View Full Version : Best cell phone coverage on AT

01-10-2014, 11:07
Hi all,

I'm looking into prepaid cell phone services for my thru hike, to have something on hand just in case. I'm not concerned about data, etc., but I was wondering who has had the best luck getting (voice/text) coverage while hiking the Appalachian Trail?

I'm thinking the best one would be Verizon, based on their coverage map, but any one with real experience/knowledge would be a great help to know!

What do you think? AT&T? T-Mobile?


Rocket Jones
01-10-2014, 11:09
Verizon, without a doubt.

01-10-2014, 11:26
Yep definetly Verizon.

Tennessee Viking
01-10-2014, 12:09
For prepaid, I would say Verizon then Virgin Mobile.

01-10-2014, 12:15
I use an AT&T Gophone, have used it along the AT from GA to northern end of the Long Trail in Vermont. Was able to get signal most of the trail. Verizon is also good along the AT. Do not bring T Mobile, it's useless on the trail, no signal when you leave any towns or cities.

01-10-2014, 12:43
ATT is pretty much useless from Mahoosuc Notch North. Verizon is the best in this areas but coverage is quite sparse unless you are near a ski area.

Moose don't use cellphones so there isn't much profit setting up cell antennas to service them. Millinocket did a major Verizon upgrade a few years back to capitalize on all the folks who call home from the top of Katahdin despite the ban on electronic devices in the park

Old Hiker
01-10-2014, 13:08
Had ATT for 500 miles - even in the towns like Damascus and Hot Springs I had poor coverage. I would be standing next to a Verizon customer who would be talking away and I would see the "No service" msg.

I'm planning Verizon for 2016.

01-10-2014, 13:23
Verizon for sure.

01-10-2014, 13:24
Verizon seemed to have the best coverage in 2013. A 'contract' Verizon phone had better coverage than a 'no-contract' Verizon phone from a third party carrier. I had a Straight Talk plan (from Walmart) that used Verizon's network (careful, they have phones that use all major carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-mobile, & Verizon). My buddy I hiked w/ had a contract Verizon phone. He repeatedly had coverage when I didn't.

I was surprised at some of the locations where I didn't have any coverage - Hot Springs & Harpers Ferry.

Son Driven
01-10-2014, 13:33
Good thread, Sprint was pretty much useless in the wilderness, with Sprint, I had coverage, when the trail got close to the interstates, and the more populated areas of the trail.

01-10-2014, 13:50
I'm Canadian and I have an unlocked iPhone 5s GSM phone and I need to get a US SIM.
It won't work on Sprint or Verizon so my choices are T-Mobile or AT&T.

Should I totally rule out T-Mobile and go with AT&T (Direct AT&T or with Walmart's Straight Talk)?

Thanks in advance for any help - I'm not familiar with US cell service.

01-10-2014, 15:15
Should I totally rule out T-Mobile and go with AT&T (Direct AT&T or with Walmart's Straight Talk)?

In most areas of the US you're going to get better service with AT&T than with T-Mobile. That being said, I've taken my AT&T iPhone on the trail and in various backcountry situations, and without fail the people with me who had Verizon got better service especially in the mountains... so if you can afford to spring for a cell phone on Verizon while you're here, it'll probably save you a lot of frustration.

01-13-2014, 11:11
Thanks! Very helpful :)