- AT&T has nearly 20% more 4G LTE coverage than T-Mobile, particularly in parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and other major western states.
- T-Mobile has better 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds than AT&T, especially in the Northeast, east and west coasts, and a significant chunk of the Midwest.
- AT&T’s 4G LTE coverage is more reliable than T-Mobile’s when in a vehicle, with AT&T exceeding 40% coverage compared to T-Mobile’s less than 10%.
- AT&T has better 5G coverage at 7/1 Mbps speeds than T-Mobile, covering 26.13% compared to T-Mobile’s 5.83%.
- AT&T has better 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds than T-Mobile, with AT&T at 9.96% coverage compared to T-Mobile’s 2.55%.
In our modern age of smartphones and on-the-go lifestyles, we need the most reliable connection that money can buy. For many, this comes down to a battle between industry titans, T-Mobile and AT&T. Which has the superior network coverage? We’re not talking about plan pricing or special plan features. Looking exclusively at 4G LTE and 5G coverage, which network reigns supreme? Let’s explore T-Mobile and AT&T’s coverage maps to find an answer. These visual aids will help us come to a definitive conclusion.
T-Mobile vs AT&T Coverage Overview
For this in-depth comparison, we’re going to focus on six specific areas: 4G, 5G (7/1 Mbps), and 5G (35/3 Mbps) speeds, both while stationary outdoors and while mobile in a vehicle. How do T-Mobile and AT&T differ in these six specific areas? Let’s look to the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection for answers.
As you can see in the chart below, each provider has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, depending on the specific parameters chosen. Each percentage tells us how much of the country is covered based on one of the six specific parameters listed above. Now, let’s turn to the maps for conclusive evidence of how T-Mobile and AT&T coverage compares.
|Outdoor Stationary 4G Coverage||35.3%||55.11%|
|Outdoor Stationary 5G (7/1 Mbps)||26.25%||31.49%|
|Outdoor Stationary 5G (35/3 Mbps)||14.82%||10.92%|
|In-Vehicle Mobile 4G Coverage||9.23%||43.03%|
|In-Vehicle Mobile 5G (7/1 Mbps)||5.83%||26.13%|
|In Vehicle Mobile 5G (35/3 Mbps)||2.55%||9.96%|
T-Mobile vs AT&T 4G LTE Coverage: Outdoor Stationary
Most of the 4G LTE coverage map you see above is colored purple. That’s a good thing. It means both T-Mobile (red) and AT&T (blue) cover a vast majority of the United States. With that being said, there are still a few major parts of the western half of the country left without any T-Mobile coverage on the map.
AT&T has nearly 20% more 4G LTE coverage than T-Mobile does. This is easiest to see in parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and other major western states with more blue than red on the map. Thus, T-Mobile stands alone in parts of Montana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and a handful of other states, but AT&T still comes out ahead.
T-Mobile vs AT&T 5G Coverage (7/1 Mbps): Outdoor Stationary
T-Mobile’s 5G coverage at 7/1 Mbps is strongest when outdoors and stationary. While there are dead zones in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Nebraska, and other areas of the northern and western United States, the network still manages to cover places AT&T doesn’t touch. Just look at all that red standing alone from coast to coast!
While T-Mobile’s 5G coverage is dependable at 7/1 Mbps speeds, AT&T’s is nevertheless superior. It might have its fair share of dead zones, especially when layered on top of T-Mobile’s 5G coverage map, but it still manages to cover slightly more of the country than its rival. It’s not perfect coverage, though — just ask those without reliable access to it.
T-Mobile vs AT&T 5G Coverage (35/3 Mbps): Outdoor Stationary
How about 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds when outdoors and stationary? Comparing T-Mobile and AT&T, we see something a little unexpected (at least based on the previous two maps). T-Mobile actually has better 5G coverage at these speeds than AT&T. From the Northeast to the east and west coasts to a significant chunk of the Midwest, T-Mobile triumphs over AT&T.
AT&T has surprisingly spotty 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds. There are very few areas where the network provider beats T-Mobile’s coverage. AT&T shows up where T-Mobile doesn’t in parts of North and South Dakota, the Rust Belt, and parts of the Southwest, but very few other places beyond that.
T-Mobile vs AT&T 4G LTE Coverage: In-Vehicle Mobile
It’s one thing to have coverage when outdoors and standing still, but what about when you’re in the car on the move? Those of us with long commutes or frequent travels need dependable coverage, too. In this respect, AT&T’s 4G LTE coverage bests T-Mobile’s by more than 30%. T-Mobile’s coverage is less than 10%, while AT&T’s exceeds 40%.
Draw a dividing line between the east and west of the United States, you see T-Mobile coverage get a lot less dependable on the left side. Some parts of the Pacific Northwest have no coverage at all. This is a concern for both T-Mobile and AT&T alike. Alas, AT&T coverage is still far stronger throughout much of the country.
T-Mobile vs AT&T 5G Coverage (7/1 Mbps): In-Vehicle Mobile
T-Mobile coverage gets even spottier when you bump up to the 5G network at speeds of 7/1 Mbps. Almost entire states are left without any coverage on the map — namely Nebraska, Idaho, Oregon, and more. Even so, T-Mobile does gain some points by covering dead zones left behind by AT&T’s map in parts of the Midwest, Northeast, and elsewhere.
Even with its dead zones, AT&T 5G coverage at 7/1 Mbps speeds is a lot more reliable than T-Mobile. It’s not even close, either. AT&T covers 26.13%, while T-Mobile can only offer 5.83% by comparison. That’s a difference of nearly five times. AT&T might just be the best network for fast, expansive 5G coverage at 7/1 Mbps speeds.
T-Mobile vs AT&T 5G Coverage (35/3 Mbps): In-Vehicle Mobile
If you want 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps, then you need to get ready to settle for something less than ideal. At least, as far as T-Mobile and AT&T’s coverage is concerned. Neither provider has great service in this regard. Both leave plenty of dead zones from coast to coast, and neither manages to exceed 10% coverage nationwide.
With that being said, AT&T has better 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds than T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s coverage comes in at 2.55%, while AT&T’s is not much better at 9.96%. But, like before, T-Mobile uses its smaller amount of coverage strategically to cover places AT&T can’t reach. It’s the smartest thing to do when working with less.
T-Mobile vs AT&T: Which Has the Better 5G Network?
As you likely know, 5G coverage is still being rolled out nationwide. 4G LTE has had much more time to establish itself throughout the country, and 5G networks are still years away from reaching this kind of wide accessibility. As T-Mobile and AT&T race to roll out 5G, there are obvious areas where each network shines (and places where dead zones are just as apparent). Let’s look at the maps to compare places with at least 50% coverage when outdoor stationary and in-vehicle mobile. This will clue us into who has the superior 5G network.
At Least 50% Coverage When Outdoor Stationary
The map above is not a great look for either T-Mobile or AT&T. Both providers leave huge chunks of the country without reliable 5G coverage. No doubt both are working to change this fact, but it remains a fact nonetheless. Even so, AT&T edges ahead of T-Mobile for 5G coverage when outdoors and stationary. Further, those in the eastern portion of the country are better served than those in the west.
At Least 50% Coverage When In-Vehicle Mobile
Switching over to in-vehicle mobile 5G coverage, T-Mobile practically disappears on us. You can see some small blips of coverage in the Northwest, the Southeast, and a handful of other locations. AT&T, on the other hand, is much more visible. There isn’t a single state without at least a little in-vehicle mobile 5G coverage from AT&T. Sadly for T-Mobile, the same cannot be said for its 5G service when in-vehicle and on the move.
T-Mobile vs AT&T Coverage: Which Network Is Best?
Wrapping up our comparison of T-Mobile and AT&T’s 4G LTE and 5G coverage (both outdoor stationary and in-vehicle mobile), it’s quite clear that AT&T is our big winner. With a wide-ranging network with more reliable coverage in almost every respect, AT&T looks much more capable of providing a dependable mobile connection. However, T-Mobile does surpass AT&T in one specific area: outdoor stationary 5G coverage at 35/3 Mbps speeds. There are also many AT&T dead zones that T-Mobile reliably covers. Ultimately, AT&T still wins out, but T-Mobile puts up a good fight.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©metamorworks/Shutterstock.com.