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T-Mobile vs. AT&T vs. Verizon: Which Mobile Carrier to Choose?

Cellular Network

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that connectivity is one of the modern-day’s basic needs. People get educated online, read the news online, and interact with friends via technological connectivity. That’s why making the right decision about signing with a good wireless mobile provider is so important. Deciding between T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs AT&T may prove to be difficult, though. That’s why in this article, we’ll help you go through them and see which one’s the best for you.

 

Know Your Criteria

Before deciding between T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T, it’s important to understand what your needs are. Some people may require a low-budget option that has decent connectivity. Others may want high-quality streaming with mobile hotspot and don’t mind the price. Still, others may want the best 5G coverage to future-proof their connectivity.

Each plan and carrier will cater to different markets with different needs. If you compare T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T with your criteria in mind, you’ll be more satisfied with your endgame choice. Know where you stand, what your non-negotiables and negotiables are. With that said, let’s get into the meat of the topic. 

 

T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T: Network Coverage

Connectivity isn’t just about calls and texts nowadays. People communicate with each other through the internet more than any other means. That’s why understanding the network coverage differences of the top three US telecom service providers is important. Even if a carrier offers “unlimited data,” it wouldn’t matter if the data is choppy and slow. So, what is the difference between the three carriers’ coverage? Let’s find out.

 

Coverage, Availability, & Speeds 

T Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T Coverage, Availability, & Speeds 
© Photo by Toni Marinov on Alamy Stock Photo

Coverage, availability, and speed are some of the most important factors in choosing a mobile carrier. Having a high score in these three things will most likely boost your internet browsing experience. Most people say that 40 Mbps and above is the sweet spot for choosing a carrier because it can handle most network-heavy tasks. That includes HD video streaming for all you Netflix and YouTube lovers out there. 

So, how should we consider these three factors? Should we just jump to whichever carrier includes high-speed 5G networks? Not necessarily. Even if the world is preparing to transition to 5G networks, 4G is still the most widespread network across America. Not everyone has 5G phones and even if they did, the infrastructures for 5G are still being built. That’s why 4G network coverage and quality is still very important when it comes to choosing a mobile carrier. Therefore, we won’t neglect 4G in this article and discuss both 4G and 5G coverage. So, T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T: which has the best coverage, availability, and speed?

 

Carrier 4G Coverage Availability Average Download Speed (w/ 5G) Average Upload Speed Latency
T-Mobile
8.7 out of 10
95.4%
25.8 Mbps
8.6 Mbps
50.4ms
Verizon
8.7 out of 10
95.9%
25.3 Mbps
7.9 Mbps
56.4ms
AT&T
9.7 out of 10
92.9%
27.5 Mbps
6.0 Mbps
49.7ms

*Based on tests conducted by Opensignal Limited

 

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T-Mobile

Among the three, T-Mobile has the least amount of coverage compared to Verizon and AT&T. A test conducted by Opensignal revealed that T-Mobile scores 8.7/10 in 4G coverage. That doesn’t mean you won’t get internet, though. 4G coverage just means how much you can access 4G speeds in high-traffic locations.

When it comes to 4G availability, however, T-Mobile phones beat AT&T by coming in second place after Verizon. Opensignal’s test estimated T-Mobile to be available 95.4% of the time, showing that it’s a worthy contender in network availability.

T-Mobile is a good choice if you’re looking at upload speeds. Its average upload speed beat both AT&T and Verizon. With an average speed of 8.6 Mbps, T-Mobile is a clear winner in the T mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T fight. However, if you’re after download speeds, T-Mobile is only second to AT&T at 25.8 Mbps. Latency-wise, T-Mobile is a fair pick having 50.4ms of latency, sitting in the middle of AT&T and Verizon.

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Verizon

If you travel a lot across the US, you’d probably feel most at ease with Verizon phones. That’s because it’s widely known that Verizon covers most of the US, including its crevices. You won’t have to worry about network connections being unavailable in certain areas. That same ease can be experienced if your main priority is 4G coverage and availability. Verizon scores the highest in the test, coming in at 9.7/10 for coverage and 95.9% for availability. If these are your main considerations, Verizon clearly wins.

Verizon doesn’t come out on top in every feature, though. It only comes in third with an average download speed of 25.3 Mbps. Verizon also doesn’t have the best average upload speed, but it comes at second behind T-Mobile at 7.9 Mbps. The carrier also loses the T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T latency war with a latency of 56.4ms.

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AT&T

Even though it’s not the first to release mmWave networks for 5G, AT&T retains a strong 4G network. Sometimes people compare T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T based on 5G. However, it’s not the most important since 5G still isn’t widely available. With that said, AT&T exceeds T-Mobile’s 4G coverage and comes slightly close to Verizon with a 9.3/10. Being available 92.9% of the time, it does lag behind the others in terms of availability.

What AT&T phones do have an advantage in is download speed. In the fight of T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T, AT&T has a clear win with an average download speed of 27.5 Mbps. Although, the same can’t be said for upload speeds since it’s fairly slow compared to the alternatives. AT&T has a 6.0 Mbps upload speed, which isn’t incredibly fast. However, it does make up for it in latency. AT&T is the winner of the T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T latency battle with only 49.7ms.

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Network Coverage: The Verdict

In the network coverage battle of T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T, who wins? Well, it’s not actually that easy to flatly say any one carrier is the winner. As you’ve seen, each one will have pros and cons over the other carriers. AT&T wins in download speeds and latency, Verizon in coverage and availability, and T-Mobile in upload speeds. If any factor is of immense importance to you, then consider going for the carrier that excels in it. However, if you’re generally under any of the top three carriers, it’s safe to say that you’ll get a good experience. 

 

T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T: Pricing And Plans

Apart from the carrier’s network coverage, it’s also important to know their pricing and plans. Speed performance can be crippled depending on the plan you choose. It’s also possible to have special deals in some plans over others. Let’s say you prefer international calls to be a part of your phone plan. Therefore, it’s important to choose a plan that will have this service available. 

Price is also a necessary consideration because the more (and better) features you get, the higher the price tag. If your only question is about which is cheaper, that’ll dramatically narrow down your choices. It is, therefore, equally important to know your budget before you even consider availing of any kind of plan. Mouthwatering plans may be out of reach so you might altogether skip looking at plans that don’t fit your budget.

 

T-Mobile’s Plans

T-Mobile’s Plans
© Screenshot from T-Mobile’s Official Website

T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T is not like the past since T-Mobile changed up its plans. What used to be T-Mobile One has now been replaced with T-Mobile Magenta. Let’s take a look at T-Mobile’s plans and which ones might be best for you.

 

T-Mobile Essentials

With T-Mobile Essentials, you get unlimited text, calls, and 4G LTE data. However, do note that their data may slow down when the network is congested. Otherwise, you can enjoy 480p video streaming without difficulty. You’re also given access to unlimited data for mobile hotspot with 3G connectivity. Going to Canada or Mexico can also allow for texts, calls, and 2G data. 

If you opt for this pack, you’ll get the added perk of T-Mobile Tuesdays. Its price comes at $60/month (auto-pay available) or $120/month (for 4 lines, auto-pay available). However, do note that there are added fees and taxes to your billing.

 

T-Mobile Magenta

With T-Mobile Magenta, you’ll get unlimited calls, texts, and high-speed data. Although, be wary that this connection may be congested at times, and may slow down after 50 GB of consumption. Apart from these, you can also stream video at 480p with 3 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot. After you consume the 3 GB, you can have unlimited 3G data. 

When traveling internationally, T-Mobile Magenta also offers data and texts in over 210 worldwide locations. Going to either Mexico or Canada will give you talks, texts, and 5 GB of 4G LTE data connectivity. If you’re on a flight from or within the US, you also have in-flight texts plus one hour of data. Of course, this is so long as your flight is Gogo-enabled.

Apart from these, Magenta also offers perks like T-Mobile Tuesdays. If you have more than two qualifying Magenta lines, you also have Netflix Basic included as a bonus. T-Mobile Magenta is more expensive than Essentials, though. It comes at $70/month (auto-pay available) or $140/month (minimum of 4 lines, auto-pay available). Added fees and taxes are also already included. 

 

T-Mobile Magenta Plus

If you already have a Magenta plan but want a bit more, T-Mobile also has Magenta Plus. This plan gives you unlimited HD streaming and 20 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot (unlimited 3G data once you exceed). It also gives you twice the data speed when traveling internationally (limited to Magenta’s 210+ supported worldwide locations). Plus, you’ll get unlimited WiFi on Gogo-enabled flights. Magenta Plus also grants you a voicemail to text and name ID. Included perks are T-Mobile Tuesdays and Netflix Standard (provided you have over 2 qualified Magenta Plus lines).

If you opt for this add-on, you’d have to pay $85/month with auto-pay. For 4 lines in a plan, it’s $$170/month with auto-pay. Taxes and fees are already included in the price.

 

Verizon’s Plans

Verizon’s Plans t mobile vs Verizon
© Screenshot from Verizon Official Website

With Verizon’s updates to its plans from 2019, it can be confusing to know which one to choose. We’ll break down their four different plans to narrow down your choice between T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T.

 

Start Unlimited

Verizon’s most basic plan is Start Unlimited. With this plan, you get unlimited calls, texts, and 4G LTE data (although, it’ll slow down when the network’s congested). Calls, texts, and data are also included in Canada and Mexico. Lastly, you get unlimited streaming in 480p.

Start Unlimited may seem underwhelming at first glance but it does have pretty nice perks. If you avail of the plan, you’ll get one year of Disney+ and six months of Apple Music for free. Availing of this plan will charge you $70/month (auto-pay included). However, if you have four lines in the plan, you’ll need to pay $140/month (auto-pay included). Although, keep in mind that there are added taxes and fees to these amounts.

 

Play More Unlimited

If you bump up to Play More Unlimited, you’ll get the same unlimited talks, texts, and 4G LTE data. Like Start Unlimited, this also includes texts, calls, and data in Mexico and Canada. However, your connection will only slow down during times of congestion after you’ve consumed 25GBs of data per line. You also get a bump up in streaming quality since Play More Unlimited allows for streaming in HD (720p). 

With Play More Unlimited, you can finally have a mobile hotspot enabled with 15 GB of 4G LTE available. If you exceed 15 GB, you can still have unlimited data but with a speed of up to 600 Kbps. You also get better perks with one year of Disney+ and Apple Music fully included with the plan. Moreover, you can access Verizon’s 5G network for $10/month. 

If you avail of Play More Unlimited, it’s going to be $80/month with auto-pay. However, four lines in the plan will allow you to pay only $180/month (with auto-pay). Added taxes and fees still apply, though. 

 

Do More Unlimited

With Do More Unlimited, you get the same unlimited texts, calls, and 4G LTE data with Canada and Mexico included. Only this time, your network will only slow down after consuming 50 GB of data per line. However, its difference with Play More is that your streaming will be limited to DVD-quality 480p. Otherwise, you get the same 15 GB of 4G LTE mobile hotspot and 600 Kbps after exceeding the limit. You can also still access Verizon’s 5G network for $10 per month.

Do More Unlimited also differs in perks. Like Start Unlimited, you’ll get Disney+ for one year, and six months of Apple Music. However, you get the added 500 GB of Verizon Cloud storage. Do More Unlimited costs the same as Play More, coming in at $80/month with auto-pay. Its four-line plan also comes at $180/month with auto-pay. Added taxes and fees also still apply. 

 

Get More Unlimited

Get More Unlimited is Verizon’s highest-end unlimited plan. With this, you’ll get unlimited calls, texts, and 4G LTE data with Mexico and Canada included. You can also avail of Verizon’s 5G network for $10/month with this plan. What sets this plan apart is that your line will only slow during congested times after consuming 75 GB of data. Plus, you’ll get HD-quality 720p streaming with this plan. Lastly, your mobile hotspot data is bumped up to 30 GB of 4G LTE. However, exceeding the limit will still only get you unlimited data of up to 600 Kbps.

Get More Unlimited also has the best perks among all the plans. You’ll get one year of Disney+, Apple Music fully included, and 500 GB of Verizon Cloud storage. If you avail of Get More Unlimited, you’ll have to pay $90/month with auto-pay. A four-line plan will get you the discounted price of $220/month with auto-pay. 

 

AT&T’s Plans

AT&T’s Plans t mobile vs Verizon
© Screenshot from AT&T’s Official Website

Choosing between T-Mobile vs Verizon vs AT&T is tough. It’s even tougher now that AT&T has changed their plans yet again. We’ll list them all here for you so you can get a better understanding of which carrier’s best for you. 

 

AT&T Unlimited Starter

With AT&T’s Unlimited Starter plan, you get unlimited talks, calls, and data within the US, Canada, and Mexico. However, your data may slow down when the network is congested. Otherwise, you get standard definition video streaming. Your unlimited texts can also go from the US to over 120 different countries. Moreover, you can filter for spam and fraud since AT&T will give you alerts in case of suspicious activity.

AT&T’s Unlimited Starter goes for $65/month with auto-pay included. If you open four lines with this plan, you can get it for $140/month with auto-pay included. However, AT&T’s Unlimted Starter also has added fees and taxes, so keep that in mind.

 

AT&T Unlimited Extra

A step up from AT&T Unlimited Starter is AT&T Unlimited Extra. With this plan, you get the same unlimited texts, calls, and data in the US, Canda, and Mexico. However, your data will only slow down during congestion after you consume 50 GB. That means you’re more of a priority whenever the network is busy.

With Unlimited Extra, you also get the standard definition video streaming, texts to over 120 countries, and spam/fraud alerts. However, AT&T adds 15 GB to your mobile hotspot per line in the plan. If you opt for this plan, you’ll have to pay $75/month with auto-pay included. However, if you have four lines in the plan, you can pay $160/month with auto-pay included.

 

AT&T Unlimited Elite

If you’re hungry for even more than Unlimited Extra, check out AT&T’s Unlimited Elite. This plan gets the same unlimited calls, texts, and data within the US, Canada, and Mexico. However, your connection will only be slowed during congestion after you consume 100 GB of data. 

Streaming is also bumped up to high definition instead of standard definition. Meanwhile, you’ll still get the same spam/fraud alerts and unlimited texts to over 120 countries. However, instead of getting 15 GB of mobile hotspots per line, it will be bumped up to 30 GB per line. You’ll also get HBO Max as a bonus (no charges included). 

If you opt for the highest-end Unlimted Elite, you’ll have to pay AT&T $85/month (with auto-pay). It’s $200/month (with auto-pay) if you avail of the plan with four lines included. However, taxes and added fees still apply. 

 

T-Mobile vs. Verizon vs. AT&T: Customer Service

When power outages or network connection problems occur, the most you can rely on is a carrier’s customer service. It can be frustrating when there are problems, but your mobile carrier is unresponsive or indifferent. That’s why even though it doesn’t cross everyone’s minds, customer service is a big factor in choosing a mobile carrier. 

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to exactly qualify whether a carrier’s customer service is good or not. It’s a pretty subjective quality. According to some sites like SiteJabber, complaints regarding AT&T and Verizon center mostly on customer service. These are based on 338 reviews on Verizon and 573 reviews on AT&T at the time of writing. However, sources like J.D. Power say AT&T’s customer service is about average with a score of 811. This same source does speak well of T-Mobile, however, giving it an 828 score for having some of the best customer service support. As for Verizon, J.D. Power puts it at second place with a score of 822. 

 

Finding the Best Mobile Carrier

Finding the perfect mobile carrier can be a tough decision. The best way is to determine your budget and what you aren’t willing to compromise. If you’re on a low budget, no doubt Verizon’s a hard sell considering it’s the most expensive of the three. Moreover, if it’s a really low budget, then you might have to settle for AT&T or T-Mobile’s basic plans. T-Mobile will probably look more attractive as well since it’s the most affordable.

If you’re someone with an ample budget looking for HD streaming, your options will open up. You can either go for T-Mobile Magenta Plus, AT&T Unlimited Elite, Verizon’s Play More, or Get More Unlimited. Some may not prioritize streaming quality and want something with international calls and texts. In that case, T-Mobile Magenta, Magenta Plus and all of AT&T’s plans are your best options. Whichever plan you choose will always depend on your needs and your budget.