Best Cell Phone Coverage in Alaska

22 September 2017

Alaska boasts the most awe-inspiring, punishing landscape in the United States. 

From its expansive forests to its raging rivers to its soaring peaks, Alaska has the ability to leave even the most hardened residents completely awestruck. Not to mention its the only U.S. state in which getting eaten alive by grizzly bears is a very real threat. 

In a state that's twice the size of Texas and where towns can be hours of driving apart, it's not surprising that cell phone coverage can be a challenge. However, while the four major carriers falter at times, local provider GCI boasts impressive coverage in the more populated regions of Alaska. 

Note that this guide mainly focuses on the coverage performance of the four major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) but we've included some info about CGI as well. Read on to learn more. 

Coverage in Alaska At-a-Glance

AT&T has been servicing Alaska for just over a decade, while Verizon--the king of coverage on the mainland--has been in the state for just over two years. The four majors have long way to go in terms of network coverage, earning a paltry 8 out 100 coverage score. As mentioned, though, GCI's network is the state's most robust. 

What we love
  • GCI provides the strongest coverage in Alaska
  • AT&T working to improve their coverage in the state
What could be improved
  • Sprint and T-Mobile networks completely absent in Alaska
  • Coverage always tricky in deep valleys or remote natural areas

Small carrier GCI provides the best coverage to Alaska, while AT&T and Verizon are relative newcomers to the state. Sprint and T-Mobile's networks are M.I.A.

Best Coverage in Alaska by Network
NetworkCovered Area %

Alaska has 274 zip codes, and the state's best major (i.e. non-CGI) network, AT&T, covers roughly 4% of them. Here are the major network rankings by zip:

Coverage in Alaska by Network & Zip Code
NetworkZip Code AvailabilityCoveredArea Covered m2Zips with 4G
Coverage data generated Q2 2017 from carrier maps

The most important part of the process is to ensure that the areas that you are located in and travel to are well-covered. 

You can check your own coverage by entering your address here

Numbers on a page are one thing, but the coverage maps tell the full story. Fortunately, you don't have to go to all of the carriers' websites to get this information--you can see what the coverage is like from the four majors below: 

Coverage Maps Alaska

The maps confirm that of the four majors, AT&T provides the most robust coverage in the state, followed by Verizon. We break down the 3G and 4G network coverage below. 

Coverage in Alaska (587,434 m2) by 3G/4G LTE
3G 24,9616,40100
4G LTE 22,47100 0

Alaska is covered by both 3G and 4G LTE technology. 3G is the network that some older phones run on, and the one newer 4G LTE-capable devices fall back to when unable to reach a primary network.

CGI Beats Out Major Carriers in Alaska

GCI claims to cover 97% of Alaska's population, and their own coverage does seem to confirm this. Just look at all of those colored areas along the coast!

While there are still wide swaths of the state uncovered by GCI, according to locals, they provide the most reliable coverage. 

Big Carriers vs. Small Carriers in Alaska

Did you know that there are dozens of small carriers that run on the major networks, but charge a fraction of the price for service? These companies are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, MVNOs for short. MVNOs purchase network service from the major providers at wholesale prices, then pass the savings on to consumers. 

If you're interested in Verizon's coverage, for example, but are looking for a better deal, Straight Talk Wireless, Twigby and Red Pocket are just a few of the smaller providers you'll want to check out. 

Click on the logos below to see which carriers run on which major networks: 

Verizon Wireless
Getting the Best Plan & Coverage

WhistleOut's new coverage check feature supercharges an already robust comparison engine by allowing you to instantly see what coverage is like at your location. All you have to do is punch in your address and we do the rest. This feature is the first of its kind, and empowers consumers to make better decisions when it comes to wireless.

In addition to showing you a map of your area with the coverage from all four major carriers, we filter through the available cell phone plans and present only those from carriers who provide good reception to you.  

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