Tom's Guide reviews U.S. carriers, finds T-Mobile to be the best all-around

Our pals at Tom's Guide have spent countless hours researching and testing to see how the U.S. carriers compare to each other. The findings reveal that T-Mobile is the best all-around carrier, with Verizon coming in a close second. When searching for a carrier, many people focus only on the service in their location, but the comparison goes far beyond that.

The team at Tom's Guide ranks all of the U.S. carriers, including MVNOs, based on a number of other metrics. Those metrics include performance, plans, customer support, phone selection and special features. Each section was given a different point value, then the points were tallied for an overall total score.

T-Mobile ranked the highest overall, and scored the best when it came to plans and special features. Verizon ranked at the top for performance, and AT&T was found to offer the best phone selection and customer support. If you are interested in checking out all of the details, and exactly how each carrier performed and compared, be sure to hit the link below.

Check out the full carrier comparison from Tom's Guide

Jared DiPane

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.

19 Comments
  • Still sticking with Sprint. Best plans, best customer service. Best price.
  • Coverage isn't even considered? Oh, okay. Nothing like paying for service and then finding out it doesn't work in all the places where you need it to work.
  • when was the last time you used them? over 6 months ago? Nexus 5 | T-Mobile $30 Plan
  • Coverage is Performance I think. And while I agree with you, T-Mobile has gotten better in a lot of areas. They still lack in some (like my area), but in most areas, their service is actually faster than most carriers
  • Coverage is performance.
  • Did you go to the article or just look at the chart? They sent journalists all over the nation looking at coverage. It was a massive undertaking by Philip Michaels and team.
  • Coverage and performance ought not to be in the same category though. In my experience across the US Verizon has the best coverage but AT&T easily has the best performance (quickest connections). Verizon often has network access but it's crazy slow, basically useless while AT&T is fast if you're connected. I'd rather have something that works than lies to me.
  • These "rankings" don't take overall coverage into account - and only six cities were the testing ground? Is this a very early April Fool's Day joke?
  • Good list... then again i've only used vzw (98-08) and tmo (08-now)... coverage in phoenix is amazing with tmobile... i know in some areas not so much... but for me, i'll be sticking with them for the foreseeable future.... (besides, can't give up my unlimited data)
  • My experience with TMO coverage is downright atrocious... If you put on a hat while trying to use your phone on TMO, you lose your signal. Its that bad
  • I tested tmobile for a few days. In and out of coverage so much. Dropped phone calls left and right. It went back on day two. This comparison, like tmobile, is a joke. I'd even take Sprint over that. But Verizon is the best.
  • These results demand a massive asterisk. In 4 years of living in the Denver area, I've used Android devices & iPhones on Verizon, T-Mobile, & AT&T. In that time, having traveled to both metropolitan and remote areas of the Southwest, I've found Verizon is hands down the best VALUE due to the reach of their coverage with AT&T is a very close—and reasonably arguable—second. Shoot, on Verizon, I've had usable service in places I not only didn't expect it, I was /almost/ disappointed I did! And while I'm a fan of T-Mobile's efforts to unsettle the wireless industry, and despite putting up a compelling case on paper, venture far from populated areas and you're SOL (or SOS: s**t out of signal...) The best way to visualize T-Mobile's coverage is to imagine where you would have been no more than a 5 minute drive from a pay phone 30 years ago. Every moment you don't have service, that's money wasted. So maybe in a couple years, when the saturation of their 700 MHz Band 12 rollout matches up with enough compatible devices, they'll pose a viable threat to VZW and AT&T (which might explain those players recent willingness to suddenly start upping their game in the last few months.)
  • Interesting. A little further south in Colorado and it's the opposite. Verizon while being seen by the device does nothing while AT&T has already loaded whatever I'm looking for. I'd rather have a useful signal than a useless one. I will say that if you're in the mountains than AT&T is often no where. BUT since I live in and around cities 99% of the time AT&T just had better speeds. Flat out every time.
  • I hear you. In the South Park area near Fairplay and on the back roads of Arches NP in Utah, AT&T actually beats out Verizon for a usable signal (was roaming on my T-Mobile plan in both cases while carrying a VZW hotspot.) However, the remote places I find myself the most often Verizon has provided pleasantly surprising good service.
  • I am with AT&T currently. I want to give T-Mobile a try, but my wife is too scared of their coverage in southeastern massive. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm pretty sure T-Mobile has a 2 week trial that you can do with them before committing. Maybe talk to the wife about doing that?
  • I get 30 mbps on Sprint. AT&T gets about 10 mbps and T-Mobile and Verizon have no coverage where I live. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah if you live in a well covered area it's awesome. Otherwise you're screwed. On lte on t mobile I get around 40 to 60 Mbps. Sometimes it goes in the low hundreds. Sent from the iMore App
  • While I agree with TMOB's poor coverage, I can't believe that ATT beat TMOB for customer service. Longtime ATT customer that switched to TMOB last year, dealing with ATT was fraught with long hold times and bad attitude reps that actually LIED TO MY FACE on more than one occasion. TMOB customer service was a dream in comparison, basically they asked me what they could do to solve my problem, gave me options and ended the call by saying that they would do whatever it took to keep me as a customer. Both gave me warm feelings, one was fuzzy, the other rage. I live where there is no service for any carrier, ATT would do nothing for me, TMOB sent me lots of free equipment to try to boost signal, etc. I would give ATT a 47 for coverage, TMOB a 40 for coverage. ATT would get an 8 for customer service and TMOB a 15.