile settlement news article.

My thoughts:

Coverage and Throughput: Verizon wins
From my experience I've decided to settle on Verizon; I've used Verizon 4 years, switched to AT&T for two years, and then switched back to Verizon again. The reason I switched was that Verizon had better coverage in rural areas and along the wide open highways. While I could get faster data with AT&T in the city, Verizon provided me a more consistent data experience across in all locations. In the desert along the highway between Utah and Nevada, I'd have better throughput and faster negotiated connection speeds to Verizon's network than to AT&T's which would have to fallback substantially to EVDO, then Edge, then nothing. A text message was barely sendable with Edge. With Verizon, I rarely saw desert roads ever drop me below EVDO at the worst spots along the highway or state roads away from the highway. So my experience has been that I have more complete area coverage with Verizon, and better speeds away from and in between populated areas. I'd frankly choose Verizon because I'd rather have coverage at slower speeds than no coverage at all out in the rural areas when a phone may be of the utmost importance situationally.

Missed Calls without Notification: Verizon wins
Another big issue I had with AT&T was that I would constantly have people telling me they called me. I'd check my phone, and not have any missed calls. They'd show me their phones and their call log, and sure enough they had called me multiple times. Assuming my phone had lost connection to the tower, then regained connection -- Verizon had always notified my phone of the missed call later. But AT&T would never notify my phone that a call had been missed if my phone had been unavailable. It was like they'd rather not tell me when the phone reconnected that a call was missed. This almost cost me my job as my job required me to be "on-call" available for emergencies. I only realized it because my boss one day confronted me about never answering my phone. That was when we checked his call log to me for the past few months. That day I went and switched back from AT&T to Verizon. Verizon will notify my phone it has missed a call if the phone wasn't pingable by their towers at the time of the call. Next time the phone synchronizes with the tower, Verizon pushes the missed call notification to my phone. This is a must-have advantage for me.

T-Mobile has even been caught falsely representing "rings" on their network. Link: www.reuters.com: T-Mobile to pay $40 million over false ring tones on rural U.S. calls

Scientifically, my opinions and experience aside, there are laws of physics that will give certain carriers an advantage over others -- based on the frequency spectrum they have licensed and operate in. In layman's terms, Verizon & AT&T will have the best coverage according to physics, more so than T-Mobile and Sprint.

----
"A fundamental characteristic of received power is that it decreases proportional to the inverse of frequency. Put another way, low-frequency signals propagate their transmitted power better than high-frequency signals. Therefore, a 700 MHz signal will propagate better than, let's say, a 2500 MHz signal (all other conditions being equal). How much better? Well, consider some of the commonly used frequency bands in the U.S.: Verizon Wireless and AT&T both use 850 MHz and 1900 MHz for their cellular service, T-Mobile uses 2100 MHz"...

700_1.gif


"Figure 1: Received power comparison

Figure 1 shows the received power for these commonly used frequency bands, compared with a 700 MHz signal with received power equal to 1 watt. The figure shows us that as transmitter frequency increases, received power drops very quickly. Look at the 1900 MHz frequency used by Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The received power for 1900 MHz is almost 90% less than the received power for 700 MHz!

Why does received power matter?
As the received power drops, it becomes more difficult for the receiver in your mobile device to decode the received signals. The transmitter compensates for this by reducing the transmit data rate. As the data rate decreases, so does your throughput."

700_2.gif
 
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TeamQuack

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Not true. If you are on LTE on Verizon and have "Data and Voice over LTE" enabled you can do data during a phone call. Some carriers don't have this option.

In fact, I often will DISABLE Voice over LTE because you can often get better Call Quality and Service if you do Voice over the older Analog network and I'm willing to give up data for it.
If no LTE is available it automatically will use Analog (it will show as "1x"). But if you are on weak LTE often you are better off on Analog for calls.

Also the signal strength is often now on LTE when the Analog strength might be completely different. So it's hard to see what's going on.

Also I've been on 3G/1x Data and had things like Waze, even Pandora work fine and other times not. Sometimes you are roaming and don't have data rights even with reasonable signal strength you have voice only. Again the displays don't tell you the whole story.

LTE on all carriers is the same tech. When LTE is absent the carriers vary wildly to their older backup networks.
I disagree, you are mistaken. I’ve heard many people say the same exact thing as you, but I went on my ex’s Verizon Iphone 7 Plus and checked all of her settings. She cannot get text messages or data while on a call.

Everyone says LTE will allow data to flow during a call, therefore removing that restriction but after testing it myself and hearing my ex complain how much Verizon sucks for about a year, I firmly believe in what I said before.

My dad also has Verizon, i’ll check his phone after im finished with work today to verify this.


in my experiences, waze will work over 3g/4g but like i said before, it will not be good with police alerts. that is the main reason people are using waze, for police alerts, so logically speaking, im inferring that its best they use LTE for the most updated and accurate police alert updates.
 

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