Best cellular carrier in the PNW

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GrandWood

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Hello, I currently have AT&T cellular and looking to change my carrier to a company that services the PNW. Just looking for recommendations from those that cruise the San Juan’s, gulf islands and further north. Thank you
 
Hello, I currently have AT&T cellular and looking to change my carrier to a company that services the PNW. Just looking for recommendations from those that cruise the San Juan’s, gulf islands and further north. Thank you

We just left AT&T after 25 years due to some billing horrors. Still new to Verizon, so don't have a lot of experience, but prices are better and their assistance in ditching the old carrier was very pleasing. A big big appeal was that their basic plan includes Canada and Mexico for voice and data. Significant if you are summering in the Salish Sea.
 
I am interested in what others have to say. Traveling out there this summer by RV.

ATT coverage map shows pretty good coverage through most of Washington State however we all know from house to house things can get sporty for reception some days.
 
We just left AT&T after 25 years due to some billing horrors. Still new to Verizon, so don't have a lot of experience, but prices are better and their assistance in ditching the old carrier was very pleasing. A big big appeal was that their basic plan includes Canada and Mexico for voice and data. Significant if you are summering in the Salish Sea.

Much apppreciated
 
I am interested in what others have to say. Traveling out there this summer by RV.

ATT coverage map shows pretty good coverage through most of Washington State however we all know from house to house things can get sporty for reception some days.

Been with ATT for many years, I’m not a big user of my cell, it sits next to my chair. Just want to insure I have good service in that area, as in the mountains of colorado service can be weak or non existent at times. Could just be local towers and the towns here, as I have been in the larger cities here on western slope and service is much better then the local town.
 
T Mobile works very well for us.

After many years we switched from Verizon to T Mobile. For the most part it works well for us, but like all services it is the luck of the draw on where their towers are. One side of Echo Bay (Sucia) gets 5G and the other side is no service. Also, voice and data is included in Canada but the high speed data is limited to a few gigs per month north of the border.
 
I've had no problem with Verizon in Washington and northern BC up to Prince Rupert. In south east AK, ATT seems to be the only ones that have made much investment. Verizon works in population centers but those are far between up there. The reason Verizon works in BC is they have agreements with most of the Canadian cell carriers. Once in SEAK, they have no such agreement with ATT!
 
Cross border service becomes roaming. There used to be a lot of comparisons made with cell service in the San Juans, but once you enter Canada those carriers disappear.

I use Telus mobility and when WIFI coupled with Starlink it will probably work everywhere. Most of the time in the Gulf Islands I can see a Telus tower and I am hooked into Starlink for a stronger signal.
 
I've had no problem with Verizon in Washington and northern BC up to Prince Rupert. In south east AK, ATT seems to be the only ones that have made much investment. Verizon works in population centers but those are far between up there. The reason Verizon works in BC is they have agreements with most of the Canadian cell carriers. Once in SEAK, they have no such agreement with ATT!

Exactly right. We bought a cheap ATT 'burner' phone for SE AK last summer. Verizon is no longer present, at least in the small communities. We now have Starlink which will help a lot with WiFi calling.
 
We have Verizon and AT&T, both are pre-paid, no contract plans (2 people, 2 phones, both unlocked and we own them). In the PNW, Verizon had the best coverage but their Canadian plan was very expensive @ $5/day compared to our AT&T’s plan that included Canada. The plan’s details seem to change regularly so YMMV.
 
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For SE AK, ATT is the only way to go. GCI is the only other carrier, but ATT coverage is far superior. Everyone else uses one or the other of their towers.
 
In the San Juan Islands T-Mobile has the best coverage. In the Puget Sound Verizon has the best coverage. That said, you can easily find spots in both locations that will be opposite of what I just said. Once you cross into Canada It is really more the phone and its ability to switch between Rogers and Telus.

AT&T usually shows up in 3rd place. However, it seems to switch to the Canadian system the quickest. Meaning, if you are on the fringes of San Juans you can get Roam service with AT&T while T-Mobile and Verizon are still hanging on to weak signals in the US.

There is no easy answer for this question.
 
I can recommend Google Fi ... if you have an Android phone. It uses the TMobile network and all of its advantages, but also has international partnerships for better roaming.

For iPhone, TMobile is best for San Juans as others have noted. In our slip in Friday Harbor I have clocked TMobile at 150mbps. OTOH it was near zero connectivity in Sucia Fossil Bay when anchored ... but 100mbps once we were on land at the campground maybe 300 yards away. It all depends on whether you have a straight line view of a tower!
 
Starlink has been the game changer for my comm and internet last couple of years, especially up north in BC. I'm still a Verizon guy.
 
I have done well with Verizon. Midway into the San Juan's I usually get a welcome to Canada message but on my plan it does not cost anything. I was at Echo Bay a week ago and service was fine. I have coverage out to 40 miles in the ocean off cape Alava. Once I get north into desolation I just turn it off. No service almost everywhere.
 
We have one phone on Verizon and one on Google Fi, both plans give us hot spot capability and Canadian connectivity. In the San Juans and Gulf Islands we’ve had good coverage, sometimes with both and sometimes with one or the other.
 
I've had all the big carriers. All have dead spots. Do be sure your plan covers the US and Canada. I'm wondering if it would be better to use one of the lo2 cost carriers that buys bandwidth on multiple carriers.
 
Thank you everyone for checking in, much appreciated. Starlink is something I have been planning on installing, maybe not have to switch carriers.
 
I've had no problem with Verizon in Washington and northern BC up to Prince Rupert. In south east AK, ATT seems to be the only ones that have made much investment. Verizon works in population centers but those are far between up there. The reason Verizon works in BC is they have agreements with most of the Canadian cell carriers. Once in SEAK, they have no such agreement with ATT!

Our experience too.
 
One interesting thing is that T mobile will be offering text via starlink later this year in remote areas (maybe others too but they are the ones I have seen publicizing).
 
One interesting thing is that T mobile will be offering text via starlink later this year in remote areas (maybe others too but they are the ones I have seen publicizing).

:confused: With WIFI calling enabled on cell phone I can text, call or receive both now with Starlink. So does this mean T mobile phones cannot do that now with Starlink?
 
I could be wrong but I think T-Mobile is working on direct-to-Starlink service — without a Starlink antenna.
 
Starlink eliminates the conversation on which services is best. By using WiFi calling while boating you never have connectivity issues.

Now if you don’t have starlink you will run into a whole lot of dead zones no matter who you use. Not to mention possible roaming issues.
 
Now if you don’t have starlink you will run into a whole lot of dead zones no matter who you use. Not to mention possible roaming issues.

This is a key point for the OP. Above Cape Caution, there are no cell towers at all, except around communities which are few and far between, and the usable radius and range around the towers is not very far, equivalent to about line of sight. We have Verizon which is pretty good in BC, but not above the Pt Hardy area. There is about a 10 mile coverage radius around Bella Bella, less around Klemtu and a little around Hartley Bay. Prince Rupert about 30 miles at best. As Tiltrider said, regardless of the cell carrier you have, if there are no cell towers there's no coverage. This is why Starlink is so powerful for running boats in wilderness areas.
 
I could be wrong but I think T-Mobile is working on direct-to-Starlink service — without a Starlink antenna.

What I think you are saying is a T mobile phone can communicate with other cell phones relayed by Starlink, as if SL is a cell tower. Interesting!
Can't see that working as they have degraded cell phones so they cannot transmit the distance into space.
 
Well I think technically they did do it at least once according to that release. Ha. And to standard LTE. No special phones. No special app etc. Really incredible.

Obsoletes things like Garmin’s InReach pretty quickly.
 
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