Sprint and Verizon are two of the major cell phone providers in the U.S. offering extensive coverage throughout the country. Generally, more extensive coverage equates to better signal strength and call quality. Leaving coverage areas is referred to as "roaming," which usually results in paying a higher fee for making or receiving phone calls. Dead zones are areas without coverage, which can be frustrating for users who travel frequently and require constant use of their cell phones.
Sprint has the most extensive coverage in Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and Indiana. Puerto Rico and Hawaii have mild coverage as well Texas, California, Colorado and the southern U.S. Alaska has minimal coverage and is primarily covered by roaming access. The northwestern part of the country is also mostly covered by roaming zones. Most major U.S. cities have strong Sprint coverage and dead zones (no coverage areas) are minimal throughout the country (excluding Alaska).
Verizon offers extensive coverage throughout the U.S. Dead zones, or no coverage areas, are limited to small spots in the Midwest and Northeast. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are extensively covered as well. The largest no coverage zone is in Alaska. The majority of U.S. cities and small towns should receive strong signal strength and high call quality.
Factors Affecting Coverage
Signal strength varies depending on several significant factors. Generally, if the user is close to a cell phone tower operated by her carrier, then she receives strong signals that result in clear phone calls. However, cell phones are often affected by large buildings or landscape that obstructs the signal transmission from the tower. Signal quality is also affected by the age of the equipment (cell phones and towers, for example). Older cell phones oftentimes have older antennas that do not pick up on tower signals as well as newer phones.
Points to Consider
When choosing a cell phone provider, coverage is a strong factor to be considered. Extensive nationwide coverage is vital for someone who travels around the country frequently or who lives in a small town far from a large city. However, for someone who lives in a major U.S. city and does not travel often, extensive coverage may not be as important when choosing a provider. Check online for coverage in your area before purchasing a cell phone -- it could save you from countless headaches due to dropped calls and choppy phone conversations.
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