We’ve talked about it before, but there is a huge difference between postpaid coverage and prepaid coverage. Networks usually boast about their area to postpaid customers but the prepaid segment usually doesn’t have the same level of coverage. To make it even more complicated, there are so many different MVNOs and prepaid carriers and choices to make all promising different speeds and the best coverage around.
So to help out, we have compiled the coverage maps of some of the largest prepaid carriers so you can compare and decide which is best for your location.
Cricket Wireless (AT&T)
Boost Mobile (and other Sprint MVNOs)
MetroPCS (and other T-Mobile MVNOs)
Verizon Prepaid (and Verizon MVNOs)
For a full list of which MVNOs use which network, check out this post
Several of these maps were actually a little hard to come by, and Straight Talk was the worst. The image above is actually pulled from an old article by Prepaid Phone News
, as the Straight Talk representative insisted that all of their networks used the same map (yeah, right), and refused to help me find a more updated image. Their website is no help at all for just determining coverage, as you have to first select your region and then the phone to see a very buggy map, which either shows nearly complete coverage of the U.S. (which I find hard to believe) or no coverage at all. Literally, all white. Don’t believe me? Try it out yourself.
As a note, many of the MVNOs that all use the same base network will have the same maps, so I only listed the major ones. The smaller MVNOs might have less coverage, depending on what they purchased.
And, of course, all of the companies have disclaimers that their service might actually vary from what is shown… so these will mostly be just for comparison purposes.
What do you think? Do you find any of the maps surprising?