iPhone 5: AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint 4G LTE Coverage Maps

The iPhone 5 features new faster 4G LTE connectivity, but unless Sprint, Verizon and AT&T offer 4G LTE coverage in your city, there are no speed gains to be found.

For users that want the fastest speeds on the iPhone 5, it’s important to find the carrier that offers the best 4G LTE coverage before buying the iPhone.

CNN Money produced three maps highlighting the cities where the big three wireless carriers now offer 4G LTE wireless data broadband. These maps make choosing a carrier a little easier if the top priority is data speed and coverage.

Why does 4G LTE matter? LTE offers speeds ten times faster than the second fastest speeds available. Try streaming a video or downloading files on 3G or a weak 3G network and you’ll know the value of 4G LTE.

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Sprint 4G LTE Coverage Map

Verizon offers LTE in 371 markets covering three-fourths of the country. AT&T speeds along at LTE in only 65 major markets with Sprint in 19. At the end of the year Verizon promises that they’ll offer LTE in 400 markets while AT&T will only cover 100.

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AT&T 4G LTE Coverage Map

Verizon got an earlier start and therefore covers more of the major and mid level markets than AT&T and Sprint. Sprint promises to expand Sprint 4G LTE to 100+ cities in the months after the iPhone 5 release.

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Verizon 4G LTE Coverage Map

For those in major cities like New York, Chicago and LA, people might think they can get any of the three. But Sprint’s so far behind, they still don’t offer LTE in the three largest cities in America.

The video below compares 4G LTE speeds on Verizon and AT&T, with the New iPad in San Francisco.

We did learn of some new AT&T 4G LTE coverage rolling out this week on AT&T. My town wasn’t on the list so I’m still waiting and can’t afford to make the switch to Verizon with five lines, four still under contract.

While 4G LTE coverage is important, keep in mind that AT&T’s HSPA+ network is available in some cities where there is no 4G LTE coverage. While LTE is much faster than HSPA+, AT&T’s ’4G’ service is faster than Verizon and Sprint 3G service.

Read: iPhone 5: AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint – Which Carrier is Best?

AT&T remains the only carrier with an iPhone 5 supporting simultaneous voice and data, so users can make a phone call while looking up restaurant information or other tasks that require talking and surfing the web at the same time. Find out why simultaneous voice and data is a deal breaker for some users.

Actual 4G LTE coverage varies in the real world, so it’s a good idea to ask friends and family with a 4G LTE phone how coverage measures up. Like all cellular coverage, speeds and signal strength vary greatly even within a few blocks.

Comments

  1. apple fanatic says

    Hopefully sprint will get more coverage otherwise I might have to switch to verizon :/

    • dualist says

      Me too waiting for Sprint since I have been with them for so long and no longer have a contract. I hope they get it together quickly.

    • Thomas says

      I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I will be switching from Verizon to Spring, while Verizon offers more coverage (shameless plug), it limits data and the unlimited minute plans are terribly high priced (unless of course you are every other user and don’t use your cell phone AS a cell phone). I hope this random switch does us both good :).

  2. Riley says

    For someone in my situation, I ordered the Verizon iPhone 5 since they are the only carrier to offer LTE in my area. I also have the new iPad with LTE, and the speeds are pretty good, though nowhere near the speeds in the video. One of my coworker’s at Dish bought an AT&T iPad, and the 3G speeds are merely acceptable. I use the Dish Remote Access app to stream my live and recorded shows to my iPad through the Sling Adapter connected to my receiver. It’s an app that really uses the speed to its advantage. Overall I’m pretty happy with the network and I am looking forward to the iPhone 5.

  3. Dan says

    I don’t know how accurate these maps are. My wife has a galaxy s II through sprint had has 4G coverage in Tampa, FL. That map says its not in Florida at all.

  4. Dan says

    Nevermind. I guess her phone can do 4G WiMAX and the iPhone can only do LTE. So that is the right maps for LTE.

  5. Javier says

    DO NOT GET SPRINT!Ever since the iphone 5 came out,their service has been worse than ever!Coming from a city(Baltimore) who now has 4G LTE coverage their 4G LTE keeps on going out and not only that,dropped calls have been sky rocketing more than ever before!They claim it’s because they’re upgrading their 4G LTE network but i think thats BS!Not only that,but when 4G LTE isn’t available,it goes straight down to 3G….thats right…THREE-G when it’s supposed to go down to 4G.If this were AT&T,it would go down to 4G which is still Super fast!What’s the point of living in a city with “4G LTE” coverage if it keeps going out?!!You could be in the middle of something important and the service/reception will shut down on you consistently.My sister was talking to my mother and had to call her 3 times because of so many dropped cals.For any of those who plan on making a move to Sprint,i suggest you not!Coming from an iphone 5 owner who has Sprint,I’m going to try EVERYTHING within my power to switch to Verizon or AT&T.SPRINT SUCKS ASS!

    • Thompson says

      Umm sprint doesn’t offer HSPA so of course it would go from LTE to 3G. Only TMo and AT&T have “4G”. I agree that Sprint is an awful network and have recently switched off of them. Rolling out LTE towers with such an anticipated phone is a horrible idea.

      • another hobo says

        sprints “3g” is evdo which is actually faster than standard 4g that at&t claim its still 1-3mbps in speed when 4g wimax is working its 7+mbps . Sprints 3g has always been above the rest in speed

        • BigZ says

          AT&T claim its still 1-3mbps ON ITS 3G

          AT&T claim its 10-16mbps ON ITS 4G, AND 4G LTE up to 30-40mbps

          Sprint has always been the slowest, with all those unlimited data eaters, and not to mention they refused to upgrade their existing cell towers,

          AT&T, Verizon, and tmobile has always been faster

    • Chad T says

      VZW and ATT sucks i’m not even touching Tmobile. I dumped ATT I got no signal and VZW was down to 1 bar and romaing, am with sprint now i have 34mbps down 6 mbps upload and get 4glte in Houston where i’m from, San Antonio where i visit and in Frisco where i live. So i have no complaints!

  6. Jim says

    Same here. I’m done with my contract with Sprint. But if they don’t get their act together quick (by the end of the year) I’m moving to Verizon

  7. Karen says

    Would love to see a speed test comparison of AT&T and Verizon here in New York, trying to decide which carrier would be better here for the new iphone 5….

  8. Linda says

    Same here but in Chicago. Looking at AT&T and Verizon coverage for iphone5 2 lines. Now have AT&T with iphone4 and the coverage on AT&T sucks. Slow sire ice and constantly getting bumped out wne moving on twitter feed.

  9. Vick says

    The Choice Basically boils down to Att&t Or Verizon But There Both so Dam Expensive. So is ether you go to sprint get Unlimited (Mediocre) Service from what I hear, or bite the bullet with ether At&t Or Verizon.

  10. Mike says

    So if I had 4G with my nexus s on sprint and changed to the iPhone 5 , I will not get 4G because it is not possible and LTE is not available?

    • Taco says

      The Nexus S 4G on Sprint used the WiMax wireless communication standard that Sprint deemed to be referred to as 4G. The LTE standard (which is the official standard of 4G now) is a completely different type of network. So Sprint 4G WiMax areas do not necessarily have Sprint 4G LTE available.

  11. Frank says

    Switched to sprint because my “unlimited data” on AT&T was being limited after 4 days of the billing cycle. I must say that sprint is by far the worst cell phone service I’ve ever had. I travel around the Washington Baltimore area and have hit LTE once in the 2 weeks I’ve had the iPhone 5. I hate to leave apple but the back order with Verizon is killing me, may have to get the Galaxy S3. But stay away from sprint at all costs! And if you love sprint you will marry another carrier if you try them.

    • ray says

      I work in freehold.nj and in certain places I have 4g coverage and it’s sweet. Using softest app about 16 -18 know speed. By the way have HTC eco lye and can make calls and surf the Web same time for those with lte phones try it it works.

  12. JH says

    I love how they say the iphone 5 only has voice and data at the same time on at&t android allows you to do voice and data in 4g zones since they run on different proprietary systems.

  13. Trevor says

    This is very misleading, I know for a fact that AT&T was in Pittsburgh, PA at the time of this posting and it is not listed on the map. Get your facts straight stupid.

  14. another hobo says

    everyone is complaining about sprint… they just started the 4g LTE so of course its going to take time to upgrade/build new towers, if you can wait then dont get it. and stop complaining. they had great 4g speeds but unfortunately the other company couldn’t handle there own so sprint was forced to switch and come out with new phones with new chips to handle LTE. Just wait it out. the 3g “evdo” is plenty fast 1-3mbps i hardly ever use my4g and i get full reception. Still stream videos and music perfectly

  15. Geno says

    Sprint sucks AT&T sucks…,T-mobile is the best of them all…they all know it that’s why the 3 major networks are marketing Apple and spending big money to the iPhone away from T-mobile…I’ve tried the factory unlocked iPhone on T-mobile 3G network and its far Superior then AT&T and Sprint combined on their 4G network…as soon the new year starts I’m going back to T-mobile with my factory unlocked iPhone 5 from Canada….Sprint and AT&T can kiss my you know what!

    • BigZ says

      I will kick your “you know what”

      KEEP your “Sprint sucks AT&T sucks” to yourself, why should you?

      Your service WILL very be the area, AND tell people where Sprint and AT&T sucks, if not keep your comments to yourself,

      you’re not helping, your confusing people

  16. Susan says

    It all depends not only what city u live in, but where in the city . I have had AT&T for yrs now. Recently I moved into a condo by a lake. In the past when I drove past this lake I would get garbled service or no service. I am having trouble making a decision:

    1. For the past year that I have lived here, myself and anyone with AT&T service has had no problem at my condo. Anyone with Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile or any other mobile phone service do not receive any calls inside my condo and if they must make a call, they have to stand by a window or outside.

    2. It’s just that AT&T is sooo expensive.

    I don’t know if I should drop them because they r so expensive or keep them because of their service.

  17. Sam says

    Hi I have been using tmo on iphone 4. Service is ok I am getting 3G in Chicago but only edge in the suburbs. Tmo said they are rolling out 4g lte and that will work better with tmo. Actually tmo 3G is still really fast to downloads music and videos

  18. Carole johnson says

    I am comparing AT&T and verizon also. I live in CT. I am an artist and my AT&T iPhone will not work at my gallery, however a visitor came in and used her iPhone without a problem. She said she had verizon. The costs are almost identical and my lease is up feb. 11th. I was just in Florida and ..same story. I couldn’t make or receive calls in the science museum for kids. They told me that if I had verizon, my phone would work. I am convincing myself here. Have to see how the switch would affect the “bundling” aspect, cost wise. Carole

  19. Scott S says

    I just got the iPhone 5 and the only thing I get at this moment is 3G all I know is that with 3g my speed is like dial up with sprint in Las Vegas and if there 4g is anything like there 3G then I’ll have to find another provider like Verizon there speed is off the chart.

  20. Jeanette Biermann says

    Sprint is the worst carrier in the USA!! I live in Comfort TX. Dropped calls, dropped words, cannot hear. If they don’t want to have good service then do NOT sell the phones for that area. They do not want to work with you. PERIOD. Please do NOT go with Sprint. Terrible.

  21. Terry says

    Ive never heard such a bunch of morons. Service varies with area. Different carriers have different coverage. To make any kind of broad-brush statement about the best or worst in the USA only shows your stupidity. You live where you live. Dont generalize and speak about things which you know nothing. They are all ok. They all suck. Its geography and perspective.

    • Tricia says

      Terry you are absolutely right. Anyone who travels would understand this too. I have had all of the carriers. I have been loyal to Sprint for a total of about 12 years. I now have the iPhone5 and my service has been horrible since I made that switch. I had the HTC evo prior to it which I loved. Im in an area where LTE is being istalled basically. However, when I go to Atlanta, the LTE speeds are amazing, and I have absolutely no problems with the phone. I will wait it out. From my understanding, Sprint is not only upgrading but they are amking thier towers to where they will accommodate all of the signals they use 3G, 4G WiMAx and LTE. Sprint has the best service plans too and they don’t clear out your wallet.

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