Arizona didn't join the Union until 1912, making it the youngest of the 48 contiguous states. In that sense, and many others, it kind of feels like the country's kid brother.
Arizonans are noted for their scrappiness--see John McCain--as well as their love of the outdoors. You'll find residents going for runs and bike rides in temperatures that people from other states wouldn't dream of going outside in.
While it contains two major metropolitan areas in Tucson and Phoenix and a smaller one in Flagstaff, what's amazing about Arizona is how much of it is still rural. In that sense, it's perhaps not shocking that the coverage scores from the four major carriers are a little less than impressive.
Read on to find out where you'll find the best cell phone coverage in Arizona, and who supplies it.
Coverage in Arizona At-a-Glance
Coverage in busy areas of Arizona is great, less so in rural ones. Here's a full list of coverage ratings by state.
What we love
- Coverage from Verizon also very strong
- Coverage from AT&T is excellent throughout the state
What could be improved
- T-Mobile coverage not so hot
- Coverage always a bit tricky in deep valleys or remote natural areas
All four major carriers are represented throughout the state, as are a multitude of smaller MVNOs that run on their networks.
Verizon has the widest network reach in Arizona, and takes the title for the best network in the state.
AT&T comes in second, followed by T-Mobile. Sprint's coverage lags a bit, but customers can connect to other networks where Sprint has roaming agreements.
Best Coverage in Arizona by Network
|Network||Covered Area %|
Arizona has 525 zip codes, and the state's best network, Verizon, covers roughly 77% of them. Here are the network rankings by zip:
Coverage in Arizona by Network & Zip Code
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 Arizona
The maps confirm that Verizon provides the most robust coverage in Arizona, followed by AT&T. T-Mobile has pretty decent coverage, while Sprint lags significantly behind. We break down 3G and 4G network coverage below.
Coverage in Arizona (113,998 m2) by 3G/4G LTE
Arizona is broadly 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.
Big Carriers vs. Small Carriers in Arizona
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:
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.