Best US provider for cross country coverage

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by themumu, May 30, 2014.

  1. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    I'm in the beginning stages of planning a month long trip across the United States, starting from Detroit or Buffalo and heading west. I have an unlocked iPhone 5 and would probably end up using ~1 GB of data and ~100 min of talk time.

    Since I live in Canada, I have no idea which US provider would offer the best pricing and more importantly, coverage across the country. I am looking to visit many of the prominent national parks and other nature oriented destinations in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington... The itinerary is not yet set at all, but it will be roughly like this:


    I see that most prominent ones are Verizon and AT&T, but I think Verizon is CDMA and won't work with my GSM iPhone. What kind of coverage can I expect from AT&T outside of major cities (for example, in national parks, forests and preserves), and are there other providers that have good coverage across the country? What should I know about rate calculation, for example, if I get the SIM card in Michigan, will I be charged long distance rates for making a call to a Utah number while in Utah?
  2. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    My mom and her friend made most of those two trips late last year, from Portland to Chicago and from Portland to Phoenix to Des Moines, and my mom's friend traveled from Portland to LA - they hate flying! Mom has an ATT dumb phone and her friend has an older smartphone with a ATT Go Phone SIM. They always had coverage and decent data - they're both over 70 and concerned about being able to make calls out in case of emergency. Montana (where my mom's friend is from) used to be the weak link, but the routes you've chosen was lit up last year with LTE.

    If you're heading up US 101, you'll have some spots of no coverage due to the terrain, but there's no getting around that. You'll be too busy dodging mobile homes and retired folks taking their (and your!) sweet time. Most mountainous areas can be a bit dodgy as well, but you've likely had to deal with that in your native land so you'll know what you're up against.

    Don't waste time with ATT's Cricket, you'll have voice and texting but not much data outside urban areas. I use VZW, I'd choose one of the Go Phone options if I were you. I can't advise you about extra charges with Go Phone - I think it's UL calling and texting nationwide.

    Enjoy the trip - eat lots of Greek food in Detroit and lots of barbeque in Missouri and Kansas for me...

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