Which Cellular Carriers are the best? And in which markets? NYC? Philly? LA?

Which cellular carrier has the best coverage?
There's a lot of marketing that says Verizon is the best.  But is it really?
And how about the super-cheap cellular services.  Which carrier are they using.  Surely the smaller brands don't have their own network backbone.

Another wierd observation!  Some people are able to surf the net on their smartphones in the NYC subways, others can't!  The transit authority WiFi ain't that good.  So, its gotta be the cellular carrier.
I appreciate links to useful studies, articles, or videos.
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
When it comes to coverage I think Verizon has a strangle hold on it, especially in the cities you listed.  Most carriers are solid in the cities. It's when you get to the rural areas where you need to find the carrier that meets your coverage.

I personally am on AT&T and seen weaknesses where Verizon has coverage. I can validate it because I use Verizon for my firm and I personally use AT&T.
The answer is hard to truly say. I've seen articles give different answers. And my experiences haven't always matched those articles. But at the end of the day, it goes down more to where you will be in cities.

Cases in point: I've seen AT&T is very spotty in some parts of outer Philly (city limits, not suburbs), and Verizon is better out there. On top of that, AT&T didn't have a plan to fix the problem (not according to customer service anyway), but they were pushing people to use wifi calling. But they are about even in the main parts of the city. I've also had Verizon suck in parts of NYC.

As for your subway question, its complicated. Some subways like those in NYC and DC originally had exclusive agreements with a single carrier. I know for sure DC's had been with Verizon, which also turned into a driver for a lot of people taking their service. However, those exclusive agreements got forced to an end after some emergencies. And even now different subways are at different points of implementation with different carriers. So you may notice on some lines a phone won't work, but works great with others.

If you were just looking for a phone that works on a national basis, I would basically look at Verizon, AT&T, and maybe T-Mobile (they have drastically improved their network in recent years and cost less than the other two).

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.