Dropped calls, no signal or intermittent coverage are headaches most cell phone users run into from time to time. Urban cell phone users can expect the best standard voice, 3G and 4G coverage, but rural customers, especially those in mountainous western states, often get sporadic coverage. All the major telecommunications companies, including Sprint and Verizon, work to expand their coverage maps, but there are still dead zones.
Sprint Pros and Cons
Sprint has almost full coverage along the east coast, south and in the midwest , excepting many valleys and remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains. Sprint covers less area west of the Continental Divide. There are major Sprint dead zones in Colorado, Idaho and much of the Pacific Northwest. They offer only sporadic coverage in Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and Alaska. Sprint has affordable roaming packages, so if they do not have a good signal they can piggyback on another signal and you get charged less than with other major carriers. Sprint has prime urban coverage and along major highways, as well as in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
Verizon Pros and Cons
Verizon is the largest cell phone provider in the USA and thus has the best coverage. While their coverage map is certainly not complete -- they also have large dead zones in the various eastern and western mountainous zones -- they offer adequate coverage in all of the western states including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho. They have the best coverage in Oregon and Washington, though their Nevada coverage is also lacking outside urban areas. Verizon has the best coverage in Alaska and also covers the urban centers of Canada as well. Verizon's roaming is on par with Sprint, but it can be more expensive. Competitive calling plans might offset any roaming problems you may encounter.
Sprint International Coverage
Sprint and Verizon both offer international calling plans and claim to have coverage in many different countries. Sprint has full roaming coverage in more than 25 countries, but the roaming areas are usually only around major urban centers except in Europe. Sprint offers frequent international travelers a reasonable Worldwide Coverage Plan and a specific Canada Plan. Sprint has reliable exposure for major tourist destinations in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and part of Africa.
Verizon International Coverage
Verizon claims to have coverage in more than 40 countries and offers a number of specific plans, including Wireless Cruise Ship coverage and destination specific plans. Their roaming rates for Canada, Guam, Britain and Mexico are comparable to Sprint, while their Occasional Global Traveller plan allows individuals and families the ability to sign-up for service in a specific country or region only for as long as they are traveling. Verizon's Canadian coverage is the best in the country and they offer good packages for travelers in South America and Africa.
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